Classic of Music Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classic_of_Music

Classic of Music
Traditional Chinese樂經
Simplified Chinese乐经

The Classic of Music (Chinese: 樂經) was a Confucian classic text lost by the time of the Han dynasty. It is sometimes referred to as the "Sixth Classic" (for example, by Sima Qian[1]) and is thought to have been important in the traditional interpretations of the Book of Songs.[2]

Qing dynasty scholar Shao Yichen (邵懿辰, 1810–1861) proposed that the book never existed, but more usually it is thought that all copies were destroyed during the burning of books and burying of scholars.

A few traces remain in other surviving works, including the Zuo Zhuan, the Rites of Zhou, and the extremely redacted, poor-quality Record of Music contained in the Classic of Rites. As accounted in the Book of Han, Dou Gong 竇公 (5-4 cc. BC), a musician of the state of Wei possessed a book Yue shu which was presented to Han Wen-di. However, the text is associated with the Da siyue section of the Zhou li (大宗伯 part).

In 2022, research by Luke Waring has suggested that there is no convincing evidence that a music classic existed during the Warring States era in the first place.[3]


  • "The Shih Ching or Book of Poetry". The China Journal of Science and Arts, Vol. IV, No. I (Jan 1926).
  • Sima Qian Records of the Historian: Chapters from the Shih Chi of Ssu-ma Ch'ien. Translated by Burton Watson (1969). New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0231033213.


  1. ^ Watson, 1969: p. 11, from chapter 61, biography on Boyi and Shuqi
  2. ^ "The Shih Ching or Book of Poetry Archived 2005-09-09 at the Wayback Machine". The China Journal of Science and Arts, Vol. IV, No. I (Jan 1926). Accessed 17 Oct 2005.
  3. ^ Waring, Luke. "Who Said There Was a Classic of Music?". Early China. 45: 1–48. doi:10.1017/eac.2022.3. ISSN 0362-5028.