The Phoenix Seeks His Mate

This next piece, The Phoenix Seeks His Mate 鳳求凰, is an introduction to playing in the Shang tuning mode 商調 and is of the Mei’an school of guqin playing 梅庵琴派.

The story of this song is about the poet Sima Xiangru 司馬相如 (179–113 BC) as recorded in the Shi Ji 史記. During an evening gathering at home of Zhuo Wangsun 卓王孫, his daughter Zhuo Wenjun 卓文君 fell in love with the poet as he played the guqin. Later, Sima Xiangru took an official post in the capital, where they lived happily ever after.

Fourteen centuries later, the lyrics are used in the West Chamber Romance 西廂記 opera depicting Scholar Zhang 張生 and Cui YingYing 崔鶯鶯, where she falls in love with him after hearing play the guqin.

Lyrics:

有美人兮見之不忘。
一日不見兮思之如狂。
鳳飛翱翔兮四海求凰。
無奈佳人兮不在這東墻。

張琴代語兮聊寫那微腸。
何日見許兮慰我徬徨。
願言配德兮攜手相將。
不得于飛兮使我這淪亡。

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