Chinese Folk Music and Horse Racing

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


If you’re a fan of Chinese folk music, then you’ll love horse racing! The two have a lot in common, from the fast-paced rhythms to the traditional instruments used.


Since ancient times, music has played an important role in Chinese society. It has been used for everything from entertainment and religious ceremonies to storytelling and healing. Horse racing is one of the most popular spectator sports in China, and folk music has long been associated with this activity.

There are many different types of folk music in China, and each region has its own unique style. The music of the north is often more lively and upbeat, while the music of the south is typically more mellow and restrained. Horse racing tunes are usually upbeat and energizing, making them perfect for getting people excited about the races.

Whether you’re looking to add some excitement to your horse racing event or you simply want to enjoy some traditional Chinese Folk Music, there are many great options to choose from.

History of Chinese Folk Music

Traditional Chinese folk music has a long and complex history. Horse racing is one of the oldest and most popular sports in China. For centuries, horse racing has been an important part of Chinese culture. In the past, horse racing was a way for the Chinese people to stay connected to their ancestors.

Tang Dynasty

The Tang Dynasty (618-907) was one of the most prosperous periods in Chinese history. It was also a time when many different types of music were created and enjoyed by the people.

One of the most popular forms of music during this time was “horse racing music.” This type of music was played during horse races that were held in the capital city of Chang’an. The music was used to help keep the horses moving at a fast pace.

Another popular form of music during the Tang Dynasty was “banquet music.” This type of music was played at parties and other special events. It was often very lively and upbeat, and it helped to liven up the atmosphere at these events.

Chinese folk music has a long history, and it has been passed down from generation to generation. Today, there are many different types of folk music that are still enjoyed by the people of China.

Song Dynasty

Chinese folk music has a long history. One of the most important dynasties in Chinese history is the Song Dynasty, which ruled from 960-1279 AD. During the Song Dynasty, horse racing was a very popular sport. In addition to being a form of entertainment, horse racing was also used as a way to keep people fit and strong. The horse racing tracks were often located near villages, and the people who lived near these tracks would sing and dance while they watched the races. This tradition of singing and dancing while watching horse racing continued for many centuries.

Yuan Dynasty

China’s folk music tradition is vast and varied. One of the most important periods in its development was the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). During this time, the Mongols ruled China and introduced a number of new elements to Chinese music. Among these were the importation of musical instruments from Central Asia, the development of a new form of opera called zaju, and the popularity of a type of music known as qu.

Qu was a form of narrative song sung to the accompaniment of stringed instruments. It often told stories about love, war, or historical events. Qu tunes were typically quite short, lasting only a few minutes, and were easy for people to remember and sing along to. They quickly became popular among the Chinese people and helped to spread the influence of Yuan Dynasty music throughout the country.

One of the most famous qu tunes is “Jasmine Flower” (“Mo Li Hua”). This tune dates back to the Yuan Dynasty and tells the story of a young girl who eagerly awaits the arrival of spring so that she can pick jasmine flowers. The song became so popular that it was eventually adopted by other cultures and continues to be sung today in countries all over the world.

Ming Dynasty

From the Ming Dynasty onwards, there was a great flourishing of Chinese folk music, particularly in the north of China. A number of important collections of folk songs were compiled during this period. One example is a collection from 1627 called A New Collection of Ancient and Modern Songs from All Provinces. This contained a wide variety of song types from all over China, including love songs, drinking songs, songs for festivals and rituals, work songs and children’s songs.

Qing Dynasty

The Qing Dynasty saw the flourishing of Chinese folk music, with a great diversity of styles and genres. Among the most popular were the “Water Melody” (shuiqiang), “Tea Picking” (chaoji) and “Ploughing and Weaving Songs” (nongying). Horse racing was also a popular pastime, and folk songs were often sung to accompany the races. One of the most famous of these is “The Ballad of Red Cliff” (Chibi ge), which tells the story of the Battle of Red Cliffs between the forces of Cao Cao and Liu Bei.

Chinese Folk Music Today

Chinese folk music has been around for centuries and is still popular today. It is often used in horse racing, as it is thought to bring good luck. Folk music is also used in many other aspects of Chinese culture, such as weddings and funerals.

Types of Chinese Folk Music

There are many different types of Chinese folk music. Some of the most popular include:

1) Work Songs: These songs were originally sung by workers while they performed their tasks. They were designed to help the workers rhythmically coordinate their movements and make their work easier. Today, work songs are often sung by farmers during planting and harvesting, or by fishermen while they are working.

2) Love Songs: These songs express the emotions and yearnings of young lovers. They often deal with themes such as unrequited love, separation, and longing.

3) Ballads: Ballads are a type of narrative folk song that tells a story. The stories told in ballads can be based on historical events, legends, or even everyday life.

4) Dance Songs: As the name implies, these songs were originally created to be danced to. They often have simple melodies and rhythms that are easy to follow. Dance songs can be upbeat and energetic, or slow and graceful.

5) Drinking Songs: Drinking songs are a type of folk song that is typically sung in bars or taverns. They often celebrate the joys of drinking alcohol, and sometimes contain humorous lyrics about drunkenness and hangovers.

Popularity of Chinese Folk Music

Over the years, horse racing has become an increasingly popular spectator sport in China. As the popularity of horse racing has grown, so has the popularity of Chinese folk music.

Chinese folk music is often played at horse races, and its popularity has grown as a result. Horse racing fans enjoy Chinese folk music because it is upbeat and exciting, and it helps create a festive atmosphere at the races.

Chinese folk music is also popular with those who are not horse racing fans. Many people enjoy listening to Chinese folk music because it is beautiful and relaxing. It is not uncommon for people to listen to Chinese folk music while they are working or studying.

Horse Racing in China

Horse racing is a popular sport in China, with a long history that dates back to the Tang Dynasty.Chinese folk music is often played at horse racing events, creating a festive and exciting atmosphere. Horse racing is a popular gambling activity in China, and many people bet on the outcome of races.

History of Horse Racing in China

Horse racing is thought to have originated in China, with the first recorded races taking place during the Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BCE). Horses were important in ancient Chinese culture and warfare and were often given as gifts to other nobles or foreign dignitaries. The races were held to show off the horses’ skills and speed and became more institutionalized over time, with rules and regulations being put in place.

Horse racing continued to be a popular pastime in China throughout the Imperial era (221 BCE-1911 CE), with many emperors taking a keen interest in the sport. The largest race course in the world was built during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE), measuring some 4,000 meters in length. These early Chinese horse races were different from modern versions in that they involved chariots as well as riders on horseback; sometimes there would be as many as 100 chariots in a single race.

During the Song Dynasty (960-1279 CE), horse racing became even more popular, spreading from the royal court to the general population. Races were held regularly at local fairs and festivals, and gambling on the outcomes became common. This increase in popularity led to professionalization of the sport, with trainers and owners becoming increasingly specialized.

Horse racing continued to be popular under the Ming (1368-1644 CE) and Qing (1644-1911 CE) dynasties, although it declined somewhat in popularity after the fall of the Qing Dynasty due to political turmoil and economic instability. However, it has experienced a resurgence in recent years and is once again a popular pastime in China.

Popularity of Horse Racing in China

Though horse racing is not as popular in China as it is in other parts of the world, it still holds an important place in Chinese culture. Horse racing has a long and storied history in China, dating back to the Han Dynasty. In, fact, horse racing was so popular that it was often used to determine which horses would be used in military campaigns.

Even today, horse racing is seen as a symbol of strength and power, and many of the same traditional ceremonies and rituals are still observed. One of the most popular Horse Races in China is the Beijing Jockey Club Cup, which takes place every September.


In conclusion, it can be said that there is a clear connection between Chinese folk music and horse racing. The two have been intertwined for many centuries, and the music continues to play an important role in the sport today. If you are interested in either of these things, then it is definitely worth investigating further.

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