The Heptachord Terrace was originally built in the Northern Song Dynasty. It was been rebuilt many times because it was destroyed many times. At the beginning of the Jiaqing reign of the Qing Dynasty, Bi Yuan, viceroy of Hunan, Hubei and Guangdong provinces, presided at rebuilding the Heptachord Terrace. He invited Wang Zhong to write two articles: Heptachord Terrace Preface and Boya Study. These two articles were praised by many people. In the 10th year of the reign of Qing Emperor Guangxu( A.D.1884), Huang Pengnian composed "Record of Rebuilding the Heptachord Terrace of Hanyang". In 1890, Yang Shoujing presided and carved the three articles in the stele gallery again. He wrote down the three words of "Gu Qin Tai (Heptachord Terrace)" and inscribed them on the lintel of the gate.
The Heptachord Terrace covers an area of 15 Mu (Chinese unit of area). Although it isn't large in scale, it's well designed. It's made up of the main building, courtyard, garden, flower beds and tea house. Its arrangement is clear. There are many verandas in the Heptachord Terrace. They are built according to the terrain. Only a few steps do people walk and they can enjoy different scene. The men who built here made full use of the terrain. They completely apply the method of " view borrowing " in the design of Chinese garden to design of the Heptachord Terrace. They cleverly borrowed the view of Turtle Hill and Moon Lake. A wide and profound artistic field has been formed.
Enter the gate. It's a small courtyard. When people go out of the tea house from the right door, they will find there is a wall opposite the door. Four Chinese words, "Yin Xin Shi Wu", are written on the wall. It's the handwriting of Emperor Daoguang of the Qing Dynasty. On the east side of the wall is a small door. There is a tablet hung on the top of the door with two Chinese words," Qin Tai" (Heptachord Terrace), It's said they were written by Mi Fu, a famous calligrapher of the Northern Song Dynasty. Enter the door and it's the zigzag veranda and the veranda wall. Many stone inscriptions and the stele with the record of rebuilding the Heptachord Terrace stand there. Walk further. It's the Heptachord Hall. It's also called the Friendship Hall. The square stone desk is located in the courtyard in front of the hall. It was made of white marble. It represents the desk on which Yu Boya plays the Heptachord.
Legend about the place
After Yu Boya learned the super skill of playing the heptachord in the Penglai Immortal Island, he was nominated Music Manager by the emperor of the Zhou Dynasty. He was ordered to collect songs and edit music book. Hence, he went to Chu State specially to collect folk songs. He took a boat down the Hanshui River. When he sailed to the estuary of the Yangtze River, the sky was covered with black clouds and the wind howled suddenly. In a very short time, the river rolled turbulently. The boat rocked violently in the wild river. After the river smoothed down, he stood at the fore. He saw the moon rose up just now. It was hanging at the top of the cliff. It projected its shadow onto the river. Cuckoos were crying. It became quieter. Suddenly, he wanted to play the heptachord. He went back to the cabin, untied his bag and took out his heptachord. He began to play it facing the bright moon and boundless river. When he hasn't finished a piece of music, one string was broken suddenly. According to the local saying, only when you meet the person who is acquainted with music and understand the player's mood will the string be broken. When Yu Boya went out of the cabin, he really saw a woodman who wears a coir raincoat and a bamboo hat. He had an axe n his hand. There is a bunch of firewood on the ground. YU Boya happily invited him to come into the boat to enjoy his music. After Yu Boya changed another string, he first played a song named "High Mountains". The moment he finished playing, the woodman praised: "Wonderful! What towering Tainshan Mountain! Then, he played another song named "Flowing Streams". When he finished, the woodman praised again: "Oh, marvelous! What a vast river!" Yu Boya became extremely excited. He said excitedly: "You are really my bosom friend." The two people discussed the music for the whole night. The name of the woodman is Zhong Ziqi.The following day, they made an appointment to meet at the exact same place a year later. Unfortunately, Yu Boya only saw the grave of his friend one year later. Zhong Ziqi died of illness. He thought that his bosom friend has gone away. There was no person who could understand his music. He was so depressed that he played the same bit of music in front of the grave and then smashed his heptachord. After that, he never played music again. The legendary story about their friendship touched many people, so the Heptachord Terrace was built to memorize their friendship.