Chinese Culture 


 Chinese Culture






Music -- Modern Chinese Music

Today's Chinese music is very similar to modern Western music. Like young Westerners, young Chinese adults attend the concerts of famous Chinese pop stars. Modern Chinese orchestras still play adapted versions of traditional pieces, but they also play classical and modern symphonic compositions. Popular modern music incorporates many aspects of Western music from electric keyboards to guitars. Much of today's popular music can be classified as soft rock, rock, or dance music.

Andy Lau Singing at a Concert
Though many aspects of popular Chinese music are similar to those of popular Western music, many traditional facets to modern music remain. Many traditional Chinese instruments are used in conjunction with popular instruments of Western cultures. The mixing of traditional instruments with other instruments creates a wide variety of euphonious sounds and rhythms. In addition, the mixing of traditional instruments with Western styles of singing creates unique Chinese sounds. Many modern artists also incorportate traditional Chinese melodies into their songs, so even music using only popular Western instruments sounds different. The mixing of Western styles and Chinese styles with traditional Chinese instruments and other instruments allows for the creation of an endless scope of expression with modern Chinese music.

a Modern Orchestra Using Traditional Instruments
Many modern instrumental music pieces incorporate traditional instruments while adapting a more modern style. However, instrumental music is still very traditional. Many works of traditional music are still played by small quartets and large orchestras. Chinese melodies are quite unique and incorporate into many modern compositions. Chinese instrumental music has changed because it is no longer restricted to the traditional format. Even non-traditional instruments such as the piano are used in creating modern works.

Some modern Chinese songs have been provided below (in RealAudio format). Among the various artist included, the popular Chinese singing star, Andy Lau, is included.

Sound Clips

Various Artists

"Deskmate": a laid-back piece sung by a modern male Chinese singer. This could very much be a typical ballad heard in Western music today.
a Duet: another laid-back piece sung by two modern male and female Chinese singers. The melody and music as a whole are a very beautiful duet and song, and it features
a Ballad: a modern Chinese ballad that is very traditional. It uses the now-very-popular vibes and typical modern background music.
a Mix: a modern piece that displays how traditional Chinese Music is still very much alive. The beginning features the traditional Chinese flute, the di ' tz, which mixes with modern instruments.
Traditional?: a modern piece that contains a good deal of the traditional Chinese style. The beginning opens with the Erhu, the Gu Zheng, and a traditional drum beat; the "hey-ho"s here you hear also are very traditional.
more Traditional?: this is a modern piece that is a remake of a song that originated in the 60's. Notice the singing style: it is very traditional.

Teresa Teng

the "Oldies": This piece is quite famous among all of China, old and new. In the movie The Joy Luck Club this song can be heard in the background of a dance scene; it originated sometime in the first half of the 20th century.
another "Oldies": many of the songs Teresa Teng sung were of the "older" legacy types. This one is another song like the one above, though it probably originated later.
Modern Teng: Teresa Teng also sang modern-style type songs as well. Her career was a long one, a legacy, and therefore she sang over decades in different styles.

Andy Lau

an Andy Concert: Andy Lau is one of the "four kings" of China's male singers today. He is very famous and is the modern Chinese male singing star. This song is, as you can hear, part of a live concert program.
very Modern: this song is very modern and upbeat. It is a mix of dance, latin, and rock, and even is bit ska-like. At the very beginning of the clip you hear a mock of traditional Chinese opera right before the song begins.
the Older Side: this song is a remake of a previously very popular song of the "Chinese Oldies". All Chinese singers have a touch of tradition in their singing, no matter how modern.
Beginnings: this is Andy Lau a bit earlier, around 1993-94.
a Favorite: this piece is also like the one above, from a just previous period. It has the most beautiful piano part and background, along with a great vocal melody as well.