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Folk Songs

1. Course of Historical DeveloPment

As was the case with other ancient peoples, Chinese folk songs originated in primitive hunting, ritual, mating and herding activities. So, from an early period there was established a realistic artistic tradition based on work, food production, funeral Customs, etc. For instance, a song in the Annals of the States of  Wu and Yue has the following lines: ',Chop the bamboo and pile it up; delve in the earth and hunt the game.-' Tradition has it that this poem dates from the time of the Yellow Emperor; it Succinctly expresses the whole course of primitive hunting and laboring activities. In Master Lob Annals, we find: "Yu went hunting. He saw a woman on Mount Tu. He passed her by, and toured the southern lands. The woman of Mount TU thereupon sent her serving woman to await YU on the orth side of Mount TU. The woman made a song, which went as follows 'Waiting, oh waiting for you!' This was the first song created in the south." Literary historians regard this as the source of love songs in the Chinese folk tradition. In the same work, it says, "ln the music of Lord Getian in ancient times, three men waved the tails of oxen and danced, singing eight songs...'- This is a lively picture of ceremonial singing and dancing held in gratitude for a bumper harvest. These splendid records of early folk songs not only provide us with some understanding of social life at that time, they also show us that people who lived several thousand years ago had reached a Surprising high artistic level in using colloquial language to examine, sum up and describe their actions and emoti0ns relating to work, love, aspirations and beliefs.

In about the sixth century BC, there appeared the first collection of poems and songs in Chinese history - the Book of Songs. of the 305 items in this work, 165 are folk songs and poems, know collectively as "teng'. They are also called "the leng of the 15 states", as they are folk compositions handed down 0ver a period of about 500 years (1 006- 57o BC)from 15 states or territories. The socio- historical aspect of these poems is not only wide- ranging but also a model of incisiveness worthy of being called a "Book fgenesis" which reveals the social life of 500 years of the Zhou people throuhy of special mention is the fact that most of the poems and songs use the f0ur-words-to-a-line format. This stable and widespread attern laid an important foundation for the progress and diversification of later Chinese folk songs. The opening work in the Book of Songs: "By the riverside are cooing/A pair of turtledoves/A good young man is wooing/A maiden fair he loves." displays a fresh and lucid style; more0ver, it has all the ingredients of a full-f ledged song.

During the Han Dynasty, folksongs as a genre spread widely and unceasingly, and their forms developed and changed. Throughout the Qin and Han dynasties, the Music Conservatory, which was set up to collect the songs and music flourishing among the common people, was most influential in recording and promoting the development of this type of music. As a result, during the Han and Wei dynasties, the common people's songs and poetry which had been handed down in this way were called "Music Conservatory" pieces. At the same time, the basic structure of these folksongs five words to a line was called the '-Music Conservatory F0rm". This Music Conservatory genre was another of the high spots of Chinese folk music which occurred repeatedly following the guoteng or "National Style" of the Book of Songs. In the course of 5O0 or 600 years of development, not only did it spread widely among the ordinary people, it also directly influenced the musical and poetic creations of men of letters. The collcction of Music Conservatory Verese, compiled by Kuo Maoqian of the Song Dynasty in 100 volumes, is an embodiment of the artistic achievements of both the folk and the literary Music Conservatory styles. Among the works contained in this compilation, the Fifteen Miliary Expedition Songs, Wayside Mulberries, Thc Peacocks Fly Southeast, Song of Mulan and Song Sung Deep in the Night from the Songs of Wu are still moving when read, even though the music which accompanied them has been lost. The Two Songs Sung at Midnight notes that there are hundreds of kinds of ballads, but describes the "midnight" songs as the most haunting, with clear and natural expression from stringed and wind instruments. The Music Conservatory songs, which had five words to the line, gradually combined with the Nati0nal Style, which used four woods to the line, to lay the groundwork for the styles of songs which emerged later, having seven words to the line and alternating short and long lines.

Against the historical background of the promotion of Cultural exchanges with the outside world by the Tang Dynasty rulers and the absorption of the music of neighboring nationalities, Chinese folk music preserved its vitality. Liu Yuxi (772-842), a mid-Tang poet, was greatly excited when he heard a local folksong in what is now ichuan Province, called Bambo0 Branch. He immediately set about writing ten songs modeled on it. The most famous of these contai s the lines: "Between the willows green the river flows along/My dear one in a b0at is heard t0 sing a song/The west is veiled in rain, the east enjoys Sunshine/ Others say the day is dark, but to us the day is fine.'- Another song goes, "The mountain's red with peach blossoms above/The shore is washed by spring water elow/ Red blossoms fade as fast as my gallant's love/The river, like my sorr0w, will forever flow." From these imitations we can appreciate the free-flowing style of the seven-word-to-the-line form of folksong and the oblique expression of meaning inherent in the folksong style. In his Crop-Planting Song he left a valuable record for later generations of a lengthy tradition among farmers of singing while they planted crops in their fields, which he observed in Lianzhou, Guangdong Province. Another type of folksong extant at this period has been preserved among the records found at Dunhuang, and known as the TaiZi wugengzhuan and Sifu Wugnegzhuuan. These songs were divided into a series of five parts, or gap They were particularly suitable for expressing emotions of nostalgia and longing, and were popular in the Tang and Song dynasties; in various forms, they could be heard alt over the country as late as the beginning of the Qing Dynasty. In summary, the most important characteristic of the folksongs of the Tang period, apart from the appearance of new forms, was that the types using seven words to the line achieved all-round maturity.

During the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, the traditional folksongs 0f farmers, fishermen, mountain dwellers and boatmen continued to be handed down; at the same time, the burgeoning of the urban commercial economy gave rise to new types of songs, called Xiaodiso. A classic one using seven words to the line is this 0ne, fr0m a Song Dynasty stowller's prompt book: "The crescent moon shines down all over the land/On the joytul and the sad alike/On the families united and on the homeless wanderers." The most widespread form of such folksongs was the "spring tune" type, which had four stanzas: respectively, introduction, theme, Support and wrap-up. During the Ming Dynasty, the scholar Feng Menglong compiled collections of folksongs titled Mountain Songs, Hanging Branch and oleader In the Qing Dynasty, Wang Tingshao put together his Rainbow Tunes, and Hua Guangsheng compiled Lingering Snowy Echoes, Ballads of the Deep South and Whimsical Collection. Most of these were songs popular among the common people of the cities at that period. Eight pieces in the last book (published in 1837), including The Embribered Pouch, Song of the Screcn Window Shoes Embroidered in Red Greeen Wollws and Song of hc Fresh Flowers (i.e.jasmine), all belong to the folksong genre, and were recorded in the gongchiPu notation. Thus, we can get an idea of how folksongs had developed to the stage at which they were treated as a serious musical form.'

In brief, by the time the Qing Dynasty was Supplanted by the Republic of China, the Chinese folksongs, after dissemination, alteration and creation over a period of several thousand years had, on one hand, matured and become enriched in their subject matter, scope and structure, as they had had to suit a variety of social strata and common environments; on the other, as they developed they had absorbed a rich variety of national and local styles from the different areas they had sprung up in. These folksongs, with their long history, unbroken tradition, variety of form, and rich and colorfulcontents, are a treaSure store of Chinese Culture. From this aspect, there Are people who insist that Chinese folksongs are an "encyclopedia of the social life of the Chinese nation" and a rich source of nourishment for other types of music which will never dry up.

2. Types And Categories of Folk Songs

In the course of being sung over a long period of time, and adapting themselves to the special requirements of a variety of functions and environments, Chinese folksongs gradually formed themselves into a series of artistic categories. Here, we will introduce a few of them:

Haozi Also called "work songs" or shaozi These are common all over China. According to Master Lu's Annals, which predates the Qin Dynasty: "When workmen are lifting heavy timbers, one cries out had! and the others repeat this. It is a sort of song for getting everyone to exert their efforts when lifting something heavy" This is a vivid description of how Our ancestors moved heavy timbers all together while at the same time chanting a work song. It also quite plainly states the important fact that even in primitive times workmen employed songs to assist them to concentrate their efforts. These songs developed into the haozi of later times, helping to coordinate the rhythm of cooperative and collective labor Thus, a preconditi0n for the birth 0f h3azi was collective labor, and moreover labor involving mutual cooperation. Haozi of various descriptions would accompany work such as fishing, lumbering, transporting timber, steering river b0ats, hauling tow ropes, rafting, stevedoring, ramming and tamping earth 0n construction sites, quarrying making salt,etc.

The different types of haozi depended on the types of work and the environment in which they were sung. But, scanning the musical materials which have been collected over the centuries, haozcan be roughly divided into:

Fishermen's songs. These cover all the aspects of boat and net handling, and are further divided into "inshore haozi" and 'deep-sea haozi"The rhythms and tones of the former are somewhat gentle: those of the latter are rougher and tenser. These songs are arranged in sets of verses from five to ten or more sections which correspond to the course of the work being done, as the fishermen cast their nets, catch fish, and brave the wind and waves. Fishermen's HaOZ have been created all over the coast of China from the Bohai Gulf to the South China Sea, but perhaps the most representative are the ones from the area of Bohai and Zhoushan Islands.

River boat H3oZare the songs Sung by boatmen on the Yangtze and Yellow rivers and their tributaries, and mainly distributed on the upper and middle reaches of these rivers. Famous ones are the haozito which are Sung by boatmen at the Sichuan section of the Yangtze River, on Hunan's Li River, on the Yellow River within Gansu Province and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, in Gongxian County, Sanmen Corge and Kaifeng, Henan Province and on Hanjiang River in south Shaanxi. of these, the boatmen's songs 0f Sichuan are the richest and liveliest, which may be because this stretch of the Yangtze River is the most turbulent, most twisted and most difficult to navigate. They include the relaxed Going Downs feam Song and the unhurried Calm River Song as well as the strident Going UPstream Song and the Gomp All Out Song Depending on the mood of the boatmen, they could sing ordinary folksongs or snatches of Sichuan Opera. They would also utter wild, word less cries which drowned the wind and waves.

The haozi Sung by stevedo0res accompanied the loading, lifting and pushing movements which were part and parcel of work on the doocks. From the wharves of Dalian, Tianjin, Qingdao, Shanghai and Guangzhou came songs to accompany the lifting of heavy loads, or carrying loads on the shoulder or with a pole; from Chengdu in Sichuan came shaozsongs to accompany the pushing of barrows on flat roads; and from Tianjin and Anhui came cart-pushing songs. Because these songs were Sung in the course of hard labor, they were full of short and sharp utterances, often sighs and groans without any concrete meaning.

Forestry workers' haoziwere sung to accompany the operations of lumbering, transporting timber, piling timber, etc. These songs originate mainly in Changbai Mountains area of Northeast China, the Greater and Lesser Xing-an Mountains, and forested regions of northwest and south China. The songs were different depending on the different natures of the jobs they accompanied- For instance, in the Changbai Mountains, the haozi sung when transporting timber were divided into Mushroom Head Lifting Rope Hauling All Crear, Wakangand Floating the Logs songs. The forested areas of central and south China produced songs sung when transporting rafts of logs down rivers. These songs are raucous, rough and vig0rous, reflecting the heavy and dangerous nature of the work.

The songs sung by men working on construction sites or building dikes included one to accompany tamping work done by teams of men hauling on ropes to move huge stone or iron weights rhythmically. This type of folksong was also found all over China, but thrived especially on the lower reaches of the Yellow River, where the dikes had to be reinforced twice a year, in spring and autumn. At those times, thousands of miles of dikes would echo to the sounds of tamping songs. In addition to the above, there were haozi sung by salt, quarry and irrigation workers.

Most haozi had a lead singer and a backup chorus from the rest of the workmen. Sometimes one group would take the lead, and another group would join in. When the work was going at a slow pace, the part Sung by the lead singer or singers would be long drawn out, while that Sung back by the others would be comparatively short. But when the pace of the work quickened, the parts of both the lead and the chorus were short. The chorus would normally sing only when the lead singer or singers had finished their parts, but sometimes the chorus would chime in before the end of the lead part, forming a crescendo.

In Summary, the various types of h80Z occupied an important niche in the folksong genre. It appeared in primitive times, with the introduction of collective labor, and only started to die Out in modern times, as machinery started to replace Such labor For several thousand years haozi had a mighty social function as it accompanied the laboring masses in their struggle against nature, helping to create miracle after miracle in the course of mankind's vict0rv over his surroundings. At the same time, haozi was the earliest spiritual and artistic flower of the c0operation and clashes between man and nature in the field of toil, and so it is of everlasting historical and cultural value-Field Songs These songs are also called field-planting or weeding drum songs. They were born in the great crop-growing regions around the Yangtze and Pearl rivers. In these regions, two and sometimes three harvests a year were normal, and so the tempo of work was intense, including planting, weeding, irrigation, harvesting, etc. The need for songs to regulate the farmers' moods and relieve their fatigue arose spontaneously. However, farm work was different from the type of laboring described above, as although it was collective work it was not as necessary that everyone should work in unison. Therefore, the field songs were like the Haozi inasmuch as they were closely related to work, but they were different from the point of view that they did not need to coordinate the rhythm of the work. So the forms of the field songs were somewhat different from those of the haozi In most of the large farming areas there were semi-professional singers. They bore the respectful titles of Geshi, Gebo or Gejiang all of which can be translated into "singing master". These people were skilled at making up extemporaneous songs, and they also had large repertoires of historical tales and carried on the tradition of long epic ballads. In the busy planting seasons, they would be invited to come and help the work along. Two or three would stand at the head of the field and sing antiphonally, sometimes accompanying themselves on drums and gongs. Because crop planting took Place from dawn to dusk, the singers were expected fo perform all day. To entertain the farmers and help take their minds off their fatigue, they would intersperse their songs with interesting stories and comic routines at random. Sometimes, the singers would give the work orders, including moving to other work areas, and announce meal and rest times. In order to encourage the workers, the employer would sometimes hire two "singing teams', and get them to compete with each other in singing for prizes. There were occasions als0 when the master singers would sing the lead, and the workers would join in the chorus.

Distinct characteristics grew up in dialect, Customary presentation, structure and musical style among the field songs of the different regions. In addition, they were called by different names, some of the prominent ones being: the Gedongdai and Luoguche ofjiangsu province, the Qingpu folksongs of Shanghai, the Calling the Calling and Weedng the Crops songs of Anhui Province, Jiangxi's Zhushangu and Drum Song Hubei's Changang Weeding to the Sound of Gongs and Drms, Field Chant and beeding Song Yunnan's Flower Drum and Gong Song Hunan's Treading the Ficlds and Duoluodong songs, Fujian'S Weeding thc Fisld Rhyme, the rops Song of Guangxi and Guangdong provinces, and haozito ccompany weeding Sung in Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan provinces.

Field songs were formed of sections of two, four or more lines. Apart from the regular formats of the lead-and-chorus songs, all the other field songs had loose rhythm and metel In some areas, in order to match the demands of the pace of work, field songs w0uld be made up of a very lag number of sections a dozen or even several dozens. For instance, the Changyung Weeding to the Sound of Gongs and Drums song has 27 parts, which would take the singer over an hour to complete. There were different ways of singing these songs too. The Changyang song, mentioned above, was sung in the normal voice, or ptoi8ng whereas, the Shanghai Qingpu folksongs preferred a falsetto voice, or gaoqiang In some places both normal and falsetto voices were used. So, taking into account the differences in area of origin, in musical style and methods of performance, we can say that field songs form an extremely varied and rich genre of folksongs.

Mountain Songs This type of folksong is also spread widely all over China, and contains a rich variety of ingredients. One point of view holds that the category of mountain songs includes all kinds of songs with free rhythms and lingering melodies Sung by people who worked in mountainous and hilly regions cutting firewood or grass, tending flocks or simply traveling to console or entertain themselves. Another school of thought would include in this genre herders' songs from the grasslands, including songs of praise of heroes and banqu ting songs; the songs of deep-sea and river and lake fishermen as well as of boatmen; and some of the brides- laments of south China. This claim is based on the fact that these songs all have the characteristic of emerging naturally in the course of individual labor with the function of entertaining or consoling. Generally speaking, this broad concept of mountain songs is conducive to our understanding of what the artistic traits of the mountain song types are.

Chinese mountain songs are found chiefly concentrated in the regions of the lnner Mongolian Plateau, the Loess Plateau of the northwest, the Qinghai Platcau, the Xinjianr Plateau. the Yunnan- Guizhou Plateau, the Qinling-Daba Mountains, the Dabie Mountains, the WUyi Mountains and the Tibet Plateau. The areas where this tradition is most typically preserved, and the most representative types of mountain songs are as follows The various types of changdiao of the lnner Mongolia Plateau; the XintianyOu shanqu and Pash8ndtao of Shanxi and Shaanxi provinces and the western part of lnner Mongolia; the huabrof the Hui and Han peoples of the Ningria Hui Autonomous Region, and Gansu and Qinghaj provinces; the herding songs of various ethnic groups in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Rcgion; the jie'erge maoshange and bei'erge of the southern part of Shaanxi and the northern part of Sichuan provinces;the manganniu of the Dabie Mountains; the wushange of the jiangsu and Zhejiang region; the Hakka mountain songs of the area where jiangxi, Fujian, Guangxi and Guangdong provinces meet; the morning songs (also called ',sacred" songs) of the area where Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan provinces meet; the Dading mountain songs; the Midu mountain songs; and the various songs of this type produced by the ethnic minorities, notably those of the Tibetans, and the various minority groups in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

The chagdiao of the inner mongolian plateau ln the Mongolian language, these mean "long-drawn-Out songs". They are common on the grasslands of Alxa Xilin G0l and Hulun Buir. These songs are characterized by thejr lengthy vocalization and free rhythm. They are generally divided into two lead sentences and twoo follow-up sentences. The overwhelming ma joority of the themes of these songs consist of horses, camels, herds of sheep, blue sky, white clouds, and water and grass. They are mostly Sung using the natural voice, but a type of glossy intonation is used to produce a long-drawn-out effect and give the songs a richer sense of the flavor and vigor of the grasslands.

Xintianyou Also called shuntianyou or Xisoquzi(these mountain songs are common in the northern part and border region of Shaanxi, NingXia, Shanxi and lnner Mongolia. In the past, production and trade were hampered in these areas because of poor communications, andpeople had to rely on donkeys and mules for the transport of goods. The donkey drivers and porters were known locally as "foot-sloggers". These pe0ple spent long periods of time on lonely mountain roads and gullies, and the Xintianyou were what they sang to keep their spirits They n0t only handed down these songs, but made them up too. The Xfoti8nyou really belonged to the people of the Loess Plateau; no matter whether they were herding their flocks or Cultivating the land, or celebrating a festival, they would always be humming snatches of these songs. A type of mountain song genre with a strongly individual style, the basic characteri tics of the Xintianyou were its short and pithy style, headstrong tunes and fierce and deep em0tions, which combine to provide it with rich modes of expression. The first line serves to introduce the mood, while the second line enunciates the theme. For instance: ',When choosing a steed, some stick out from the rest/ When choosing a partner, my love's the best." Many of the tunes are based on the double-fourth framework of jing-gong-shsng-jing The first line is made up of two tunes, the first of which is long and lingering, imparting a feeling of vastness. The tune of the second line is smooth from beginning to end, and the singer, by manipulating changes and repetitions of the tunes, instills his own feelings into his performance. Representative song titles are Foo-sloggers's' Tunes, Lanhuahua, Ganshengling at the FOOt of Mount HengShan and Tongue-tisd when I Gaze on that Face.

The hua'er of Gansu, NingXia and Qinghai Also called shaoni8n or yequ, these songs are native to the three areas of the northwest which are home to a number of ethnic groups, including the Hui, Han, Sala, Bao'an, DongXiang, Tu, Yugu and Tibetan. They are mountain songs sung in various Chinese dialects, and the generic name c0mes from the fact that flowers figure prominently both in the titles and the themes, and thatthey are cherished by the local people. The different types of tunes are called ling They have four lines arranged in a folk meter, whereby the lines are not standard seven-word ones. For instance, "l climb the high peak and view the level plain/There down below is a peony plant/It looks so easy from here to pluck that bloom/But I know Such a longing is futile.'- The tunes, too, match the two-part, four-line format. Hua'er are spread over a wide area, and they are basically divided into two types, according to the location where they are popular and the style of singing: hchuang Hua'er and taomin hua'er These are in turn subdivided into branches according to the ethnic group which sings them and the musical style. Hua'er are Sung both on ordinary occasions and at "hua'er gatherings". Sung at the latter are love songs, which are not allowed to be sung in the villages. Hua'er gatherings can be held at any time of the year, but they are mostly held in the fifth and sixth months by the lunar calend3r, usually c0inciding with temple fairs and trading fairs. Gathered in a scenic spot in the m0untains, the participants sing antiphonally, trying to outdo each other There is a joyous, carefree and lively atmosphere on these occasions.

The Hakka mountain songs ofjiangxi, Fujian and Guangdong provinces The Hakka people migrated south from the Central Plain, beginning in the Wei and jin dynasties, and during the Ming and Qing dynasties they had settled in southern jiangxi, northwestern Fujian and northeastern Guangdong Province. As their lifestyles and speech still bear traces of their origin in the Central Plain, the Hakka constitutes a distinct branch of the Han nationality. The most noteworthy thing about Hakka music is that the literary flavor of the lyrics is strong, while the tunes are simple and subdued. One example of Hakka songs is "Carefree, l wander in jiaying County/Where the three river torrents rush by/Two silk threads are knotted tight/It is hard to lover". The music consists of five notes only, and the four musical phrases are slowly unrolled and very understated. A large number of Hakka songs only employ three notes, but this in no way hampers the expression of the melodies and the feelings of the songs. The following areas are the chief places where Hakka songs are concentrated: Meizhou, Xingning, jiaoling, Wuhua and Dabu in northeast Guangdong Province; Wan'an, Suichuan, Xingguo and Ruijin in jiangxi Province; and Ninghua, Changting, Longyan and Shanghang in west Fujian Province. Representative songs are Both Sldes of my New Emfbroibered Purse Are Red Seeing Him off in His Boat and Autumn Moon Reunion from Guangdong; Singing a MOuntain Song from Jiangxi, and Gazinga the Autumn Moon, The DownPour and the Drizzle and The Wind Makes the Bamboo Leaves Tinkle from Fujan.

Plateau songs of the Southwest Parallel to the Northwest Plateau, the Southwest Plateau covers southern Shaanxi Province, and Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou provinces. However, the scenery is quite different from that of the northwest, with its r0lIing mountains and plains. The warm climate of the southwest makes its mountains green and its waters emerald; the vegetation cover is lush. The mountain songs which were created in this environment have a character all their own. First of all, they hover around the yu and shangnotes and the third and fourth pitChes- ln addition, they tend to be four-line songs. Although the nature of the music of mountain songs is mainly bold and sonorous, nevertheless, because of the framework of the tunes as described above, the mountain songs of the southwest plateau, even in their intense moments, have absorbed an element of softness. Clear examples of this type of song are Whcn Will the Scholathee Bloom? and Sharp Peaks from Sichuan, and The Flowong Stream, Pasturing the Horses and Horse mp Song from Yunnan. Besides, this characteristic is also found in the mountain songs of the ethnic minorities in this region.

While haozi and field songs have always been restrjcted in their development by their close relationship with actual labor, and their music has preserved elements of this connection, it can be said that mountain songs have basically freed themselves from any Such bonds. Mountain songs are a species of song which allows people to freely express their feelings and experiences. Truly, as it is Sung in a hua'er song, "Hua'er is the voice of the heart; a person cannot help singing it." It is exactly this quality of being able to convey one's innermost feelings in a free and unrestrained manner that is the basic reason why mountain songs have been widely popular and their tradition has been handed down for thousands of years.

Xiaodiao Also known as "Xiaoqd', "liqd', and etc., these folksongs flourished in urban areas and markets. They are artistically refined, and their music is harmonious. They form genre of folksongs with exquisitely subtle tunes. Their influence is felt in all the cities of the country, and the short lyrical and narrative songs of some ethnic minorities have their origin in the Xiaodiao.

There are many things which differentiate xiaodiao from haozi and mountain songs. First of all, the environment in which they flourished. Whereas haoz and mountain songs originated in the mountains and open country, in close coordination with collective or individual labor, Xiaodiao had nothing to do with labor, circulating as they did in the wineshops and teahouses of the market towns, and being a feature of festivals and celebrations. Secondly, the means of their transmittal were different. Xiaodiao were not sung by peasants, but by urban dwellers, merchants, small handicraftsmen, and the professional and semi-professional classes. There was also another, even more important difference, and that was its artistic function. While haoz and the mountain songs had definite self-consolation value and practical applications, these aspects were basically absent from Xiaodtao, which were sung mostly for the entertainment of others. Especially after the emergence of professional singers, and their performances became more polished, the conditions were formed for Xiaodtao to mountthe stage as an eclectic entertainment which had gradually abs0rbed the Subject matter and forms of other types of performances.

Xiaodiao had a wide repertoire, including marriage and I0ve among the various urban classes, the sorrow of parting, local customs, human foibles, pure entertainment, general knowledge, historical tales and folk legends. Prominent and widespread Xiaodiao dealing with such themes include picking and Peaches seling sundry Goods flying a Kite Swinging Grinding Bean Curd Mending the jar New Year's Greering, Viewing Lanterns, Visiting the Temple, timple Tea, The Courtean Files a Suit The Nun Dreams of the Secular Life The Ruffian Mourns for His Wifc and The Widow VisitS the Grave of Her Husband.In structure and method of artistic presentation, Xtaodiao used a variety of musical forms, blending the lyrical with the narrative, and recitation and singing. The basic arrangement was in the form of the ,'five night watches','four seasons' or "twelve Months',. In the latter, the Subject matter was recounted in 1 2 stages, corresponding to the months of the year In "The Flowers of the Year", the names of the flowers which bloom in each month are taught to the audience in question-and-answer form, thus imparting some knowledge of nature in a cheerful and lively atmosphere. The well-known story of Meng jiangnu was also told using the 1 2-month framework. The five- night-watch form was used for b0th lyrical and narrative material in a similar way, except that there were only five stages, corresponding to the watches into which the night was divided in ancient times. This information is contained in the document Ballads of Dunhuang which dates from about the ninth century During the Ming and Qing dynasties, five-night-watch songs flourished all over China. They mostly dealt with the love musings of young girls, such as Five Watch Drums, Five Watch Brds Loot for breaking of the dawn, ContemPl8ung the Five W8tches and Sighing Through the Five Watches.

The embryo of the Four seasons format con be discerned in the Music Conservat0ry song of the Six Dynasties period (222-589) Midnihght of the Four Seasons In the Ming and Qing dynasties this format was popular nationwide. These works sang of scenic spots, the vicissitudes of the weather and maidenly love within a framework 0f the seasons. The five-Watch, four-Season and 12-Month Xiaodiao folksongs, after being refined in the course of centuries of being sung, became rich in literary content and developed smoothly flowing and moving tunes. With a broad social basis, they are a treasure trove of esthetic value. Apart from songs belonging to the time-sequence category, famous Xis0dtao include jasmine Flover Embroidered Pouch, Addressing the Flowers and flying a Kite (also called sPring Outing), and the qu tune works Paving the Way Song of Sizhou and The Broken Bmp. The forms of these s0ngs often changed as they were spread to different areas, and new words were added. As a consequence, it was said that Xiaodiao had "legs" and could move all over the country, while mountain and field songs were limited in their geographical scope. This is the major difference between these folksong traditions.

Because the Xiaodtao were basically composed of four lines each, they were commonly known as "four- liners.,' The first line introduced the song, and set the tune and the basic mood; so it was particularly important. The second line was a counterpart to the first, solidifying the musical tone and feeling. The third line usually rought in new material and a new musical tone to creat6 a deliberate contrast and effect, thereby giving the music a new momentum. The fourth line completes the third, and rounds out the balance of the song. Thus the four lines have the functions 0f "introduction" "development", 'elaboration" and 'finale". On the Surface, this seems to be a straightforward musical structural relationship but historical studies have shown that it reflects the national musical sense and the logic of Chinese ways of literary and artistic thought. We can say that the four-fine format of the Xiaodiao, on account of its universality and Succinct incisiveness, demonstrates the formal logic which is a national characteristic.

Multiple-voice Folksongs These are songs sung by two or more singers, who render two or more parts. They are also called "two-voice folksongs" or "complex-tone folksongs". For a long time, it was held that the "double- voice" phenomenon did not exist in Chinese folk music- But this view was proved wrong in the late 1 940s, when, in the course of collecting folk music among the ethnic minorities of southwest China, a musicologist discovered a large number of such songs. In fact, historical documents long ago testified to the existence of Such songs. For instance, the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region's Annals of Sanjiang county contains the following note: "The Dong people have a particularly effective way of singing...a group of singers sing together in loud oices , and one person with an especially fine voice sings solo in between at a low pitch. This modulation is remarkably moving." There are many m0re similar descriptions, testifying to the fact that multiple-voice singing was a tradition in this region.

Multiple-voice singing is mainly confined to the ethnic min0rities of the south and southwest, that is, to the Zhuang, Dong, Miao, Yao, Buyi, Maonan, Mulao, Wa, Lisu, Naxi, jingpo, Yi and Gaoshan peoples of YUnnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, Guangdong, Hunan, Fujian and Taiwan provinces, and the Mongolian people of the north. Some haozi of the Han people, which have exchanges between a lead singer and a chorus, can also be ascribed to this category. The multiple-voice songs of the ethnic minorities are often associated with ritual, ceremonial or festival songs and dances, Such as the Great Song and Blocking the Way of the Dong; the Grast Song and Small Melody of the Buyi; the Saihai of the Miao; the Tearful Bride of the Tujia; the Butterfly Song of the Yao; the Game Song of the Wa; the Double-Tone of the She; the Drinking Song Funeral Song and Ritual Song of the Gaoshan; and etc. other multiple-voice folksongs are haozi Sung during the process of work in the northeastern forest regions, along the section of the Yangtze River in Sichuan Province as well as by the Gaoshan people in Taiwan when they were weeding the field and by the jingp0 people in Yunnan Province when they were pounding rice.

China's multiple-voice folksongs fall into five categories:

  1. Round-type songs. The high and low parts follow and alternate with each other Examp1es are the above-mentioned Game Song of the We and the Pounding Rice Song of the jingpo.
  2. lmitative Songs. A low voice imitates the melody of a high voice, and they overlap. Examples are the Ka'e and Laha of the Zhuang and the Whisutling the Dong.
  3. Sustained or fixed low-pitched songs. A low-pitched voice sets off a higher-pitched one with a Sustained or fixed melody. With one "active" and the other "passive", they bring Out the best in each other as they blend into a unity. Examples are Telling Story of the "Great Song" form and Sound of the "Small Song" form of the Dong, and the Boiling Pot Song of t e Naxi.
  4. Supporting voice songs. A new voice joins in and sings variations and adds adornments to the basic melody The main melody is very clear, and the supporting voice simply throws it into relief. Examples are Climbing Mount jia and North-South Road Mountain Song of the Zhuang and the Butterfly Song of the Wa.
  5. Harmony or counterpoint songs. Two voices, one high and the other low, sing different melodies. Sometimes they sing together, and sometimes they alternate, forming a rich harmony. Examples are the Muguaji and Baishi of the Lisu and the Harwest Festival Ritual Song of the Gaoshan.

All these types of songs use tight intervals greater second, greater and lesser third, fourth and fifth. The characteristic interval and the one most widely used is the grater second. It is no coincidence that it turns up again and again in multiple-voice folksongs, having been selected as the favorite interval in the performance of these songs for many centuries. It is the most obviously unique characteristic of Chinese multiple-voice folksongs.

3. Artistic Features

From the general introduction in the previous two sections, we recognize that the folksongs of the various ethnic groups in China have the following characteristics

First, a long history and abundant contents. There is documentary evidence that folksongs have had a continuous history in China dating back 5,000 years to the time of the legendary Yellow Emperor's T8n'ge. Folk music was the most familiar and best-loved art form among the masses, and every generati0n contributed excellent works. Because of historical limitations, before the 2oth century, only the words 0f folk songs were recorded, but in this century musicologists have collected and recorded thousands of works of folk music. According to statistics in the Collection of Chinese Folksongs compiled since 1979, each province and autonomous region has yielded an average of some 15,0OO folksongs, of which 800-1,500 have been published. The complete 3o-volume collection will contain 3O,O00 folksongs, direct testimony t0 the richness of the Chinese folksong radition. Although these songs have been recorded by living singers of the 2oth century, there is reason to believe that many of them date back to the period between the end of the Ming and beginning of the Qing dynasties, or even before- Folksongs are without doubt a precious part of Ch na's cultural legacy.

Second, an abundant variety of styles and forms. In the vast territory of China, with its varied geography and land forms, and among its different ethnic groups, different modes of production and social Customs arose. Against this ackground, a large number of different folksong forms arose in consonance with these modes of production and life styles. Apart from the haozi field songs, mountain songs, Xiaodiao and multiple-voice songs menti0ned above, there are also children's songs, lullabies, songs dealing with local Customs, planting songs, lantern songs, herding songs, boat songs, fishing songs, peddlers' songs, and songs to accompany religious sacrifices and ceremonies. In short, there are songs to suit every aspect of life and production. Due to the Pervasive influence of geography and physical surroundings, since ancient times in China the overall culture which has gradually taken shape has been marked by clear regional differences, and folksongs are direct products of those differences. Not only have they been influenced by regional physical conditions, but even more by differences in language, dialect, and regional charac- teristics and styles. The representative style prevalent south of the Yangtze River is the "southern river village style" Xiaodiao; representative of the "northwest plateau style" of mountain songs are Xintianyoou and hua'er Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan have their ',southwest highland style"; and there are also the "northeast highland style" and the "North China Plain style". These are just broad categories; if one were to investigate more deeply, one would find that nearly every grouping of every ethnic group and every difference in lifestyle and location has its own distinct folksongs.

Third, Succinct technique and concise language. Folksongs are public artistic property, and, as Such, every folksong extant today has been sung countless times down through the ages, and has been refined and modified spontaneously over and over again, reaching ever-increasing levels of maturity. This creative Process is a never-ending one, and so the most important esthete principle that singers must abide by is that of onciseness. Both words and music must be as simple, lucid and unaffected as possible so as to express what people see, hear, think and feel. Only works that meet these criteria are considered fit to be preserved and handed down; those that do not are either eliminated or subjected to further polishing. This process of simplification and making clearer is a natural one that results from the mass artistic nature of folk music which has always stressed the maxim of "finding truth in a return to simplicity"' Some Chinese folksongs only use two notes shang and yu, or re and la; some use three yu-gong-shang (la do, re) Fng-gong-shang (sol, do, re), yu-gong-jiaoo (la, do, mi) or gong-jiao-jing( do mi, sol); and others use four yu-gong-shang-jiao (la do re mi) 0rhogungshang (sol, la do re Despite the paucity of notes, these combinations could produce flexible musical forms and accurately express a wide range of feelings. Most Chinese folksongs have two-line or four-line structures. Nevertheless, the absolutely simple two-line songs, which have repetitive, echoing or contrastive functions, and the four-line songs, which have the sequence of beginning, taking up, carrying on and winding up, have their own individual beauty after being altered and refined in the mo tes of countless singers. This point can be appreciated by hearing the Song of the yellow River Boatffmen.

This song was recorded from the singing of a boatman on the bank of the Yellow River where it separates Shanxi Province from Shaanxi Province. It has the two-line format, with the first line being a question, and the second line the answer, starting with "Do you know how many bends the Yellow River has?" The song has a majestic vigor to it, quite different from other songs, and it unfurls for us a vast panorama of the history of the Chinese people going back 5,00O years. It progresses from the bends (Nature) t0 the boat and its pole (manufactured instruments), and then t0 man himself. he words are fairly colloquial and their meanings are constantly repeated, but the whole manifests a wealth of solid logic and finally embodies the great national quest of ordinary people to understand Nature and history. The second line complements the first; the "How many" (jishiji )of the first line is paralleled by the "ninety-nine" (jiushijiu) of the second. This has great symboIic meaning, and not only shows a high degree of artistry, but a high degree of wisdom as well. Similarly with the music. The first line is sonorous and deep, with the first note catching the attention and the last n0te echoing it. In etween, there are four repetitive phrases. This simple structure contains within it the means to move the hearer to a reverential emotion of beauty From every angle then, it can be said that S0ng of the Yellow River Boatmen is a classic representative of Chinese folksongs and of the spirit of the Chinese nation.

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