Prelude to a Serene Evening

The melody to Prelude to a Serene Evening 良宵引 dates to 1614. The piece is divided into three sections. The first 起, beginning with harmonics, is introductory. The second section consists of two parts—承 embarkment  and 轉 transition—characterized by unison series, one note of the pair sounding as a pure tone from the open string, and the other seeming to float in contrast. The final section 合 echoes earlier parts of the piece and wraps up the melody. There are two versions of associated poetry, published in different guqin manuals. Both poems evoke the stirring breeze, clear moon, and gentle serenity of a beautiful night.

1730
籟靜窗虛,
籟靜窗虛,
正皎皎月明當戶。
看花蔭低嚲,
樹色也扶疎,
芳草王孫,
浸滿庭清露。
歎明月與那清風,
和誰共也。
只有蕭條劍佩,
慘淡琴書。
把只良宵,
怎生發付。
是何人問高山流水,
此際獨踟躇,
則只寸心兒照千古。
懷人不見,
更闌夜靜,
風清月白。
那更窗明几淨,
此時兒展殘編也,
閒把詩書誦讀。
古道分明照顔色,
爭奈人遠天涯,
卻只許夢魂兒相接美人何處也,
在那蒼茫白露與蒹葭之域。
兩鬢秋霜,
兩鬢秋霜,
只為著懷古思鄉頭白,
今夜更愁難寐。

1894
上畵樓,
簾捲遍,
竹外新雨收煙幕,
倦鳥啾啾宿枝頭。
笛喚起,
清清月輪浮,
要將酒樽酬。
見他幾時留,
且散閑愁。
休休,
且散閑愁。
此生半是離憂,
好夜憶良儔。
朅來不自由,
髯髮偏驚秋,
悲樂散聚無定謀。
將使璧月影常圓,
問天杳杳肯應否。
憑欄四望,
不見碧雲流。
坐看織女牽牛,
遠雁入蘆洲。
這來莫負今夜月,
觴詠良游。
那便求桂宮,
夜夜開挂上玉毬。
這來莫負今夜月清幽。

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