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Fun, Essential Chinese Songs to Learn: Supplement Your Lessons (Part 2)

Jul. 7, 2017

Chinese General Songs

In a previous article, I introduced Chinese songs for children and adults to learn if you are a beginner to intermediate level learner of Mandarin Chinese. In today’s article I will suggest some songs that are more suitable for advanced learners of Chinese.

Singing songs together is one of the most popular pastimes for Chinese people. As a foreign Mandarin learner, belting out a Chinese classic is a great way to endear yourself to Chinese friends and acquaintances.

These “upper level” songs take a bit more effort to learn and sing than the lower-level songs previously introduced. They will introduce more complicated metaphors and even challenge you to exercise your tongue through tongue-twisters!

So, let’s take a look at a few “advanced” songs that you can learn before your next visit to the KTV!

- ADVANCED TEEN’S SONGS -
These songs introduce a larger variety of vocabulary and a faster rhythm than the teens songs that were previously introduced. The lyrics contain more cultural references, so learning them will also enlighten you into aspects of Chinese culture.

Here are the four teen’s songs in Chinese that I’d recommend all Chinese learners check out:

1. 一千零一个愿望 (Yìqiān líng yígè yuànwàng) One Thousand and One Wishes

This song’s lyrics involve making wishes and being optimistic about the future. It’s the perfect message and tone for those teens just heading out into the real world.

2. 水调歌头•明月几时有 (shuĭ diào gē tóu • míngyuè jĭshí yŏu) Tune:Prelude to Water Melody

The lyrics of this song are from a poem, the most famous poem related to China’s Mid-Autumn Festival. It was written as a tribute to the writer’s brother, who he had not seen in a long time. The song’s lyrics contain two expressions now popular in China:

Rén yǒu bēihuānlíhé, yuè yǒu yīnqíngyuánquē, cĭshì gŭ nán quán.
人   有       悲欢离合,月   有        阴晴圆缺,  此事  古  难   全。
Not everything is perfect, and we should learn to endure ordeals.

Dànyuàn rén chángjiŭ, qiānlĭ gòng chánjuān.
但愿         人     长久, 千里    共     婵娟。
A well-known blessing during times of reunion.

3. 中国功夫 (Zhōngguó Gōngfu) Chinese Kungfu

Chinese “功夫 (gōngfu) kung fu” is a world-famous martial art. This popular song describes the dignity and discipline of the fighter and the tradition.

4. 中国话 (Zhōngguóhuà) Chinese Language

This song is literally about how difficult it is to pronounce the Chinese language! The song features Chinese tongue-twisters that challenge even native speakers of Chinese. Do you think you’re ready for it? Give it a shot!

- ADVANCED ADULT SONGS –
1. 隐形的翅膀 (Yǐnxíng De Chìbǎng) Invisible Wings

Many Chinese songs are about hopes and dreams and this song is one of the most famous. Its lyrics describe going into your own mind to escape the reality of what is around you. Imagination may be more fulfilling than reality.

2. 康定情歌 (Kāngdìng qínggē) Kangding Love Song

Recognized by UNESCO as one of the world’s 10 most famous folk songs, this song is about a city in Sichuan Province. The lyrics evoke the imagery of this city and also describe the moon, a popular subject in Chinese songs. Some of the imagery you can find in the lyrics:

Yuèliàng wānwān, kāngdìng liūliū de chéng yo.
月亮       弯弯,      康定      溜溜  的    城   哟!
The moon, the crescent moon. Kangding city.

3. 对面的女孩看过来 (Duìmiàn de nǚhái kàn guòlái)

This song is written from the perspective of a boy who is experiencing his first love. He is self-conscious but eager to dive in. The songs useful lyrics include:

Zuǒ kàn yòu kàn, shàng kàn xià kàn.
左    看   右    看,上      看  下   看。
Look left, look right, look up, look down.

You can remember this when asking for directions or finding your way! These advanced songs feature lyrics that are more complex and metaphorical than the beginner and intermediate songs. Once you’ve mastered these, you will be confident at the KTV! At eChineseLearning, we have a unique program that allows you to learn Chinese songs for adults though a live, 1-to-1 teacher who specializes in teaching these songs.

Be sure to have a little fun and sing while you learn!

Quiz:

1. If you want to learn a song that is literally about the Chinese language and contains tongue twisters, then you can learn to sing:

A. 中国话 (Zhōngguóhuà) Chinese Language
B. 中国功夫 (Zhōngguó Gōngfu) Chinese Kungfu
C. 康定情歌 (Kāngdìng qínggē) Kangding Love Song
D. 一千零一个愿望 (Yìqiān líng yígè yuànwàng) One Thousand and One Wishes
See Answer

―Written by Becky Zhang―
Becky Zhang is a teacher at eChineseLearning.com. She has over eight years of experience teaching Mandarin Chinese to foreign students and promoting Chinese culture. She lives in Beijing but loves traveling to ancient Chinese villages. One day she’d like to be a tour guide in China!

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