Chinese Folk Music with Lyrics

Looking for a way to get into Chinese folk music? Check out our blog post on the subject! We’ve got a great selection of songs with lyrics, so you can follow along and learn as you go.

Introduction to Chinese Folk Music

Chinese folk music is a genre of traditional music originating in China. Chinese folk music has been enriched by the musical traditions of the many ethnic groups within China. Folk music exists in nearly every province and autonomous region of China, and has been particularly influential in the music of Taiwan and Hong Kong.

What is Chinese Folk Music?

Chinese Folk music is the music of the Han Chinese people. It represents the largest body of folk music in China, and is often called “China’s native music” or “mountain-and-village music”.

Folk music in China is often accompanied by Chinese instruments, such as the erhu, pipa, and dizi. Folk songs can be categorized into types according to their content or form, such as work songs, ritual songs, ballads, Children’s songs, love songs, and dance tunes.

The lyrics of Chinese folk songs often tell stories of daily life, love, and historical events. Some famous Chinese folk songs include “Mo Li Hua” (茉莉花), “The Moon Represents My Heart” (月亮代表我的心), and “When Will You Come Again?” (何日君再来).

The History of Chinese Folk Music

Chinese folk music has a long history and can be traced back to the period of the earliest known Chinese dynasty – the Xia Dynasty (c. 21st century – 16th century BC). During this time, people living in different parts of China developed their own musical traditions, which were passed down from generation to generation.

Folk music was originally used for religious ceremonies and folk tales. However, over time it became more popular as entertainment at festivals and gatherings. In the 20th century, Chinese folk music started to gain international recognition and many famous composers began to incorporate it into their works.

Today, Chinese folk music is still very popular in China and has also gained a large following overseas. If you’re interested in learning more about this fascinating genre of music, then check out our list of 10 popular Chinese folk songs!

The Different Types of Chinese Folk Music

There are many different types of Chinese folk music. Some of the more popular ones include the following: erhu, guzheng, pipa, and dizi. Each one has its own unique sound and style.

Diao Ge

Diao Ge is a type of folk music from Northeast China. It is usually sung by people who work in the fields, and the lyrics often tell stories about the daily life or the history of the local area. The music is often accompanied by traditional instruments such as the erhu (two-string fiddle) or yueqin (four-string lute).

Feng Ge

Feng Ge, or wind music, is one of the most important and influential forms of Chinese folk music. Feng Ge is characterized by its melodic, often lyrical melodies and its use of traditional Chinese instruments.

Feng Ge originated in the north of China and spread to the south over time. Feng Ge was used as court music in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and became popular among the general population during the Song Dynasty (960-1279).

Feng Ge continued to evolve during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1912) Dynasties, with a particular focus on instrumentation. Many of China’s most popular folk instruments, such as the erhu, dizi, pipa, and sheng, were first used in Feng Ge.

Today, Feng Ge is still an important part of Chinese culture, with many musicians continuing to perform and create new pieces in this style.

Yue Ge

Yue ge, also called Yueju or ” Cantonese opera”, is a form of Chinese opera which developed in Guangdong province. It is popular in Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macao and among the Chinese communities in Southeast Asia. The music of Yue opera is a mix of Western and Chinese music. Yue ge has many subgenres, such as Pingyin yue ge, Gaojia yue ge, Xuanyang yue ge and so on.

Yueju was first performed in the late Qing dynasty in Guangzhou. It became popular in the 1920s and 1930s when many troupes were formed in Guangzhou and Hong Kong. In the 1940s, Yueju began to spread to Southeast Asia, where it was performed by Chinese communities in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Yueju is characterized by its strong emotions and exquisite singing. The lyrics are often about love, loyalty and patriotism. The music is often lively and upbeat, with a strong rhythm.

The Lyrics of Chinese Folk Music

The Meaning of the Lyrics

Folk music often tells stories of the people, their history, and their culture. The lyrics of Chinese folk songs are no exception. These songs often tell of the daily life of the Chinese people, their hopes and dreams, and the things that are important to them.

One of the most popular themes in Chinese folk music is love. Songs about young love are particularly popular, as they speak to the hearts of young people everywhere. These songs often tell of young couples who are separated by distance or circumstances beyond their control. They long to be together again, and their love for each other is strong enough to overcome any obstacle.

Other popular themes in Chinese folk music include Nature, patriotism, and religion. Nature is a common theme because the Chinese people have always been close to the land. They have a great respect for nature, and many of their folk songs reflect this respect. Patriotism is another common theme, as the Chinese people are very proud of their country and its history. Religion is also sometimes reflected in these songs, as Buddhism and Taoism are two of the major religions practiced in China.

The Language of the Lyrics

Most of the lyrics of Chinese folk songs are in the vernacular language, which is the language spoken by the common people. This contrasts with the classical Chinese language, which was used by the educated elite. The vernacular lyric tradition began in the Tang dynasty (618-907 CE), and reached its peak in the Song dynasty (960-1279 CE). Over time, the lyrics of Chinese folk songs have been influenced by many different dialects, as well as by Classical Chinese and modern standard Mandarin.

The Instruments Used in Chinese Folk Music

There are a wide variety of instruments used in Chinese folk music. Some of the most commonly used instruments include the erhu, dizi, pipa, and guzheng. These instruments are often used in traditional Chinese music, as well as in contemporary folk music.

The Pipa

The pipa (Chinese: 琵琶) is a four-stringed Chinese musical instrument, belonging to the plucked category of instruments. Sometimes called the “Chinese lute”, the instrument has a pear-shaped wooden body with a varying number of frets ranging from 12 to 26. Another Chinese four-stringed plucked lute is the zheng. The pipa is sometimes referred to as the ” Chinese banjo”.

The Erhu

The erhu (二胡, èrhú, [ɤ̌ʐʊ̌], also called 胡琴 húqín) is a two-stringed bowed musical instrument, more specifically a spike fiddle, which may also be called a “southern fiddle”, or sometimes erroneously referred to as a “Chinese violin”. It is used as a solo instrument as well as in small ensembles and large orchestras. Its history can be traced back to Instrumental music of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). The earliest known written record of the erhu dates from the 12th century.
By the late 20th century it had become “one of the most popular and representative Chinese musicians instruments”. The bow used with an erhu can be similarly used with other spike fiddles like the yehu and jinghu.

The Erhu consists of 2 parts:
1) The Stick: Traditionally made from ziziphi wood also known as Jujube tree. Nowadays it can be made from Fiberglass or Carbon fiber which makes it lighter and therefore easy to carry around.
2) The Resonance box: Traditionally made from python skin but now it is made from synthetic materials such as fiberglass, carbon fiber or nylon because python skin is now banned by CITES.

The Guzheng

The Guzheng, is a traditional Chinese musical instrument dating back to the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC). It belongs to the zither family and has a feature unique among members of that family, namely its ability to produce harmony due to its layout of strings. The typical Guzheng has 21 strings arranged in 5 courses.


To conclude, Chinese folk music is a rich and varied genre that has something to offer everyone. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing melody to calm your mind, or an upbeat tune to get your feet tapping, you’re sure to find it in this unique and timeless music style.

Similar Posts