Tune of Utmost Joy

It seems ironic that this song—Tune of Utmost Joy 極樂吟—sounds the most melancholy as set in a minor key. It isn’t truly in a minor key, but the guqin is tuned to the RuiBin 蕤賓 mode, where the fifth string is tightened a half step. In the modern tuning tradition, this changes the instrument from the major keys of F to B♭ (or their corresponding minor keys). This tune probably was part of another piece—Fishermen’s Song 漁歌—from the Zheyin Shizi Qinpu 浙音釋字琴譜 of 1491.

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