How to Enjoy Chinese Folk Music Singing

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


If you want to enjoy Chinese folk music singing, it is important to know the different types of folk music and the instruments used.

What is Chinese folk music?

Chinese folk music is a genre of traditional Chinese music. It often revolves around themes like love, war, and nature. In addition to the lyrics, instruments are often used to create a sense of rhythm and create an atmosphere for the singing.

Folk music in China has a long history and can be divided into two main categories: northern and southern. northern Chinese folk music is often characterized by its use of the dizi (笛子), a type of flute. southern Chinese folk music, on the other hand, is often characterized by its use of the erhu (二胡), a type of two-stringed violin.

Despite the differences between northern and southern Chinese folk music, both types share some common themes and motifs. For example, many songs are about love, nature, and the hardships of life. Other popular themes include war, religion, and family.

The history of Chinese folk music

Chinese folk music is a genre of traditional Chinese music. It often consists of pieces performed by solo singers, sometimes with accompanying instrumentation, and covers a wide range of styles from the traditional to the modern.

The history of Chinese folk music can be traced back to the early days of Chinese civilization. Folk songs were originally passed down from generation to generation orally, and later were also written down in poetry and prose form. As early as the Zhou dynasty (c. 1046-256 BCE), there were already organized folk music ensembles in China known as yuefu.

During the Tang dynasty (618-907 CE), a new type of folk music known as qu (literally “air” or “tune”) emerged. Qu songs were shorter and simpler than earlier folk songs, and they typically told stories or conveyed emotions. Many qu song topics revolved around love, such as unrequited love or forbidden love.

During subsequent dynasties, Chinese folk music continued to evolve and develop new styles. For example, during the Song dynasty (960-1279 CE) a new form of folk music known as shidaiqu arose; this style was characterized by its use of piano and other Western instruments. In more recent times, Chinese folk music has been influenced by Western music, resulting in the emergence of new genres such as C-pop (Chinese pop music) and Cantonese opera.

The different styles of Chinese folk music

Chinese folk music is often grouped into four distinct categories: North, South, East, and West. Each region has its own unique musical tradition, influenced by the people and cultures of the surrounding area.

North China is home to a wide variety of folk music styles, including ditties, ballads, and love songs. The music of the North is often lively and upbeat, with a strong beat that is perfect for dancing.

Southern China is home to a more relaxed style of folk music, characterized by softer melodies and a slower tempo. The music of the South often tells stories of love and loss, and is often referred to as “qinqiang” or “suona music.”

East China is home to some of the most popular folk music in the country. The East boasts a wide variety of musical styles, including zheng music, erhu tunes, and Cantonese opera. East China’s folk music is known for its emotional lyrics and beautiful melodies.

West China is home to a number of different minority groups, each with their own unique musical traditions. The most well-known type of folk music from West China is Tibetan “long song,” which features long held notes and intricate vocal harmonies.

The instruments used in Chinese folk music

The most commonly used instruments in Chinese folk music are the erhu, pipa, dizi, and yangqin. The erhu is a two-stringed bowed instrument, also known as the “Chinese violin”. The pipa is a four-stringed lute-like instrument. The dizi is a bamboo flute. The yangqin is a hammered dulcimer.

How to sing Chinese folk music

There are a few things you should keep in mind if you want to sing Chinese folk music. First, make sure you know the lyrics and tune of the song. Second, try to use a clear and melodious voice when singing. Third, feel the emotion of the song and try to express it when singing. Fourth, try to use your own body language to express the meaning of the song.

The benefits of singing Chinese folk music

Singing Chinese folk music has many benefits. It can help you relax, improve your mood, and increase your energy level. Singing also helps you breathe more deeply and efficiently. And, it can even strengthen your immune system.

There are many different styles of Chinese folk music, so you can find a style that suits your taste. If you’re not sure where to start, try listening to a few different songs and see which ones you like best. You can also ask friends or family members for recommendations.

Once you’ve found a few songs that you enjoy, try singing along with them. You don’t need to be a professional singer to enjoy the benefits of singing Chinese folk music. Just singing for fun can help you reap the benefits.

The best places to enjoy Chinese folk music

Chinese folk music has a long history and is an important part of Chinese culture. There are many different types of folk music, and each has its own unique style and history.

If you’re interested in experiencing Chinese folk music, there are a few different ways to do so. Here are some of the best places to enjoy Chinese folk music:

1. Local Folk Clubs: There are often local folk clubs that meet regularly to sing and play Chinese folk music. This is a great way to get involved in the local community and learn more about the different types of folk music from China.

2. Folk Festivals: There are also a number of festivals dedicated to Chinese folk music. These events are usually held annually, and they provide a great opportunity to hear a variety of different folk songs from different parts of China.

3. Online Resources: There are also many online resources that can help you learn more about Chinese folk music. You can find streaming audio files, video clips, and even online courses that can teach you everything you need to know about this vibrant musical tradition.

The best times to enjoy Chinese folk music

There are many different occasions when Chinese folk music can be enjoyed. One of the most popular times is during festivals, when people come together to celebrate. Folk music is also often played at weddings and funerals, as it is thought to bring good luck or help guide the departed soul to the afterlife.

Tips for enjoying Chinese folk music

Chinese folk music is a special kind of music that has been around for centuries. It is characterized by its simple melodies and everyday lyrics. If you want to enjoy this type of music, there are a few things you can do to make the most of it.

First, try to find a performance that is authentic. There are many different interpretations of Chinese folk music, so you want to make sure you are seeing and hearing the real thing. One way to do this is to look for a performance by a local musician or group. They will likely be more familiar with the traditional style of the music and will be able to give you a more authentic experience.

Second, pay attention to the lyrics. Chinese folk songs often tell stories about everyday life, so by paying attention to the words, you can get a better understanding of the culture and the people who created the music.

Finally, let yourself be transported by the music. Chinese folk music is known for its ability to evoke emotions, so allow yourself to feel whatever it is that the song is trying to convey. Whether it’s happiness, sadness, or anything in between, letting yourself be moved by the music will help you appreciate it even more.

How to learn more about Chinese folk music

There are many ways to enjoy Chinese folk music. One way is to learn more about the music and its history. You can do this by reading books or articles, listening to recordings, or watching documentaries or movies. You can also attend concerts or festivals, where you can see folk musicians performing live.

Another way to enjoy Chinese folk music is to sing it yourself. If you’re not a professional musician, don’t worry – there are many resources available to help you learn. You can find sheet music for popular songs online, or buy instructional books or DVDs. There are also some great websites that offer free online lessons.

No matter how you choose to enjoy Chinese folk music, it’s sure to be a enriching and rewarding experience!

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