The Daoist Musical Scores Composed by Imperial Order during the Great Ming Dynasty
Daoist Musical Scores Composed by Imperial Order During the Great Ming Dynasty ( 大明御制玄教樂章 Daming Yuzhi Xuanjiao Yuezhang ) is a compilation of Daoist scriptural rhythms attributed to Zhu Li, the Yongle emperor of the Ming dynasty. The whole piece of music is comprised of three movements and contains altogether fourteen pieces of Daoist music. In the movement, the composition of the verses, the form and style of the tunes, and the way of singing and recitation all apply the elegant music for court cults. This piece of music can be taken to be the movement for court cults with Daoist characteristics.
Content and form
Daoist Musical Scores Composed by Imperial Order During the Great Ming Dynasty is composed of:
- The first movement, i.e. the movement in praise of eternal jubilance at the offering altar, including Meeting the Phoenix Carriage (receiving spirits, offering sacrifices, opening the way, receiving the master, offering wine, and sending off sages), Jubilance under Heaven (short interlude between verses), Records of Sages and Men of Virtue (short interlude between verses), and Song of the Blue Sky;
- The second movement, i.e. the movement of the Highest Emperor of the Mysterious Heaven ( 玄天上帝 Xuantian Shangdi ), including Meeting Immortal Guests (eight pieces), Rising Step by Step, and Joy of Drunken Immortals;
- The third movement, i.e. the movement of the Perfect Sovereign of Great Kindness and Numinous Relief ( 洪恩靈濟真君hong'en Lingji Zhenjun ), including Meeting Immortal Guests (eight pieces). The tunes such as Meeting Immortal Guests and Jubilance under Heaven were popular ones at that time.
The music and verses match each other in the first two movements. The tunes are recorded in the gongchi music score to the left of the verses, with one word to one sound, and no measure recorded. The first movement mainly eulogizes the eternally jubilant times of peace and prosperity, an abundant harvest of all food crops, the numinous might and beneficent happiness, and the prosperous state and peaceful people. The second movement extols the Highest Emperor of Mysterious Heaven. The third movement calls on the subjects to be devoted to their posts, to be loyal to the sovereign and love the people by extolling the Perfect Sovereign of Numinous Relief. Daoist Musical Scores Composed by Imperial Order During the Great Ming Dynasty is another precious Daoist music material with verses and tunes, that was recorded following the Ritual of Jade Tunes ( 玉音法事 Yuyin Fashi ).