SET OF CHINESE FOLK SONGS, A
About this work:
A Set of Chinese Folk Songs for unaccompanied choir (SATB)
arranged and translated by CHEN Yi (1994)
Remembering when I studied composition in the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, I learned to sing hundreds of Chinese folk songs collected from more than twenty provinces and fifty ethnic groups, and went to countryside to collect original folk music every year. I got to know that the folk songs are a mirror of people's daily lives, their thoughts and sentiments, local customs and manners. They are sung in regional dialects and use the idioms of everyday speech with their particular intonations, accents and cadences. This correlation between speech and music distinguishes folk songs of one region from another. I learned all songs by heart and sang them back in the exams every week. They melted in my blood and became my natural music language. The more I walk into the music life, the more I treasure the rich culture I have learned from my homeland.
When I became the Composer-in-Residence of Chanticleer and was invited to write the first work for its concert program, as well as another version for its Singing-In-The-Schools program, I decided to introduce A Set of Chinese Folk Songs to my American audiences, and add a new flavor to Chanticleer's rich repertoire. The work includes ten folk songs, taken from eight provinces (Anhui, Shaanxi, Yunnan, Shanxi, Taiwan, Sinkiang, Jiangsu and Guizhou) and five ethnic groups (Han, Hasake, Uighur, Miao and Yi). I arranged them for choirs (men's or children's chorus) with various combinations in voices, to be sung mostly in Chinese, some in English. From the mysterious mountain songs originally sung in the open air with high and long notes that can carry over great distances, the sweet and delicate melodies of young love compared with nature, the humorous antiphony by little children, and the lively dancing tune by villagers, you may get an idea of various music styles in Chinese folk songs according to geographic, ethnic and linguistic differences, and appreciate the beauty of the Chinese folk music. The pure choir sound and the sophisticated singing by Chanticleer, in terms of pitches, language and musical expressions, really attract and inspire me to create some more new works in the years to come. In this edition of A Set of Chinese Folk Songs for standard SATB mixed choir (with piano rehearsal score), I divided these ten songs into three volumes. They are Fengyang Song, The Flowing Stream, Guessing, Thinking of My Darling, and Mayila, Jasmine Flower, Riding on a Mule, Awariguli, Diu Diu Deng, and Mountain Song and Dancing Tune.
Version: Mixed choir, sung in Chinese
Year composed: 1994
Ensemble type: Chorus, with or without Solo Voices:Chorus, Unaccompanied
Instrumentation notes: Unaccompanied Mixed Chorus, with optional Piano part. Presser Publication:
Vol.1 312-41731, Vol.2 312-41732, Vol.3 312-41733, 1998, $2.30 each
Alt. version for Children's Chorus and Str.Orch./Quintet (25 min.) S&Ps on Rental
Alternate version for Male Choir (TTBB) a cappella (17 min.) Score [312-41682]