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West A. Musical Notation for Flute in Tangut Manuscripts // Тангуты в Центральной Азии: Сборник статей в честь 80-летия профессора Е.И.Кычанова [Tanguts in Central Asia: A collection of articles in honor of the 80th anniversary of Prof. E. I. Kychanov]. Moscow: Vostochnaya Literatura, 2012. P. 443―453.


In this paper the author examines ten musical symbols with corresponding Tangut characters that are written at the end of a 12th century manuscript book of Tangut rhyme tables (Tang. 22/1) held at the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Saint Petersburg. He suggests that the symbols are examples of note signs used for musical notation in flute scores, and belong to the same notational system used by the Southern Song poet Jiang Kui, as well as in 14th century editions of the encyclopedia Shilin guangji 事林廣記. Noting the similarity of the order of the signs with the list of ten note signs given in the History of the Liao Dynasty (Liao shi 遼史), he concludes that the symbols in this manuscript do not represent an actual tune, but are simply a list of the ten different note signs used in flute music. On the basis of this identification, the author attempts to read the Tangut characters next to each symbol, which he considers to be transliterations of the Chinese names of the note signs. Finally, he notes that a fragment of a Tangut manuscript (Or. 12380/21) held at the British Library in London has a partially obliterated line of symbols that closely matches the symbols on Tang. 22/1. In the opinion of the author, the presence of these musical symbols on two different Tangut manuscripts suggests that the type of flute music that used this form of notation was not only prevalent in the Song and Liao territories but was also practised in the Western Xia state.

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Keywords


flute music
musical notation
note signs
Tangut characters
Tangut manuscripts

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