Folk song has the longest history, simplest structure, richest numbers, and widest spreading musical genre among traditional Chinese culture. The poems of Chinese earliest poetry anthology -- The Book of Songs -- appeared 3,000 years ago.
The 305 poems collected in the anthology are divided into three categories "Feng" (local folk songs), "Ya" and "Song"(court songs, banquet songs, flattering praises and sacrificial pomes), which display the music for folk customs, court, and rituals of pre-Qin Period (before 221 B.C.E.).
To our gratification, "Tan'Ge" recorded in The History of Wu Kingdom and Yue Kingdom is still popular among farmers of Jiangsu Province, and there are some ancient songs and secular songs of the Ming(1368-1644) and Qing (1616-1911) Dynasties transmitted from generations to generations in different regions...
Click here for a brief introduction to Chinese folk songs.
Haozi: Work Songs
Shan'ge: Mountain Song
Tian 'ge: Field Songs
Xiaodiao: Small Tunes
Wu'ge: Dance Songs
Yu'ge Fisherman's Songs
(ChinaCulture.org August 2, 2005)