Du Kui

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Du Kui
Musician, official of Cao Wei
Born (Unknown)
Died (Unknown)
Traditional Chinese 杜夔
Simplified Chinese 杜夔
Pinyin Dù Kuí
Wade–Giles Tu K'uei
Courtesy name Gongliang (Chinese: 公良; pinyin: Gōngliáng; Wade–Giles: Kung-liang)
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Du.

Du Kui (birth and death dates unknown, fl.180-225[1]), courtesy name Gongliang, native of Henan, was a musician and official under the warlord Liu Biao in the late Eastern Han Dynasty, and then of the state of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period.

In his official biography, Du Kui is quoted to stop Liu Biao from performing imperial music in his own court. Du was proficient in tuning the bells and other musical instruments expertise, but not in arrangement of dances and singing. With help of other court specialists, he performed investigations into the old practices and texts, thus gaining credit of "starting restoration of the ancient music" (Yayue)[2]

While in service of Cao Cao, Du Kui got his voice in argument against the bell-caster Chai Yu 柴玉. Chai Yu was forced by Du to recast the bell set several times for the lack of regular pitch.

Cao Cao's successor, Cao Pi, was in favor of Chai Yu. Under the pretext of Du's discomfort with the court music for entertainment (mouth organ and zithers), Cao had him dismissed. Soon afterwards, Du Kui died.[3]

On par with Fu Xuan (217-278) and Zhang Hua (232–300), Du Kui is praised by Liu Xie (465–522) for "correcting Caos' mistakes" (Wenxin diaolong).[4]

Song dynasty treatise by Zhu Changwen mentions Du Kui's son, Meng 孟. The information is nowhere corroborated.[5]

Du Kui's student, Chen Qi 陳頎 (Ch'en Ch'i, or Chen Hang 陳頏)[6] was consulted by Xun Xu (Hsün Hsü zh:荀勗, d. 289), the leading court musician in Jin under Emperor Wu of Jin.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Goodman 2006 a, 61.
  2. ^ Goodman 2006 a, 71-2.
  3. ^ Goodman 2006 a, 74.
  4. ^ Goodman 2006 a, 61.
  5. ^ Goodman 2006 a, 74 n.52.
  6. ^ Goodman 2006 b, 32.
  7. ^ Goodman 2006 b, 40.
  • Chen Shou. Records of the Three Kingdoms, Volume 29, Biography of Du Kui.
  • Goodman, Howard L. (2006 a) "A History of Court Lyrics in China during Wei-Chin Times". Asia Major 19, pp. 57-109.
  • Goodman, Howard L. (2006 b) "Tintinnabulations of Bells: Scoring-Prosody in Third-Century China and Its Relationship to Yüeh-fu Party Music". Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 126, No. 1 (Jan. - Mar.), pp. 27-49.