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The “Divine Tune” in China: “忐忑 (tǎntè) Uneasy” (Intermediate)

Apr. 26, 2011

The "Divine Tune" in China: "忐忑 (tǎntè) Uneasy"


Key Learning Points (Preview):

忐忑 (tǎntè) adj. uneasy


称赞 (chēngzàn) v. to praise


表演 (biǎoyǎn) n. performance


Do you know a song titled "忐忑 (tǎntè) Uneasy"  that has become famous in China? This song hit the Internet in late 2010, and was "称赞 (chēngzàn) praised" by netizens as a "divine tune."

So, how did it become such a sensation?

This song isn't like other popular songs on the Internet. The lyrics don't make any sense–they consist of syllables used in "京剧 (Jīngjù) Peking Opera". The song is particularly unforgettable because of its dramatic "表演 (biǎoyǎn) performance", exaggerated facial expression and special musical format.

In traditional Chinese music, the tunes are usually moderate and the lyrics are arranged in parallelisms. They are accompanied with traditional Chinese musical instruments such as: the "古筝 (gǔzhēng) Chinese zither," the "二胡 (èrhú) two-string fiddle" and so on.

Listen to the song through a video and learn through this Chinese lesson online.

Key Learning Points:

忐忑 (tǎntè) adj. uneasy



Jiāole shìjuàn, wǒ xīnlǐ tǎntèbù'ān.
交了     试卷, 我 心里 忐忑不安。


After I handed in my exam paper, I felt uneasy.

称赞 (chēngzàn) v. to praise



Lǎnglǎng bèi chēngzàn wéi zuì yǒu tiānfèn de míngxīng.
朗朗          被    称赞      为   最   有    天份    的    明星。


Lang Lang was praised as the most talented celebrity.

表演 (biǎoyǎn) n. performance



Értóngmen de biáoyǎn hěn jīngcǎi.
儿童们        的   表演     很   精彩。


The children's performance was spectacular.


京剧 (Jīngjù): n. Peking Opera


古筝 (gǔzhēng): n. theChinese zither


二胡 (èrhú): n. the two-string fiddle


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