Chinese through Song, Second Edition

By Hong Zhang & Zu-yan Chen

Subjects: Music, Asian Studies, Chinese Studies, Language
Imprint: Distribution Partners
Paperback : 9781438455402, 248 pages, September 2014

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents

Introduction: On a New Approach to Language Acquisition
User’s Guide
Chinese Singing Terms
Basic Singing Techniques
Part One 一部

1. Song of Mount Ali 阿里山之歌
2. Kangding Love Song 康定情歌
3. Jasmine Flower 茉莉花
4. In That Distant Place 在那遥远的地方
5. Tangyuan For Sale 卖汤圆
6. Sweet Like Honey 䣶蜜蜜
7. The Girl of Daban City 大阪城㢩姑娘
8. Little Blade of Grass小草
9. The Great Sea, My Homeland 大海啊, 故乡
10. Where is Spring 㫩䒶在㖠裡
11. Longing 思念
12. Please Lift Your Veil 掀起你㢩盖头來
13. Path in the Forest 林中的小路
14. Wishing You Peace 祝 你平安
15. Song and Smile 歌声与㣲㗛
Part Two 二部

16. Dating at the Aobao Terrace 敖包相㑹
17. Where Is the Way 敢问路在问方
18. Return Home Often 㦂回家看看
19. Candied Haws 冰糖葫芦
20. Husband and Wife Return Home in Pairs 夫妻双双把家还
21. If the Mountain Does Not Turn, the Water Will 山不水
22. Rowing the Big Boar Together 众人划桨开大船
23. Wedding Vow 㛰誓
24. Boy’s, Don’t Guess What’s on a Girl’s Mind 女孩㢩心思男孩你別猜
25. My Deskmate 同桌㢩你
26. The Same Song 同一首歌
27. The Coolest National Style 最炫民族风
28. Chinese Gongfu 中囯㓛夫
29. New Year Wishes 拜新年
30. Chinese Language 中囯话
Vocabulary Index
About the Authors

An innovative approach to teaching Chinese language and culture, using folk and popular songs.


Offering an innovative approach to language learning, Chinese through Song helps students develop their language proficiency and music appreciation through the use of folk, popular, and art songs. Because songs emphasize the color, pronunciation, and intonation of every syllable, they can be a valuable tool for improving a student's spoken language skills. By learning and performing the songs in this book, students will expand their vocabularies and improve their pronunciation, voice projection, and language expression—all while learning about Chinese culture in a fun and stimulating way.

This revised and expanded edition includes thirty songs, many of them new to this edition. They feature lucid and vivid language, as well as beautiful and relatively simple melodies. They are good for voice development and can be practiced in different modes of performance, including solos, duets, rounds, and musical dramas.

Each chapter comprises up to seven sections: (1) a song, including sheet music and lyrics in Chinese characters and pinyin Romanization; (2) a line-by-line English translation; (3) a vocabulary list designed for students who have completed at least one year of Chinese; (4) cultural notes that help students understand the historical and social context of the song; (5) language notes on the use of key words and important sentence patterns; (6) singing instructions, including remarks on interpretation and performance; and (7) language exercises for both classroom practice and homework assignments.

Chinese through Song may be used in several ways: as the main textbook for an interdisciplinary, intermediate-level course, emphasizing both language acquisition and musical performance; as a supplement to regular Chinese language classes, from elementary through advanced levels; as a resource for extracurricular activities (for example, a Chinese chorus or a performance at a Chinese New Year party); and as a general songbook.

Hong Zhang is Instructor of Chinese at Binghamton University, State University of New York. She is the coauthor (with Zu-yan Chen) of Cultural Chinese: Readings in Art, Literature, and History. Zu-yan Chen is Professor of Chinese Language and Literature at Binghamton University, State University of New York. He is the author of Li Bai & Du Fu: An Advanced Reader of Chinese Language and Literature.