Repertoires contain more than one text, but are more than a simple compilation. A repertoire is a list of things that you can do when called on, the opera roles that you can substitute for on a moment's notice. In the examples with which we are here mostly concerned, there is often a claim of antiquity, or of other special cultural authority. Performance repertoires may use a special sort of language (see LY *7:18) when they are recited. Repertoires can be defined, and added to, in different ways. A repertoire can be open-ended and locally determined, such as everything that a given court orchestra is prepared to play on short notice. Repertoires are not necessarily canonical, though a repertoire may become canonized through the action of higher cultural authority. It is notable that many texts quoted by name in the Warring States are in the repertorial class, the citation being either by individual title or by the generic name of the repertoire. The specific citation of what we call the philosophical texts is relatively unknown, their contents being sometimes attributed to the associated ancient worthy, but very rarely to the book in which that worthy's sayings are considered to be preserved.
Like a canon, a repertoire has its own character as a supertext, but that does not affect the texts of which it is composed. Their character is a separate question, to be individually determined.Chinese Examples
Shr. This corpus, now arranged in four parts, seems to have taken formal shape over the course of the 05th century, and to have been at least nominally stabilized at a total of 300 items toward the end of the 04th century. The controlling authority for the Shr repertoire during its formation is still unknown, though it probably was not too distant from the lineage of the Confucian school of Lu (the Analects school). The preserved transmission genealogy begins with Confucius and proceeds with the disciple Dz-sya, followed by Dzvng Shvn, the younger son of the supposed disciple Dzvngdz. There are grounds for interpreting certain sayings in the early layers of the Analects as at least consistent with these claims (for Dz-Sya see LY 6:13, who is explicitly mentioned; for the implied Dzvng Ywaen see LY 9:15, this chapter being, as we infer, written by Dzvng Ywaen, Dzvngdz's elder son and his successor as head of the Confucian school in Lu). The Shr poems were early accepted as authoritative by the Mician movement, and the 300-Shr repertoire gradually became canonical in the Confucian school as well.
That the Shr were still a musical performance repertoire in the late 04c is suggested by the fact that this situation is taken for granted by a story in a late layer of the Dzwo Jwan, where a visitor, challenged to explain why he has not responded to the performance of a given Shr poem, explains that he thought it had been played not with any meaningful intent, but that the musicians "just happened to come to it in the course of things."
Shu. These diverse documents or claimed documents never formed a performance repertoire, though LY *7:18 (from c0270) supports the general idea that they were recited in a special "high" kind of language. They are more precisely a citation repertoire. It seems that the Micians used the same Shr as the Confucians, but relied on a partly different list of Shu, all or most of which they may themselves have written. The Shu were somewhat resisted as authority texts by at least some Confucians (see especially MC 7B3). As with the Shr, new Shu documents seem to have been composed, and to have entered the repertoire, no later than the 04th century.
Yi Plus Commentaries. The Yi text, which itself was finalized by the late 04c, tended from the early 03c to acquire commentaries or explications, which are best thought of as satellite associated texts rather than Layers. The primacy of the Yi proper within the group was never lost, and the commentaries never imitated its form. The production of commentaries was not entirely orderly, but at some point the process was terminated (by unknown authority) at ten, conventionally called the "Ten Wings." After that point, further energy of Yi exposition was channeled into separate texts which at some point were themselves gathered into a repertoire of Yi Apocrypha (Yi Wei). The Yi was never at any time a performance text. It and its satellite commentaries form a repertorial assemblage only in a structural sense.
Li Ji. A body of ritual treatises, some of them having a life of their own as separately circulating texts, had been isolated as a named group in Han times, but they came to be finalized (with some additions and subtractions) as a set of fixed membership only at the end of the 1st century, in Latter Han. These are theoretical explications rather than performance texts, and their theoretical standpoints are disparate and sometimes conflicting. The Li Ji may thus be described as a repertoire of convenience. The origin of the various pieces awaits further study; their sequence of transmission as a group from Han to Latter Han is fairly clear. The listing order of the Li Ji pieces, once they become canonical, is subject to some fluctuation in later centuries, but has been relatively fixed since Sung.
Iliad. This enormous text has often been claimed to have been improvised, and then kept in memory and recited, by one person, a bard named Homer. As Lachmann was among the first to see (though there are grounds for emending Lachmann's specific proposal), it is much more plausible to regard the Iliad as a set of performance modules, which did not necessarily come into being at the same time, but which, once in being, constituted a selection repertoire for singers on particular occasions.
Theognis of Megara (fl c0542) is credited in an early manuscripts with a total of 1,389 lines of Greek verse. That attribution cannot be correct as it stands, since some lines are otherwise attributed elsewhere (to Mimnernus, Tyrtaeus, Solon, and others), and since some refer to dates long after Theognis' floruit (for example, lines 773-782 are a prayer to Apollo to keep the Medes away from Megara, which cannot predate 0490). The standard view is that an original corpus by Theognis has been supplemented with later works, and efforts have been made to detect the authorial core; one suggestion is that it consists of lines 1-254, which are more quoted by 04th century writers than any other part of the collection, and thus may once have had a separate existence. C M Bowra notes the banquet character of many of the poems (and also the specifically Athenian character of some), and suggests that "the book may have been a songbook used by those who did not wish to improvise when called on for a song over wine." Further along this same line, Gregory Nagy has recently suggested that the Theognis corpus is a body of traditional verse sung at convivial gatherings in Megara. These suggestions are not necessarily incompatible. We may tentatively regard the Theognis material as an authorial corpus of not precisely determined extent, which evolved by the addition of other material into a situational repertoire.
It was said of Lw Bu-wei, the patron of the Lw-shr Chun/Chyou (for the core, see under Figurate) that he was so proud of the work that he offered a thousand pieces of gold to anyone who could improve it by either adding a word or taking away a word. It is perhaps analogously claimed in Theognis 19-23 that there is a "seal" on his work which cannot be stolen or replaced by a substitute. It may be that such claims come into being precisely in association with works whose original limits are known or felt to have been broadened by later additions and extensions.
Philology is Copyright © 2001- by E Bruce Brooks
Comments to The Author / Exit to Typology Page