The DoveSong

The Text Library
   Positive Music
        Movement (2004)
   Through the Centuries
        Gregorian Chant
        15th Century
        16th Century
        17th Century
        18th Century
        19th Century
        20th Century
        21st Century
   Gospel Music
        Black Gospel
        Mountain Gospel
        Southern Gospel
   World Music
        Chinese Music
        Indian Music
        Persian Music
   Popular Music

 The MP3 Library
(no longer operational)
   Western Classical
        Plainsong (Chant)
   Gospel Music
        Mountain Gospel
        Black Gospel
        Southern Gospel
   World Music
        Middle East

The music on this page IS playable

Yes, the MP3 library on most of our pages is not available, but the music has been preserved on this page

Deborah's Koh's MP3 Page of Chinese Folk Music

by Deborah Koh

Click HERE to find out about more about this remarkable young lady and her love of music.

Tian Shan Sheng Hui (Festival on Mt. Tian)

     This is a lively song by Gu Guanren, but with a strong tribal flavor to it that makes it very unique among Chinese orchestral pieces. It symbolizes the festival held on Mt. Tian (Mt. Sky) where the Chinese minority tribes congregated and danced the night away. Both fast and slow melodies are woven together into a music that does not lose its ability to make the listener dance along with it. Click Here for a Detailed Description

Zhan Tai Feng (Combating the Typhoon)

     This is a guzheng solo piece composed by Wang Chang Yuan. The guzheng (zither) is an instrument similar in principle to the harp. There are several segments where heavy strumming is involved, a technique that is commonly referred to as sao xian, or “sweeping the strings”. Lots of furious glissando is used too. This is to portray the fury and strength of the typhoon winds. The pentatonic scale (do re mi so la do) is quite evident here, with a melody somewhere in the middle that goes “La do re la, la do re mi, mi re do re mi re mi so la…”

This is "Melody of China," a group based in San Francisco. In the front row on the left is the guzheng, in the middle the yangqin, and on the right, the pipa.

Zhu Ying Yao Hong (Flickering of the Candle Flame)

     An erhu solo piece with yangqin (dulcimer) as accompaniment. It was composed by Liu Tianhua in 1932. Unfortunately, he died of scarlet fever that very year.

Kong Shan Niao Yu (Bird-call on an Empty Mountain)

     Yet another erhu solo piece with yangqin as accompaniment, also composed by Liu Tianhua. It is very unique in the way that it displays the wonderful ability the erhu has in mimicking bird-calls. The erhu does not have frets in the way a guitar has, nor a fingerboard like a violin. It merely has 2 strings stretched taut in mid-air. This allows an amazing variety of sounds to be produced due to changes in the pressure of depressing the string.

The second half of the song is where the true action starts. When performed live by a virtuoso, it is an amazing sight. The erhu player sweeps from the top of the strings all the way to the bottom of the strings and back up again, with utter confidence that he or she is playing the exact right note, even though there are no frets and the hand is moving impossibly fast, with the fingers just grazing the strings.

In order to achieve this special effect, the same note is played in swift succession by three different fingers. So, for example, the notes “do do do” would be played by the ring finger, the third finger and then the second finger at super-fast speed, causing a slight blurring of the notes. All these techniques result in squeaks and calls that sound remarkably like that of a bird.

The erhu can also mimic the sound of neighing horses as well as a snowstorm quite convincingly.

Bu Bu Gao (Stepping Higher)

This is a gaohu solo piece, with a chamber orchestra as accompaniment. The melody is bright and lively, which is brought out to perfection by the unique timbre of the gaohu. On the whole, this is a very toe-tapping song, from Guangdong (Canton) province. 

     When I first heard Ping Hu Qiu Yue, which is the “autumn moon over a quiet lake” song, I was trying to decide whether the solo instrument was a banhu or a gaohu. The bright timbre of the instrument was a very obvious indicator to me that it could not have been an erhu.
     Whilst on a website about Chinese instruments, four popular gaohu pieces were mentioned. Bu Bu Gao and Ping Hu Qiu Yue were two of them. That clinched it for me, and when I came across an mp3 of Bu Bu Gao, I was ecstatic.
      If you listen to these two pieces, then compare them with erhu pieces like Kong Shan Niao Yu, you will know what I mean when I say that the tone is unmistakable. Lots of hua yin is used in this song, where for example, to play the note D, the player will start from the note C and slide very quickly to note D to provide a slight, sharp transition. Hua yin gives the music a bouncy flavor, and is a technique often present in Guangdong (Cantonese) music.

For more insight into the gaohu and its performance, please check out this website: gaovideo and watch the video there. I recommend it very, very highly. It’s a great video.

Nan Ni Wan (Bend of the River Nan Ni)

The suona is an ancient Chinese double reed instrument. The metal bell gives it a bright timbre, similar to a brass instrument. It comes in four sizes, the bass suona, the alto suona, the soprano suona and the small hai di. (ICMC 1999)

This is a folk song, played by the erhu. A chamber orchestra acts as accompaniment. It’s very similar in mood in Bu Bu Gao, except that it is slightly less playful. Note the repeated use of the suona in the middle, which should not be mistaken for a gaohu, despite the fact that both of them have very bright tones.

Shan Dan Dan Kai Hua Hong Yan Yan (Red Flower)

This is a solo guzheng piece. It is actually a Shanbei folksong. The melody is simple, being only very lightly ornamented, but it is very lovely. The mp3 was obtained from VideoLink

I greatly encourage all those interested to take a look at the very, very wonderful video they have of the song. Nothing can beat watching a live performance, so please see the performer “in the flesh,” so to speak.

Selected Songs from Hong Lou Meng

These are selected songs from the soundtrack of a TV adaptation of the famous Chinese classic Hong Lou Meng, or “A Dream of Red Mansions”, as it is more commonly referred to in the West. It was written by Wang Liping. This performance was recorded live by the famed singer Zheng Xulan at Victoria Concert Hall in Singapore with City Chinese Orchestra as the accompaniment.

The reason I chose to feature these pieces, aside from the beautiful and poignant melodies, were because Zheng Xulan is a classically-trained Chinese singer with a lovely voice. Hopefully these songs will allow listeners to have a taste of what Chinese opera singers sound like.

The pieces were recorded live though, so please forgive the slight errors present. Nevertheless, it is of reasonable quality, and is no less beautiful despite the lack of a proper studio.

#1 Hong Lou Meng Xu Qu (A Dream of Red Mansions)

This is an orchestral piece with only some wordless singing in the beginning. It is quietly sad at first, but soon works its way to a lament involving the entire orchestra.

#2 Zi Ling Zhou Ge (Song of Zi Ling Province)  

Zheng Xulan shows off the power of her voice here in the first fully vocal song of the CD. Not my favourite song, but it is still pretty good.

#3 Hong Dou Qu (Red Bean Song)

The singer’s marvellous voice is shown off to great perfection in this emotional song, with the support of the erhu underpinning the melody.


#6 Liu Lao Lao (Granny Liu)

This song features mainly the erhus, with the occasional entrance of the sanxian, or shamisen as it is known in Japan. The melody is playful and flowingly beautiful at the same time. I recommend this for anyone who loves the erh u

#7 Tan Xiang Ling (I don’t quite know how to translate this one)

The erhu makes a few brief appearances here, and Zheng Xulan works her usual magic again.


#8 Shang Yuan Jie (Shang Yuan Festival)

The suona is the main performer in the introduction, along with the cymbals and drums. It’s very reminiscent of a Chinese wedding. Then the banhu (a kind of fiddle normally used in opera) enters, along with the muyu (which is the wooden fish like the ones that monks use). The plucked-strings also make a brief appearance. There is no vocal part here, but it’s still an interesting addition nonetheless.

Click HERE to find out about more about this remarkable young lady and her love of music.

Rising World Entertainment

Copyright © 1997, 2000, 2005, 2010 by RisingWorld Entertainment
All rights reserved.