Chapter II - About the history of Chinese 'popular' music (Der Lange Marsch des Rock'n'Roll)

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Chapter II - About the history of Chinese 'popular' music (Der Lange Marsch des Rock'n'Roll)

Draft translated version


General information

Original works author: Andreas Steen

Original works title: Der Lange Marsch des Rock'n'Roll

Translation: Max-Leonhard von Schaper (Azchael)


The development of popular music forms as an integrated part of mass culture started in America in 1877, as Alva Edison invented the phonograph and thereby offered the first chance of recording accoustic signals. Ten years later, 1887/88, it was however Emil Berliner, who developed the technically more simple and thereby also prevailing prerequisite for recording and playing of music by inventing the grammophon and the LP. He thereby laid the foundation to an industry, which over the course of one hundred years grew to one of the most powerful branches of the entertainment industry. During this development once-existing measurement levels for judgement and reception of art could not be maintained. 'What withered in the age of technical reproduction of art, was its aura', so the judgment of Walter Benjamin (Benjamin 1977:13)[1]. Separated from interpretor and location, concert and music changed into a more or less simple and any time consumable good. Once subdued by the principles of the market, music should be 'popular' or should be made so, which caused, that thereafter the term 'popular music' became a synonym for all music forms produced by the entertainment industry.

In the twenties, especially in England and the USA, this new industry branch experienced a strong raise, due to the high number of competing 'phonograph factories', which were connected to the electronic goods industry (Frith 1988:14/15).[2]. The factories, which also produced shellac records, were founded by engineers, inventors and stock exchange brokers and their managers were only merely interessted in the music itself. For the decision for or against a specific music recording they orientated themselves at the taste of the audience, i.e. at the success of public performances. This lead to the fact, that different companies competed for the same material of successful 'concert hall performers', in order to offer the newest hit (ebenda)[2]. With the distribution of radio and film, the 'young' music industry in the USA experienced a collosal decline, which let several companies force to search for new sales markets in the colonies.[3] The result was, that the five big record companies WEA, Polygram, CBS, EMI and RCA got themselves representated in countries of the third world with respective brach offices, already in 1910 (Manuel 1988:4)[4][5].

The beginning of Chinese entertainment music in Shanghai (1911-1949)

After the signing of the 'Nanjing Contracts' (1842)[6] the city of Shanghai, seated at the Huangpu river, was opened on November 14th 1843 for foreign trade. In the following decades, a significant Western nightlife and entertainment life was developed in the exteritorial areas, reigned over by English, Americans and French. A night and entertainment life, that at the beginning was accessable only for the well situated parts of the native citizenship, but later started to also influence the cultural life in the Chinese areas. Furthermore had the industrialisation, started after the Chinese-Japanese war (1894-1895), change the city's image tremendously, as Shanghai, now more than ever, was reknowned as the central point for work-seeking people from the surrounding area. Relative political stability, wealth or rather the hope of work as well as the new entertainment forms raised the attractivity of the city in a way, that the population quadripled within fourty years and rose to over 4 million inhabitants until 1936. The consequences were widely visible, so that life in the prosperous port and trade city Shanghai was coined by rising unemployment figures, social misery, imperialistic dominance, inner-political conflicts and the dream of fast wealth. The 'Paris of the East', the 'City of Adventurers' and the at that time fifth-largest city of the world, could not have been only important as entertainment center. Due to the colliding powers and conflicts the city developed to the center of the awakening Chinese nationalism, whose carriers new social classes were, which place of birth was located in Shanghai. Specifically, a young Western-educated intelligenza, a national bourgeoisie and a modern industrial proletaria (Staiger 1989:18ff)[7].

The loss against Japan in the war (1985), the collapse of the Qing dynasty (1911) and the omnipresence of foreign powers let the research and accepting of Western culture and technologies become an unalterable conviction of the urban intellectuals. A conviction, that based on the perception, that the West could only be challenged and won over, when one was ready to learn from it. Numerous teenagers went to America or Europe for a foreign countries study. Furthermore so-called xuetang (Educational institute, school) had been founded at the turn of the century, which existed as predecessors of a Western-influenced public school and education system next to the Confucius-coined traditional education institutes. Essential part of class were the xuetang yuege (school songs), which represented the first product of the new designs and thoughts for a a modern music pedagogy. The songs combined the wish of an expedient adaption and takeover of an occidental music culture, i.e. the techniques of musical creation, with the Confucian idea of the educational function of music. Hereby popular Westeuropea and American melodies, often imported via Japan, as well as forms of military music served as a musical basis to express - by adding Chinese content - the battle to save the nation, demands of democrazy, peace and the equality of man and woman. Each, after 1910 entering school, teenager was used to that songs, so that their revolutionary potential also slowly integrated itself in other compositions. Music moved more and more into the focus of interest and was understood as a useful medium for the distribution of new ideas.

One of the most radical representatives in the struggle against Chinese traditions was Chen Duxiu (1879-1942), who, after his return to China from longtime studies in France and Japan, founded the magazine Qingnian zazhi (youth magazine) in 1915, a magazine, that a short time later was renamed in the influencal, and for intellectuals important, magazine Xin Qingnian (or 'La Jeunesse'). Furthermore Chen was one of the founders of the Communist Party of China (Bartke 1985:29)[8]. How eager he was to fight against the 'Old', can be seen from his words of 1918:

Destroy! Destroy idols! Our beliefs must be based on reality and reasonableness. All the fantasies handed down from ancient times, religious, political, and ethical, and other false unreasonable beliefs are idols which should be destroyed! If these false idols are not destroyed, universal truth cannot be restored to the profound beliefs in our mind (Chow 1960:297)[9].

The radical and against the traditional values focussed awareness, which was eager to connect to the whole public, found its first expression in number of newly founded magazines and literature societies. The May 4th movement of 1919, started by student demonstrations in Beijing, further pushed this development and started a, on all levels hold, discussion about the search for a new way for the slowly breaking-apart middle kingdom.[10] Further demonstrations, strikes and boykotts were the result of a unsatisfaction, which, on the over sid e, also lead to a enthusiastic adaption and distribution of Western literature, philosophy, art of painting and European e-musik of the 18th and 19th century.

The more or less forced change of Chinese society transferred itself also into the field of music, which needed to be adapted to the change living situations, in order to fulfill its tasks and functions under the new conditions of the republic of China. The thoughts driven mostly by university professors and students concentrated on the following three main questions: 1. How can Chinese music be 'Westernized'? 2. How can traditional music be preserved? How can a national music culture be achieved without regional accents? (Liang Minyue 1985:136)[11] The in the beginning visible trend of 'Westernization' had the result, that patriotic musicians and componists strongly devoted themselves to own national songs and from now on also paid attention to the Chinese folk song (nin'ge) and also the traditional instrumental music (see also Liang Minyue 1985:138ff)[11]. However it was the ideology of popular 'school songs', of which more than 1400 songs were composed until the beginning of the twenties (Wang Yuhe 1992:2)[12], that had an essential influence on the contents of 'new' folk songs. The principle of on this basis composed propagandistic folk and mass songs, which started to appeal to the public through at that point in time in Beijing and Shanghai founded music mass organisations (yinyue shetuan) (ebenda:3)[12], was throughout the following years especially taken over and distributed by the followers of the 1921 in Shanghai founded Communistic Party of China (CPC). These earnestly lead discussions on the strengthening of the nation stood opposite especially in Shanghai to a continously expanding entertainment landscape. The charm of modern foreign lifestyle and the discovery of new profit opportunies had not only attracted foreign and Chinese investors, but also had more and more the new Chinese middle class under its spell.

Music, entertainment and revolution

On the level of musical entertainment had the foreign and Chinese elite meet the first time during the so called 'tea dance' events in the foreign concessions. With the rapid expanding distribution of foreign dance styles within the Chinese petty bourgeois and philistine (xiao shimin) the first dance schools were founded. Their popularity lead in the thirties to the opening of many dance saloon modelled according to a foreign idol. In the dance salons Chinese dance girls (wunü) cared for the well-being of the guests (Wakeman 1995a:27)[13]. Hereby developed an interesting lucrative market for Chinese composers and musicians, which inspired the latter ones to copy foreign dance styles by listening to popular shellac records and to look for appropriate teachers from the at that time many Philippine instrumentalists.[14] Jazz and folk music, tango, foxtrott and waltz served as models for Chinese sounding copies, with which it was tried to raise the chances for competition and also sales figures in the Chinese population. High incomes and until that time unknown possibilities of financial security and professionilization of musicians might have been further reasons for the rapid distribution of this entertainment form. In the song Ye Shanghai (A night in Shanghai), recorded with singer Zhou Xuan, the city was described as following in the thirties:

The nightly Shanghai, the nightly Shanghai, is a city without night,
Pompous lights, the noise of cars, peaceful dancing and singing.
Look into her laughing face, who can still be melancholy?
For no place on this world
I would change this new heaven on earth.[15]

This rather superficial and elitist view on the reality in Shanghai must have been the product of an entertainment industry, which existence not only was dependent on the distribution of this view, but also on capital, corruption and contacts to the (criminal) underworld. Wakeman reports, that Huang Jinrong, boss of the Chinese investigator department at the French police, had been gangster boss no. 1 in Shanghai and since 1931 had been owner of the entertainment center Da Shijie (Great World), a special theater built for the 'young and extremely beautiful' singer LU Lanchun from Hankou. Thanks to her, the Gongwutaitheater had very good visitor figures. Her best songs were recorded afterwards on the, at that time widely distributed, grammophon LPs (Wakeman 1995b:119)[16]. The, in that time composed, 'fashionable melodies' (shidai qu)[17] reflected the influence of the first sounds of American jazz melodies (Su Xia 1981:5)[18]. But also elements of traditional folk music and varying Chinese operas formed the musical basis, which thereafter was provided with languished soppy love songs. The songs, which were content-wise quite frivolous and which adressed the topic love in a for the Chinese audience unknown openness, were later called huangse gequ ('Yellow songs' =pornographic songs) by critics. Ambitious musicians composed, next to this genre, so-called 'arty-fashionable melodies' (yishu shidai qu), in which they integrated the emotion-focussed way of expression of 'European art songs' (ouzhou yishu gequ), but they couldn't prohibit, that 'yellow songs' held a majority in music production.

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Li Jinhui

At that time, 'yellow music' was soon associated with the name Li Jinhui, who, in 1927, changed from composing 'Children music' (ertong yinyue) to pop and entertainment music (liuxing yinyue), propably due to financial reasons (Liang 1988:32)[19]. Between 1927 and 1936, Li composed several hundred songs, such as e.g. Meimei wo ai ni (Little sister, I love you), Taohuajiang (Peach blossom river) and Maomaoyu (Drizzle), and recorded only in 1935 forty LPs for the American RCA/Victor label (Meishang shengli gongsi) (Jones 1992a:11)[20]. During the selection of his songs which made love a primary subject of discussion, RCA orientated itself neither on melody nor on text, but on the title of the song, which obviously was more important for buying behaviour and (commercial) success (Liang 1988:32)[19]. At the same time Li wrote film music and went on tour in whole southeast asia with his 1930 founded orchestra 'Bright Moonlight Song and Dance Troupe' (Mingyue gewutuan), in which he also employed singer such as Zhou Xuan and Yan Hua.[21] A critic remarked in 1934:

Li Jinhui is a composer of popular music and is called a charlatan, decever and immoral. Since the start of his career he is avoided by society as being a morally corrupted vulgar person, whichout hope of improvement. He has not only written songs, which applied especially to house maids and cabaret girls, but he also shows his bad taste by allowing his wife and his daughter to watch, how he teaches women choirs... Musicians have bombarded Mr. Li with insults and found many mistakes in his compositions, but regardless of all this, Mr. Li was still as popular as always before. Even if he uses the technique of Western music, his melodies are mainly Chinese. Because he is not satisfied to copy other, he is called a parvenu by other Chinese musicians (Scott 1963:134)[22].

This kind of criticsm, which was maybe also stated due to jealousy on his (Li's) success, however didn't stop (Li's) success, because with the distribution of radio and cinema, 'yellow songs' of the thirties gained a popularity still visible in present time. Liang reports, that the Li pai yinyue (Li-style music), how the genre was named, was associated and critized partly wrong with the negative term 'yellow', because the fashion at that time made it necessary for men to sing in the style of women (nüli nüqi). 'That there are still nowadays (1988) a few singers, which sing in the way of the first royal concubine (niangniang qiang), is therefore an old suffering' (Liang 1988:33)[19]. But however popular and entertaining these love songs might have been, its distribution was not only welcomed.

The Western, on pleasure orientated character of the music and the immanent commercial production relationships were sensed by followers of the CPC as part of a through and through wicked and immoral judged entertainment industry, which limitless distribution masked and ignored the problems of that time. Also the reigning National People's Party (Guomindang; GMD) admitted, that respective etablissments, game of chances and pleasures merely 'westernized' and corrupted the Chinese population. Its existence only positively effected a few foreigners and rich Chinese businessmen, which only tried to raise their profits out of the social misery (Wakeman 1995a:20ff)[13].[23]

Therefore the compositions of followers of the CPC were different, as their componists and musicians steared against this development by topicing, despite political propaganda, real actual events and problems of society. With the first publishing of a revolution song collection (Geming geji, December 1926) messages circulate in the city, which different direction of impact was visible from titles, such as Fan diguozhuyi (rebell against imperialism), Nong gong ge (peasents and workers song) or Zhuidao Zhongshsan xiangsheng ge (song of grief for Mr. Sun Zhongshan; Dr. Sun Yat-sen).[24] In the song collection's preface it is stated:

The songs of the revolution are part of life (shengming su) of the revolutionary armed forces, (they) are their invincible artillery barrage and double-bladed sword, (they) are the source of endless fresh powers (ebenda)[24].

The struggle between aesthetic-musical refinement / modernisation of traditional music forms on the one side and the endorsement of a revolutionary functionilization of music in the Sinne der Nation on the other side, were decided to the favour of the latter one after the intrusion of Japanese troops into the Mandschurei (1931). Musical questions had to take a step back in favour of content ones (see: Yang 1982:24ff)[25]. According to this the in the beginning of the 30s established and broadly founded breit angelegt 'movement of left-orientated music' (Zuoyi yinyue yundong) took over the task, of addressing and mobilising the powers of the sweated, the workers and the urban proletariat by new compositions and the transformation of old folks songs. Also in this case, music should be 'popular' i.e. it should be musically simple structured, should be moral, constructive and should address with ideological 'clean' messages an orientationless felt population. Even more than literature and film, this medium (music) seemed to be able to call to battle the cpopulation against the Japanese occupants, against the foreign imperialism or also against the corrupt methods of the GMD under Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-shek).

The GMB confronted the distribution of such messages by songs such as Dadao Gongchandang ge (Fight down the Communistic Party)[26] and a strict control of the entertainment and media industry in the new Chinese quarters. During the 1934 initiated movement 'New Life' (Xin shenghuo) measurements of censorship tightened and numerous casinos and dance halls were closed, which led to the fact, that the varying forms of popular culture fled to the foreign concessions (Wakeman 1995b:9)[16].[27]

Since ca. 1933 the on a patriotic-revolutionary awareness aiming 'progress music' (jinbu yinyue) could develop itself there (foreign concessions) and could reach the public mainly via the medium film. Film studios such as e.g. Mingxing, Lianhua and Yihua produced between the years 1933 and 1937 a number of 'progress movies' (jinbu dianying), which, even though in a hidden form, propagated the fight against the Japanese occupants, against the corrupt and society-suppressing reigning class, and (propagated) the expression of national feelings and the solidarity among the worker class. The via this popular medium transported film songs (dianying chaqu) such as Tianya genü (The singing girl at the end of the world) and Siji ge (Song of four seasons) from the progress movie 'Street Angel' (Malu tianshi, 1937), reached a major part of the urban population. Popularity and recognition value resulted from the retention of traditional, known and plausible music and style elements. These by He Luting and Tian Han composed songs based e.g. on south Chinese folk songs. On the other hand the song Wang laowu (Fifth brother Wang; by Ren Guang) from the same-titled movie (1937) was praised due to its colloquial expression (Liang 1988:33)[19].

Nie Er

Another 'progress movie', which was released 1935 for the Chinese New Year in Shanghai's cinemas and which gained a lot of attention due to its progressive topic, was Xin nüxing (The new woman). Nie Er composed the melody of the same-titled title song. The by Sun Shiyi written lyrics are full of energy and demostrated the idealism typical for this genre. At the end of the movie, in the death scene of the main actress, the camera moves towards a steet, which is flooded by singing female factory workers (Harris 1995:64)[28].[29]

New women are the masses of women producers,
New women are the workers of society,
New women are the scouts for the configuration of a new society,
New women want to wipe out the storms of time together with the men!
The storms! We need to use them, to wake the people of the nation from their comfortable sleep!
The storms! We need to use them for the the glory of women!
We won't be slaves,
this world belongs to us all!
No separation between man and woman,
a big world peace!
New women, further demand bravely,
New women, further demand bravely.

The educational and political intention behind this 'music for the masses' (qunzhong yinyue) is to be distinguished from the for the commercial entertainment industry produced music, even though the musical borders were in the beginning only very difficult to be drawn up. Many followers of 'progress music', composers, texters, singers and female singers critized the according to their opinion contentless music of Li Jinhui, even though their career was directed by him (Liang 1988:34)[19]. The 'end products', often based on folk song melodies, were thereby also less on a musical basis, but rather on a content base or a ideological basis different from one another. In how far the judgement and interpretation of individual songs was dependent on factors outside the actual production, shall here be displayed by example with the famous song Heri jun zai lai (When are you coming back?).

'Yellow Music': When are you coming back?

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Zhou Xuan

At that time the propably most famous and successful female singer of Shanghai was Zhou Xuan (1918-1957), who performed in her short life in totally 42 films and who recorded ca. 300 film songs. She had her artistic breakthrough with the previously mentioned progress movie 'Street Angel' (1937), in which she not only starred as the main actress, but also sang the above mentioned songs. A year later the main role for the film Sanxiang ban yue (Three stars accompany the moon), filmed by the film studio Yihua, was offered to her:[30]

The movie mirrors the situation of the workers in a capitalistic Chinese company: To avoid that the Chinese market is flooded only by Western products, the entrepeneur Jiang Liyuan founds the company Guanghua, which specializes on the production on different household goods. His son, Jiang Zongliang, studies chemistry at a university in America. After his gradution he plans to look for a job in America, but is called back to Shanghai by his father. The female singer Wang Xinwen (Zhou Xuan) works at the radio station Huazhong, which goes bankrupt a short time later. She becomes unemployed and applies for a new job at the company Guanghua. There she meets Zongliang, who has returned from America and has meanwhile become manager of the company. She falls in love with him, but, due to his higher social rank, keeps disappointed a distance from this feelings, as she thinks him in unreachable distance. Zongliang eagerly wants to progress the company and invests in an advertisement campaign for which he asks Wang Xinwen to sing a song. Deeply touched by her song, she catches his attention and he falls in love with her. Due to a misunderstanding the love relationship between both ends and Wang ends her employment at Guanghua. Lonely and still in love, she now sings the song Heri jun zailai (When are you coming back?):

Beautiful flowers do not blossom very often,
a beautiful look doesn't stay long.
Numerous worries separate me from happiness,
while thinking I shed many tear.

When we separate today,
When are you coming back?
Have you emptied your glass, so eat a little bit,
too few times in life is oneself drunk,
(and) without joy everything is just more difficult.
Spoken: Come, come, let us drink first!
When we separate today,
When are you coming back?

In the middle of unforced joy,
we stumble through a night in spring, ah!
Lonely makes the jackdaw a nest in a tree,
high in the sky shines a bright moon.

Time is pressing, already soon we need to separate,
such a beautiful moment won't come back.
Each second is precious, please don't hesitate,
to drink to your heart's desire.

Let's hear and sing the 'Yangguan Sandie',[31]
(and) raise our cups.
In my affection I tell (you) a lot,
and hope, that you keep the words in the heart.
When we separate today,
When are you coming back?
Have you emptied your glass, so eat a little bit,
too few times in life is oneself drunk,
(and) without joy everything is just more difficult.
Spoken: Come, come, let us drink first!
When we separate today,
When are you coming back?

After the song fades away, Zongliang regrets his behaviour quite fast and tries with all his powers, to persuade Wang Xinwen of his love. The success-promising production of a article, designed by his employee Liu Guiguang, gives a reason for a big fest, on which the song and dance dramas Sanxing ban yue and Gongyi jiuguo (Technology saves the country) are performed. Obciously Wang Xinwen is invited, so that both can meet, can reconcile and the film can end in a happy end.

Liu Xue'an composed the song's melody rather accidently on a banquet in 1937, i.e. during a spontaneously uprisen contest between musician friends (Zhu Tianwei 1990:230)[32].[33] With the lyrics of Bei Lin the song rose to the position of the best known pop song of that years, appearing not only in all (film) song books, but also being very successful in Japan. There it started the interest in Chinese entertainment music, it was translated into Japanese in 1940 and was recorded by Dubian Bingzi (Chinese name). Eventually the in Shanghai living Japanese female singer Li Xianglan, a good friend of Zhou Xuan, recorded the song in two languages.

Nevertheless the content of the song was regarded as immoral and was controversial in both China and Japan, which led to the banning of the song in both countries. A further criticism was the character 'jun', which can be translated as a colloquial "you", but which is in its original meaning of Confucian origian and describes the moral personality of the 'noble' in its most complete characteristic. The political discussion about the origin of 'noble' started, as the song stepped out of its original context. In a scene of the in Chongqing 1941 filmed movie Gudao tiantang (Paradise of the derelict isle) patriotic adolescents demand in a sleazy dance hall from the dance girl to sing this song. Location of the movie's plot was Shanghai, which after the Japanese assault of 1937 was named as a 'derelict isle' in the middle of Japanese occupied areas, as most writers, playwrights and actors had retreated to the heartland to Chongqing or Yan'an. Now the critics asked, who was that 'noble', which should return. The GMD banned the song, for they assumed behind it the teaser and the hope for the return of the not yet completely destroyed communists. The latter ones condemned the song due to its immoral content and its description of the wicked capitalistic-orientated lifestyle in Shanghai. By the Japanese side it was understood as anti-Japanese propaganda and thereby also banned. Due to that background it gets clear, why the female Japanese singer Li Xianglan received a summons by the Shanghai ministry of public safety, after singing the song during a concert in Shanghai 1940. She was suspected to either work on the return of the GMD government from Chongqing or to distribute pro-communistic slogans (Zhu Tianwei 1990:230)[32].

The question whether 'When are you coming back?' should be categorized as kangri gequ (anti-Japanese song), hanjian gequ (treasonist song) or as a huangse gequ (yellow song) was unclear for many years. Albeit Liu Xue'an, composer of the song, composed also the anti-imperialistic hymn Changcheng yao (Ballad of the Great Wall, 1936) and numerous further patriotic songs, he carried around this particular song like a curse until the end of his life.[34] The fact, that this composition and its content was originally written for one specific movie scene and that they only can be fairly judged upon in this context, should be ignored until the late eighties. Once dissolved from this context, the song evolved to the embodiement and perfect example for the to-be-fought-against 'yellow music', which songs were nearly without exception sung by women. In the above mentioned example, the female singer hopes for the return of her love-one, or the 'noble'. In her misery (or lust) she wants to ask him to drink and to love and - according to the later criticism - to seduce him, to corrupt him and thereby to confuse his view on reality and the real problems of the time.[35].

Thereby a mere look into an English guidebook from 1934 is enough to understand the associations related to 'yellow music' and the criticism dealt out on that genre: 'Shanghai is not China. It is everything else under the sun, merely its population is mostly Chinese, but it is not the real China.'[36] This was doubtlessly correct. Shanghai was the prosperous 'Western' isle, the pride of foreigners, and the present and lived luxury, despite the many grievances in this metropolis, was hardly comparable to the social reality of the Chinese backlands. The rural population was not only haunted by natural catastrophies and famines, but was also exposed to the tyranny of big landowners and bandits. On this territory the slowly tapering battles happened between the GMD and the CPC. In autumn 1934 the red army eventually went on their Long March to evade the Encircling and extermination campaigns of the GMD (Salisbury 1985:72ff)[37].

The 'yellow songs' were expression of this urban, industrial and by foreign forces coined pleasure culture and the criticism on it was justified. It came from a side, which was ready to take on greatest efforts for the salvation of the nation and which hoped 'to increase the against-each-kind-of-suppression fighting force of the revolutionary population' (Wang Yuhe 1992:5)[12]. But circumstances required that the revolutionary forces had to leave Shanghai and had to move from city unto the countryside. The communists retreated into the North-West of the country, i.e. to Yan'an, and the national government of the GMD was forced, after the intrusion by Japanese troops, to move their seat of government from Nanjing to Chongqing.

The years 1937-1945, i.e. the time of the resistance war against the Japanese aggression, and the adjacent civil war (1945-1949) formed the peak of control and functionilization of 'entertainment music'. Via the numerous, meanwhile by foreigners, Chinese private citizens, communists, nationalists or the Japanese occupying power founded radio stations, each separate 'group' tried to distribute its own aims and opinions in the city. This was also reflected on a musical level, on which the disputes about the return of the 'noble' were only one example. At the same time the previously mentioned styles of Chinese entertainment and revolution music existed and propagated their partly subtly wrapped messages. Also the Japanese used now in the occupied territories (especially Manchuria Mandschurei and Shanghai) this medium; e.g. the previously mentioned female Japanese singer Li Xianglan sang the songs Xin Manzhouguo (The new Mandschurei) and Dongya gongcun (East asian co-existence) (Liang 1988:33)[19].

In consequence to the defeat of Japan (1945), the production of 'yellow songs' experience a new upswing in Shanghai and new songs such as Jinye qu (Song of today's night), Zuiren de kouhong (The befuddling lipstick) and Chuchu wen (Kiss me everywhere) originated. Other songs, such as e.g. Sanlunche shang de xiaojie (The lady in the riksha)[38] expressed furthermore now a via entertainment music transported satirical social criticism, which latenly against imperialists directed content was noticed probably not by many foreigners in Shanghai at that time.

The lady in the riksha is really beautiful,
in a foreign suit, trousers and with a short jacket,
with big eyes and fine eyebrows,
she opens her mouth for a superficial giggle,
which sets the humans similar to light alcohol in delight.

Next to her sitsa strange thing of ca. seventy years,
with a fat body and feistem belly,
with the whole mouth covering unclean beard,
the whole body smells of blood and cruelties.

Why do you behave towards him like a flirtatious lady?
How come, he is making you so happy?
What does it mean in the end,
(because) all those, that see it,
makes it really only angry.

In how far these kind of songs were able to move the awareness of the listener in a entertainming way towards a specific direction, is difficult to say. The musical variety came to sharp end in 1949, as the whole entertainment industry was transferred to state property with the founding of the People's Republic of China. Many musicians and artists, as well as in this industry branch participating producers, entrepreneurs and private citizens fled to Hongkong, where they excercised a not insignificant incluence on the further existence of 'yellow' culture (Gold 1993:409)[39].

This brief outline should be enough to draft the application and discussion about the genre of popular music before the founding of the People's Republic of China and to explain, why the Renmin Ribao (Chinese People's Newspaper) wrote on March 25th 1981, that 'during the time of the Chinese-Japanese war and during the adjacent liberation war before 1949 the yellow songs obscured riots and served to stun belligerence'. For an adequate assessment on value and influence, that the in that time originating pop and revolution songs had for and on the population, it depends mainly on the point of view. At last 'yellow songs' were certainly also produced due to the reason, that in times of overall control and censorship they represented a unpolitical, if not to say ideology-free genre.[40] The surely a certain financial purchasing power demanding reception of popular 'yellow' music as well as high sales figures for cheap literature permit an interpretation for the wish of distraction and escape from a cruel and confused reality. Not the socially critical works of Chinese authors or the translations of foreign literature were distributed and received by a large class of population, but it had been the 'butterfly literature' (Schmetterlingsliteratur). Soapy prose had its widest distribution in the form of light novels and popular works gained a readership in Shanghai only of one million people (Schmidt-Glintzer 1990:496)[41]. 'The folksy novels offered the public a chance to flee into a dream world, though they also reflected at the same time the problems of their time' (ebenda)[41], which were made subject of discussion in a way easy to digest. The herein only simplified described reception of literature reflects simultaneously the influence of a need-satisfying and revenue-reliant entertainment industry. It therefore can also serve as an example of explanation for the rapid acceptance, production and distribution of pulpy 'light' music forms.

For the after 1949 propagated and distributed music cultere, new rules counted. The first revolution songs originated in Shanghai. Numerous further songs were composed during the Long March and in the by the red army 'liberated territories' (genjudi). In Yan'an, terminus of the Long March, which became the starting point for the triumphal procession of the CPC, Mao Zedong laid down already in 1942 the for the future foundational and guiding characteristics of art and music.

Mao Zedong and the speeches of Yan'an (1942)

The kind of music has something to do with the government
(of a nation).[42]

In his effort to mobilise the masses for his own party, Mao Zedong recognized in good time the necessity for training of 'armed forces of culture, which one is not allowed to underestimate for the own cooperation and overpowering of the enemy' (Mao 1963:164)[43]. In order to give them a guideline for the creation of revolutionary art, Mao Zedong worked out a concept, which he presented during the Yan'an speeched in May 1942. He highlighted the following three points:

  1. Literature and art have to serve politics, as well as the workers

, the peasants and the soldiers.

  1. Artists and authors have to connect to the masses.
  2. Task of literature and art is the education of the people in the socialistic ideology and the mediation of communist ideals.

The practical implementation of the until today for art and culture creating people guiding 'guidelines' was, that 'the intellectuals, which want to become one with the masses and which want to serve them, had to go through the process of mutual getting-to-know' (Mao 1963:174)[43], and afterwards take over the point of view of the people and of the proletaria and thereby change their own point of view, i.e. feelings and ideology. Behind this was the belief of Mao, that there is no art because of art, and no above-the-classes art, which exists along with politics and is independent of it (see Heberer 1994:74ff)[44]. Due to this reasons, Mao announced the creation of a new 'national, scientific and mass culture', which can only be guided by the ideology and culture of the proletaria and the ideology of communism, but not by ideology or culture of any other class (Hamm 1991:8)[45].

The for the further development important and at the same time for artists over and over again problematic, as difficult to assess, supplement was that only on a 'technical' level the use of any 'tool' was allowed. Already in 1940, Mao stated: 'We should take over, whatever is good for us today. Therefore not only (things) of current socialistic and new-democratic cultures, but also of earlier cultures of other nations, e.g. of the numerous capitalistic countries during the time of reconnaissance' (Hamm 1991:5)[45]. It was not about the usage or reorganisation of a already existing (musicial) art of the proletariat. The latter one was not yet existing and was comparable to a tabula rasa, which form first needed to be developed and stuffed with content. The aim was

... the creation of new music for the people, composed by the 'scattered and unsystematic' music for the masses. Coordinated and systematized by qualified persons, which have undergone a specific political and professional training, the music is afterwards given back to the mases, explained and popularised, until they recognize this new product as their own self (Hamm 1991:9)[45].

Besides the since the twenties at a russian model orientating revolution songs, this (creation) shows specifically in the transfiguration of yangge (literal: rice planting songs). In a broader meaning the name refers to partly comical-erotical dances, songs and vaudeville-alike performances in north China, which are performed by amateurs and peasant artists during the New Years festival ad especially during the lantern festival (Holm 1984:13)[46]. The with masses-mobilizing political messages stuffed "new yangge" were not only an essential part of the propaganda for the 'new society' (Holm 1984:33)[46], but also further became the 'main cultural and political expression of the Yan'an government; (an expression), that influenced many other aspects of music production' (Wong 1982:126)[47].[48]

Due to lacking technical prerequisites before 1949 revolution songs, operas, dramas, etc. could only be distributed orally and in form of handbills or by professional ensembles in rural areas (Manuel 1988:225)[4]. At the same time trying to build up a relationship with the masses, the rural population was encouraged to compose new songs. Won Ho Chang states about the radio programme, which was sended since August 1945 by the in a tempel errected 'Yan'an Xinhua Broadcasting Station' ca. 30 kilometer out of Yan'an:

The station broadcast news, bulletins on the war, officials announcements, and art and literary programs. The latter at first consisted only of revolutionary songs and mouthorgan music played by announcers. Because the broadcasting room was quite small and there were no recording devices, musical programs could be aired only by assembling choruses and orchestras outside the station and transmitting from there. It was not until later, that the station began to play a small number of records on a hand operated grammophone (Won 1989:152)[49].

Hereby it had been about, among others, the works of Chinese musicians and composers Nie Er (1912-1935) and Xian Xinghai (1905-1945), which also today still have are model roles and influenced at that time the works of many art and culture creators. Nie Ers most famous composition is the in spring 1935 for the patriotic movie Feng yun er nü (Sons and daugther in a rough time) composed song Yiyongjun jinxingqu (March of volunteers). The 1932 by Tian Han written lyrics were dedicated to the volunteers, that fought in the Mandschurei against the Japanese aggressors (Yang 1982:26)[25]. The song became very popular during the anti-Japanese resistance war and is the national anthem of the PRC since 1949:

Arise! All who refuse to be slaves!
Let our flesh and blood become our new Great Wall!
As the Chinese nation faces its greatest peril,
All forcefully expend their last cries.
Arise! Arise! Arise!
Our million hearts beat as one,
Brave the enemy's fire, March on!
Brave the enemy's fire, March on!
March on! March on! On![50]

Revolution songs and 'Music for the masses'

Everything, that Mao loved, became popular, nationwide, over
night, by the state-controlled media.[51]

With the founding of the People's Republic of China (October 1st 1949) begun all-embracing extend of state control on all areas of the entertainment sector. Radio and television transmissions increased dramatically, as well as the production of movies, LPs and lyric books (Manuel 1988:22)[4]. Regarding recording medium, i.e. Schellackplatten (lapian), one was dependent on the stocks of the confiscated Schallplattenwerke. The significance of the assembly of a functioning recording medium industry expressed itself not just in the fact, that the Shanghai Schallplattenwerk 'Great China' (Dazhonghua changpianguang) was confiscated three days after the liberation of Shanghai, May 29th 1949, and was renamed in Renmin changpianguang (Schallplattenwerk of the People) (Mei 1989:4)[52]. Already on June 4th 1949 the Jiefang Ribao (Liberation Daily) reported from Shanghai, that the first produtions were going to be finished within two days.[53] The integration of smaller existing record companies led to the fact, that Renmin advanced to the only record producing and distributing institution in the PRC. The with vim conducted acquisition of production ressources accelerated the afterwards starting production of records and made it thereby possible to transmit the previously in Yan'an composed songs, such as e.g. Dongfang hong (The East Is Red), Meiyou Gongchangdang jiu meiyou xin Zhongguo (Without the communist party there is no new China), Zanmen gongren you liliang (We workers have strength) via radio in the whole nation. Furthermore it was now possible to export different compositions and songs for propaganda use into Chinese-speaking countries outside of the PRC.

Based on the fact, that 'revolutionary' was passsed for 'modern' and Western (classical) music was rated as, in contrast to Chinese music, more modern and more 'scientific', the adoption of Western models started (related to harmony, intonation, orchestration). The state media broadcasted both Chinese and Western E-music, modified folk music and the new styles of mass and revolution music, which gained in that extend popularity from the new relative class-less society, in which they were allowed to be taught, propagated and performed. The mainly on compositions of Nie Er and Xian Xinghai orientating and many musical elements combining 'synthetic folk songs' were often condemned by purists, Western observern and critics of the CPC as artifical and sterile (Scott 1963:139-145)[22]. Even Mao was not satisfied with this product and made a plea for the 'campaign for the improvement on the area of literature and art', after which the speeches of Yan'an were needed to be studied for two months 'to check attitude and thoughts on whether and how far they were penetrated by capitalistic, feudalistic or imperialistic ideas' (Mao Yurun 1991:106)[54].

Following the new orders, large orchestra works came into being, which took in folk and mass music in the style of Tschaikowski and Rimsky-Korsakov. However the influence of capitalistic entertainment music was still noticeable, as an article with the title 'Prevent, that jazz music appears in our life' in the magazine Renmin Yinyue (Music of the people) suggests in 1956.[55] The content not only illustrates the progressing influence of Western music and the by parts of the Chinese population sensed (but to be avoided) entertainment character of the dance music, but also the massive policy of state cultural bureaus. It doesn't surprise, that critical voices on the peak of the 'Hundred-flower-movement' (May-July 1957) also discussed the topic music. Criticism on the advised guidelines was not wished for and, so the words of Mao Yurun:

The time was serious: I had to keep my mouth shut in order to live safely in our 'new society' (Mao Yurun 1991:111)[54].

With the end of the 'Hundred-flower-movement' the Schlager, jazz music (jueshi yinyue) and yellow music were finally cast out of the country and existed from now on only in Taiwan and Hongkong. The aspired concept of mass music seemed reached. At the same time it was nearly paradox, that from now on, i.e. after the economical disaster of the 'Great leap forward' and the following famine (1960/61), before each congregation or assembly the song Shehuizhuyi hao (Socialism is good) had to be sung (Mao Yurun 1991:114)[54].[56]

Socialism is good, socialism is good,
in socialistic countries workers have a high reputition.
Reactionists were knocked down,
the imperialism ran away with eingekniffenen Schwanz.
The people of the whole country unites,
and created for the assembly of socialism a giant wave,
created a giant wave.

The communistic party is good, the communistic party is good,
the communistic party is the good leader of the people.
What is said, will be done,
with a full heart and full conscious
it (the party) earns merits for the people.
Follow the communistic party with all your strength,
to correctly build up the giantic fatherland, correctly build up.

The banning of popular 'light' music forms was accompanied by the search for concrete forms, appearances and distinctive characteristics of a national music culture. Judging on an article of the magazine Renmin Yinyue from 1958, the new and final formula herefore looked as following (Kraus 1989:108)[57]:

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As general as the term 'Western professional technique' was interpretable (and as it was going to remain), this formula excluded the in future most important criterium for the judgement of music, in particular the 'healthy', ideological and political 'clean' lyrics. By far more precise seems the statement of Mao Yurun:

As long as, what was sung and praised, served the proletarian class, Mao or the communistic party of China, we were encouraged. Regardless whether it was absurd, crazy, bizarre, fantasical, unbelievable or illogical (Mao Yurun 1991:104)[54].

Albeit the mass media were in the firm grip of the state and a formula for the appearance of music seemed to have been found, this statement (above) indicated, that alongside other art forms, music would remain a controversial topic. One example therefore is the 1963 conducted, at first on orchestra compositions focussing, 'campaign against Debussy and against music without title'. It was assumed that bourgeoise composers tried to hide their class character by not titling their works (Kraus 1989:172)[57]. This several years lasting dispute is the result of the initiative of Yu Huiyong, member of the 'culture group' of the privy council. He argumented that the European classical music of the 18th and 19th century was in close connection with the there arising bourgeoise, which made a lingering of above mentioned formula in some way impossible (Kraus 1989:171)[57]. Further disputes arose 1964, as followers of 'light music' expressed themselves for the entertainment character of music (yinyue de yulexing). Vehemently critized in an article of the Renmin Yinyue (1964) the discussion ended with a victory for Jiang Qing, the wife of Mao Zedong, and the propagating of the 'modern revolution opera' (gemin xiandai xi)[58] This development reached its peak during the cultural revolution (1966-1976), as under the directing of Jiang Qing from November 1967 onwards only the eight model operas (yangbaxi)[59], the 'text and thoughts' of Mao setting to music 'citation songs' (yulu ge) and the revolution songs, were allowed to be distributed, performed and broadcasted. The new 'model culture' underlaid a concept, that even though not originated from Confucian heritage, can still be ascribed to a certain traditionally-handed down belief of human's nature. Rudd states here the belief in the adaptability and perfectionability of the human nature and (he) also (states) the conviction, that humans are equipped with a varying degree of moral knowledge and skill, but are in general attracted by the 'good' (Rodd 1991:273)[60]. To define and to predetermine the latter one has always been in the interest of reigners - so also here. The in this sense shown educational benefit of art and culture became the top assessment criterium, whereby at the same time also form, content as well as the social applicability of art were clearly defined. The ubiquity and dominance of revolutionary music forms shaped thereby not only the programmes of public stages, but also (the stages) of state television, in which e.g. in 1970 in the event main news 18 out of a total of 26 minutes of broadcasting time were underlined with a the thoughts of Mao reflecting through-passing text line, while at the same time Dongfang hong (The East Is Red) served as background music (Won 1989:213)[49].

That the here practised cultural one-sidedness was accompanied by vehement discussions and controversies, could only be revealed to public after the cultural revolution. Deng Xiaoping however shall have remarked already before the downfall of the 'Gang of Four' (1976), that the 'revolutionary mother works' hinder the development of literature and art. Furthermore it was more and more difficult to sell tickets, for as there was nearly nobody who hadn't seen the works already before. Even Deng Xiaoping remarked: 'I applaud the theater reform with both hands, but I don't like to see these works anymore.' (Eberstein 1983:336)[61].

Looking at at least in the beginning visible enthusiasm of the componists, the creative transfiguration of folk songs and the versatility of the in that time produced revolutionary music styles as well as their distribution and presence in the daily life of the people, so one has to name the for the masses created music by all means as 'popular' or rather as 'made popular'. But it (the music) is also the product of a mass culture, at least in such a way, that it was produced in massess and was 'available' everywhere accoustically. However it differs from a 'Western' understanding of popular music in the way, that it (the music) was neither part of a commodities management nor aimed it primarily at an urban audience. The most important difference is therefore, that its (the music's) popularity was not the result of market economical decisions, but is rather ascribed to a synthesis of ideological pursuit and bureaucratic control of the mass media. Thereby the consequently on the feelings for the revolution, for the CPC and for Mao Zedong aligned and increasingly one-dimensional character of the revolution music negated as well the individual wishes and longings as the generation gap of its listeners. It was deemed to unite the masses through this music form, by building upon that they could identify sometime with the there (in the music) articulated aims.

If we try, despite the mentioned differences, to allocate one of the 'three' in the introduction mentioned ways of application of popular music to the 'popular' revolution music, so strikes the change out, which this genre was submitted to. The at the beginning against the governing system aiming and for political and social change composed and used emancipatory music form of the revolution song adopted more and more the characteristica of the first category. The eventually hegemonial-conservative application served both the distribution and the legitimacy of the ideology of the reigning class and had to fulfill the task, of maintaining their position by exclusion of all other music styles. For China this way of application can hardly be called 'new', for it invoked - as previously mentioned - on a in traditional Confucian thinking based tradition and art perception. Relatively stronger than Western music, Chinese music, regardless whether it be a folk song, an opera or an instrumental composition, was understood and used by the reigning elite as a carrier of moral, political or national messages.

Music was in the Confucian understanding far more and at the same time far less than art, as we understand it here and today. Far less, as it was practised as a beautiful skill, in the same way as educated ladies produced superb embroideries. Far more, as it was a decisive means of princes to excercise government, i.e. to influence the people in a good way, to guide and so to guarantee peace and satisfaction (Marchev 1982:5)[62].

On a more detailed inspection of this traditionally handed-down and taught music perception one notices, that the pure entertainment nearly no importance is attached to. Officially music was seen either as a high art, which to learn only was granted only a few chosen ones, or as a carrier of political messages. It (music) was therefore an important instrument of government, which was also understood as one and 'listened to' as one. This belief in the power and potency of music was inevitably accompanied by a certain fear of this art form, because it can not only excercise 'good influence' in the meaning of the government, but can also used as a potent weapong against the state. Both is not only a question of lyrics, but also of the title, which often contains a (hidden) indication on the correct way of listening and interpretation. Its (the title) missing deemed dubious and was the initiation of executing the previously mentioned 'campaign against music without title'.

This tradition of practice-oriented single-minded composing and producing of music corresponds with the habit of a accordingly-orientated reception and offers an explanation for the not deniable popularity of revolutionary mass music. With the exception of 'yellow music', which charm and attractivenes was based in the New, the Unknown, the Wicked and thereby also in the Forbidden, all so far mentioned examples should be understood as part of the tradition.

These under 'normal' conditions entirely functioning, even though sometimes disturbed, interactive processes were overworked during the cultural revolution. The in that time practiced cultural one-sideness and the following disappointment on the discrepancy between the 'sung' propagated values and the actual lived realtiy let lower the trust both in the CP and in the message of the revolution music. In the so originating cultural vacuum also the music had to loose importance with the downfall of maoistic theories, because 'without political function music was for many people only of little practical value' (Kraus 1989:184)[57]. With this background one has to see the devotion to the since 1978 the country-flooding songs from Hongkon and Taiwan, which started to fill like a strong rain the left-behind cultural desert (wenhua shamo) with new life, content and emotions.

The 'New Age' (xin shiqi)

The 'New Age' (Xin shiqi) started with a later as 'Beijing Spring' termed optimistic euphoric mood, in which a rather liberal political climate existed after the arrest of the 'Gang of Four' by Hua Guofeng, the at that time vice president (October 6th 1976). The rehabilitation of Deng Xiaoping (July 1977) rose expectations on a quick solving of respective problems and encouraged thousands of Chinese in December 1978 'to put their thoughts in words, put their words on paper and stick their papers on the walls, so that it could be read by all persons passing-by' (Spence 1990:660)[63]. Confirmed by this unknown freedom, to express one's own opinion on the 'wall of democrazy', and the entend of the on the 3rd plenum of the 11th party congress of the central commitee of the CPC on December 22nd 1978 concluded opening up to the west, first demands for democrazy were formulated, the so-called 'fifth modernisation', in parallel to the officially announced politic of 'four modernisation'[64].

Already six years earlier did the first Gangtai music[65] enter the country, i.e. during the time of the 'campaign against Confucius and Lin Biao' (Jin 1988a:16)[66]. The songs first were spread among intellectual adolescents, which started in the time of the 'Beijing Spring' with covering of these and the composing of own 'soapy songs in folk music style' (min'ge fenge de shuqing gequ) (ebenda)[66]. At the same time state-distributed song books circulated, such as 'Learn from Dazhai: Selected folk songs', which propagated learning from the model brigade 'Dazhai'[67], to take the spirit before the cultural revolution up. Other song collections, such as e.g. 'Taiwan ah! Treasure isle of the fatherland', assured a promising future, by pretending to reflect Taiwans wish (?) for a reunification with the mainland.[68] Without wanting to judge about the popularity of these publications, it can nearly be called irony of fate, that the in the tradition of 'yellow music' developed gangtai music would from now on be of significant importance for the musical developmend on the mainland. It not only predetermined a certain standard, but also rung in already at the beginning of its wide-spread appearance in 1978 the first phase of the in the PRC produced tongsu music[69], out of which soon a "tongsu song fever" (tongsu gequ re) developed (Cheng 1988a:4)[70].

The cause for this 'fever' is based in mentioned cultural desert, as well as in the wish to become a part of the international community by 'absorption' of foreign culture. Popular music, offered in a relatively easy form of consumption, seemed for many adolescents the ideal medium, to satisfy this desire. At the same time its renewed appearance and the enthousiastic reception of this message show a relation to the time before 1949, whereby Adornos thesis, that popular (light) music is phenomenom, 'that becomes a adding yet at the same time irreversible fact, which tenacious existence alone already proofs its right', seems to be proven in a certain way (Adorno 1992:35)[71]. But the fact, that its existence even now was not accepted as inevitable, but rather portrayed itself as the continously changing result of constant disputes of ideological, economical and new-class specific interests, is going to be articulated in the next chapters.

The ideological revaluation of popular music

On the in the euphorism of the 'Beijing Spring' in December 1978 stated criticism on several party members, among others also Deng Xiaoping (Schell 1988:252)[72], and the there phrased demands for democrazy, followed a phase of disillusion, in which the party expressed their uncertainty in dealing with questions of art by adhering to the previously mentioned Yan'an speeches of Mao Zedong.[73] As a result it was deemed to adopt and to study the 'positive things' of the West (e.g. technology, medicine), but to ignore the bad ones. The adequate judgement on things still behoved the CPC and its respective specialists. Through this the practical adoption of Dengs articulated promise in 1979, that art in the 'new age' also might serve means of entertainment and aesthetic pleasure, became a difficult venture for art and culture creating persons.[74]

In the year 1980 the dispute about the in chapter 2.1.2 discussed 'yellow' song 'When are you coming back?' revived in numerous articles and was transferred to the present time including its immanent problems.[75] Liu Xue'an, composer of the song, however was rehabilitated after respective self-criticism. He stated 1980 in the Beijing Wanbao as following:

The unhealthy elements of the lyrics reflect my at that time mistaken approach to life. Afterwards the song was utilized randomly by different persons. This was not in accordance with my original intention, but the thereby developed putrid consequences still let me feel a deep pain.[76]

Popular music in those years was now interpreted as the inevitable result of a at that time immoral society and, as previously mentioned, was deemed in 1981 as a product, which aim it was, to 'tranquilize the will to fight' for the construction of socialism and the 'four modernisations'. Therefore the from Hongkong and Taiwan into the country coming mimi zhi yin (kitschy pop songs, schamltzy songs) were immediatelly categorized as in the tradition of 'yellow songs', not only due to the lyrics, but also due to its way of singing (changfa), and were associated with the previous 'behemoth' Shanghai and were characterized in march 1981 by the Renmin Ribao as following:

The songs of Hongkong and Taiwan are the product of a malformed society of capitalism. Albeit there are som folks and homeland songs among them, they are content-wise rather negative, decadent, and of primitive emotional mood and of vulgar cliches consisting.

Zhang Shan, among others responsible editor of the magazine Caoyuan gesheng (Songs of the steppe), came to a similar conclusion in his 1980 published article Guanyu liuxing yinyue (About pop music):

Music in its essence is a part of the capitalistic folk culture and the bourgeoise uses this music as a means and trickery of pleasure, to dull youth. They achieve that the youth ignores the severe and important problems in society (Zhang 1990:176)[77].

At the same time there was consense in the circles of experts, 'that the emotional songs (shuqing gequ) occupy an important position within the musical compositions and are needed by humans', as 1980 on a symposium for music and composition (yinyue chuangzuo zuotanhui) was stated as well.[78]. Furthermore it is stated:

'Emotional songs' express the feelings of the people, i.e. the revolutionary feelings, the 'healthy' feelings and the beautiful feelings or people. Love songs (aiqing gequ) are only a part of the 'emotional songs'. The workers of music (yinyue gongzuozhe) have the responsibility, to point out the healthy and unhealthy things to adolescents.

Liberal voices started now, to engage themselves for a differentiated and between 'healthy' and 'unhealthy' distinguishing approach to songs. One event in this development was the 'Concert of Taiwanese songs' (Taiwan gequ yanchanghui) on January 11th 1981, during which twenty 'university songs' (xiaoyuan gequ) and folk songs (min'ge) were performed in the with 18 thousand seats sold-out 'Capital Stadium' (Beijing shoudu tiyuguan).[79]

With the increase of the the nation-flooding gangtai music and its pressure, which it forced upon 'people own' productions, rose also the requirements on selection criteria. In the against bourgeoise thoughts from the capitalistic West aiming 'campaign against mental contamination' (1982/83) the range of the dispute about pop music showed up clearly, as it (pop music) was heavily critized next to foreign literature and movies. To enlighten the people and to prevent a in many places noticeable bourgeois liberization, the folk music publishing house in Beijing issued in 1982 a brochure with the title 'How do you recognize pronographic songs', in which the points of criticism, i.e. obscene lyrics and style of singing were explained examplatory on various songs.[80]

The fact that in expert circles one not only thought in such strict categories, but rather cared for a realistic assessment of the situation, can be read from the words of the director of the culture department in Shenyang, who articulated his opinion on the 'Chinese symposium about light music' (Zhongguo qing yinyue zuotanhui) as following:

Light music became eventually to a blossoming flower in our music garden of hundred followers (yinyue baihuayuan). It is already a part of our musical cultural life of our people, which one cannot imagine to be not there. Its existence is an objective fact and not changable by the will of any person. If people praise it, it is good; if they fight it, it is also good. Light music however is going to develop according to its own laws (ziji de guilü).[81]

The solution for this problem was seen in the idea, that, 'in order to develop the art of light music, one has to analyze the psyche of the adolescent listeners, understand them and have to help them.'[82] The adolescent audience however seemed only slightly interested in state support, (it) orientated iself in the cities rather on the 'American way of life' respectively on the with it related associations such as e.g. dance events and disco music (disike yinyue). At the same alongside the state-owned a more or less private music and entertainment industry started to establish itself, (an industry) that increasingly owned own venues and offered income opportunities for professional singers and 'spare time singer' (yeyu gexing). Because this advancing 'disco boom' was not stoppable with mere words, the official side found itself forced to use harsher measures and during the 'campaign against mental contamination' they closed in Shanghai in November 1984 without further ado 84 out of 136 dance halls (Delfs 1985:49)[83]. A young female shoe seller, who earns on a regular basis as a 'spare time singer' in a five-member musical group a few Yuan extra, says only a year later:

If the audience wishes by chance a few forbidden songs, you just politely refuse. The songs of famous Deng Lijun from Taiwan are allowed, only specific songs, such as Peach blossom' or When are you coming back?[84] and a few others are not allowed to be sung, such as I am a new (female) Chinese. Apart from that few songs everything is allowed. I have a stable job, otherwise I would pursue my sining more seriously, it's just fun. But why should I give up my job? In case, that they are going to forbid singing once again, what then? (in: Zhang Xinxin and Sang ye 1989:112)[85].

Singing offered the chance of combining joy and earnings for life, (a chance) of which employees of state-owned companies and 'for work waiting adolescents' made use as well as teacher Lin, who already at the beginning of the eighties in the province Guangdong was one of the first, who owned a tea house with a music program (Zhang and Sang 1989:115)[85].

Despite the fact that the culture bureaus were following that development closely it could not be prevented, that the previously ideological problems became less and less important due to the economical changes. The decline in state subsisdies for cultural projects forced respective institutions more and more to act according to the principle of supply and demand. The latter one was also felt in state-owned media, which were forced to integrate Western programms into their broadcasts, in order to not loose their customers. So already in 1982, the American media company 'CBS-Productions' was able to sign contracts with the state-owned TV station (Zhongyang dianshitai), (contracts) in which CBS earned determined broadcasting times for advertisements of American products in exchange for American soap operas and cinema movies (Schell 1988:343)[72]. Albeit the state-owned media's hands were still tied, they made efforts to realize a marketing of entertainment based on the new taste of the audience. Hereby official guidelines had to take a back seat and the role of the state was reduced to controlling and assessing what was deemed 'healthy' for the people. Further it was complicated, due to the fact, that this work was not restricted to a government-level anymore, because the 'age of electronics' (dianzi shidai), in which more and more people want to 'sing by themselves and have fun' (zichang zile) (Cheng 1988a:2)[70], had spawned a meanwhile large number of amateur musicians. Accompanying this development rather positive economical companion events were among others the fact, that the Shanghai factory for cultural articles of daily use between 1983 and 1984 sold more than 200 thousand guitars (Tan 1986:31)[86].

It was also in the year 1984, in which regarding the assessment of pop music two, both in experts' circles and in public, different positions were articulated, between which there seemed to exist no way in the middle. The conservative side was critisized, which rejected everything without closer analysis, as well as the commercial and modern side, 'which adapts to the new psyche of the massen and which trades with any low vulgar, the consumption habits of our listeners not conforming, things' (Song 1988:27)[87]. The 'reformers' admitted that 'healthy popular songs are absolutely appropriate to serve the masses' and restricted their criticism on the Western-values-distributing and parroting 'parrot style' (yingwu zuofeng) (Liang 1988:34)[19].

The basis for the critique is the in socialismed embedded conviction, that culture of any kind has to reflect the values and ideals of the party and thereby of the people and thereby (culture) practices its educational and stability of the nation maintaining function. It had been already pointed out that this conception is not new, but refers to a conception originated in Confucianism. Transferring this on the varies forms of entertainment music however ignores the character of this music and seems therefore inappropriate, if not even impossible.

One of the ironies of modern Chinese politics is that the Confucian marriage of music to statecraft has endured, with the revolutionary Communist Party as its vehicle. Revolutionary Communists and Confucians both believe that art can induce political change, a view at odds with the bourgeois music in the West (Kraus1989:29)[57].

A the new situation adapted to, officially from above mentioned ideals and thereby also from the in Yan'an formulated guidelines distancing attitude was for the first time in 1985 stated by the general secretary of the central commitee of the CPC, Hu Yaobang:

I am the opinion, whether a song or a melody is good, depends upon how the masses evaluate it. This evaluation is the only guiding principle for good or bad of music. What means 'popular music', songs have to be popular, should we fear if possible popular music? (...)

If one degrades or rejects 'pop music' without previous analysis, then this is only an expression of ignorance. On the contrary it has to be noted positively, that only songs, that are broadly distributed within the masses, are actually good songs. About this view is by the leadership of music and art circles and by the respective leading comrades at the ideological fronts, no decision made yet, now it is time, to make that decision ... (Simons 1985:66)[88].

Therefore Hu declared oneself in favour of the dealings with pop music, which despite significant political events reminard dominant until today: Pop music is - with all its human-being-relaxing characteristics - in the first instance to be judged positively. Negative forms of appearances are a result of bad education as well as lacking (financial) stimuli and therefore it is necessary to keep them away from the media. In other words, pop music can, may and has to be popular, i.e. to orientate itself at the wishes of the masses; the decision on its distribution however remains still in the hands of the party.

Result of this ideological revaluation was, that 'healthy' pop music from now on could be placed in the service of the party and could be supported. Encouraged by big festivals of the West, e.g. 'Live Aid' and 'We are the world' (the former one couldn't be received in the PRC), a number of events and competitions was organised in the PRC, (a number) which was meant to server simultaneously the selection of good music and a better image in foreign countries. It only slightly astonises that during events such as Dangdai qingnian xi'ai de ge (By today's youth loved songs; 1985 and 1986) most songs could be named as 'relatively deep rooted' (bijiao shenhou) in the (own) population, i.e. (they are) only slightly influenced by the Gangtai music (Song 1988:26)[87].[89]

However the in the public depicted exaltation for tongsu music is far away from a realistic assessment of the situation. The there (in the public) displayed 'popularity' is not revealing anything on sales figures of tapes, because it (the popularity) is a result of causal production interrelations of this music, as well as the desire for fame and recognition of a small group of professional composers, musicians and male and female singers (Jones 1992a:66)[20]. Control and censorship of production and content is indirectly steared through access to media. Songwriters and composers have to, in order to have success and further assignments, compose a song in such a way that it can overcome censorship in the first instance. The latter one is often depended on individual persons and connections (guanxi). If there is no guanxi, then approval for a production is aimed at 'whether the development of pop music has a positive or negative impact on socialism' (Cheng 1988a:4)[70]. Despite of the here shown relations, the official basic attitude towards popular music has changed dramatically at the end of the eighties: The for over thirty years between 'good' and 'evil' deciding 'weapon function' (wuqi gongneng) of art and music in the means of a battle for socialism is not in the center of attention anymore. It (the weapon function) could be replaced by a by the people demanded 'entertainment function' (yule gongneng) (Liang 1988:34)[19], whereby the contents were still mainly bound by the guidelines of Yan'an.

The here described development shows the transfer from the former hegemonial application of popular musical forms towards a negotiating one. Due to a new situation of life, social polarization and diversification a swerving from these old ideals is in a certain way unalterable. Music and culture are recognized as effective safety valve for a modern industrial society, in order to, following the state guidelines, be used both for means of entertainment and for the interests of government.

The advancing distribution of popular musical forms however was not only a result of ideological legimitation of its existence. The official acceptance of thsi genre is a by many factors forced and negotiated result, that had to come true, because 'people produced and consume that music, to which production and consumption they are capable of' (Frith 1992:70)[90]. In the following chapters this theory is examined. At the end is the result of the negotiating application, i.e. a from all at this process participating persons tolerated and accepted musical compromise.

Zou Fanyang, previously chairman of the Shanghai radio and TV bureau, described the situation after the cultural revolution as following:

I returned to the radio station in 1979, when all the people who had been falsly accused had been rehabilitated, and was named Chairman. But the station was in ruins. Studios were destroyed, converted into offices. The past ten years had left only nothingness. Live broadcasting had been prohibited, so that announcers could not hold conversations with the audience. Only pre-recorded programs could be aired (Hamm 1991:25)[45].

From a musical point of view, the radio stations were forced after the cultural revolution to refer to already before ten or more years produced material.[91] Music for the masses in the style of revolutionary songs, of folk songs or a symbiosis of both, the 'revolutionary folk song' (geming min'ge), was aired. "In this time imported stereo systems and tapes were rare, merely a few young people went through the city with their stereo recorders to show off' (ebenda). Due to this reason a constantly expanding gangtai music black market developed, which was nourished by imported, donated or smuggled tapes from homing Chinese (that came back from foreign countries), business men, relatives, tourists, etc. This 'trade' happened in the beginning 'half openly'[92], i.e. the government pronounced neither for nor against this. The exaltation for the so called haiwai yinyue ('Overseas music'; foreign music)[93] went so far, that Japanese radio recorders became the most sought after import good, even though its price of ca. 200 Yuan represented nearly a threefold monthly salary (Tie Cheng 1990:8)[94].[95] Furthermore for a normal gangtai stereo tape ca. 20-50 Yuan per piece had to be paid, which at that time was about the tenfold price of a PRC tape (ca. five Yuan) and thereby nearly amounted to a monthly salary (ebenda). The previously mentioned young female shoe seller and 'spare time singer' reported in the middle of the eighties of her brother:

He runs a small trade business with original tapes and LPs, at the beginning for sure secretly; now he owns a license, but it is not his job. In 1977 he sold original recordings of the Taiwanese female singer Deng Lijun, also of others, but mainly of her. It happened sometimes, that the bought tapes were not original. At the beginning there is only one song recorded, but afterwards its empty or only very bad music. For us, such tapes were 'aborted'. Therefore we first always had to listen to the whole tape (Zhang and Sang 1989:114)[85].

The development of a private tape market and the rush on foreign products reveal two characteristics closely related to pop music. First the previously mentioned aspect of escape. Furthermore it can be read from this situation, the desire for privacy and individualism, because after ten years cultural revolution and heteronomy, the radio recorder offered the chance to decide by oneself and independently about music respectively entertainment. Otherwise music now really became a commodity that one could 'own'. The tape was/is the requirement for being able to make an individual decision about the 'possession' of a song. At the same time the experience of music reaches a new level, because

we also feel, that we possess a song, a specific concert and the respective artist. By taking the music 'into our possession' we make them part of our identity and built them into the perception of ourselves (Frith 1992a:81)[90].

With this step, which faciliated the reification of music to a part of one owns self, removed the audience from the state-owned music monopoly. The losses of the cultural revolution and the often only hardly understandable political fluctuations (in the direction of politics) of the government have as well let down the trust in the state-owned media, as have they raised the exaltation for everything foreign. The newly won autonomy had the result, that '... I never listen to the radio. There were only folk songs. I only used the tape part' (in: Brace and Friedlander 1992:117)[96]. This practice seems to have been followed by not only a few, because Mao Di (1988:28)[97] states, that already in 1982 during meetings with friends even in rural areas the tape recorder was never forgotten, to listen to the new tapes that someone brought from the city.

The contemporaneously rise of gangtai music, tapes and tape recorders let become the One a synonym of the Other. The three modernisations resembled a reachable and thereby aspirating modern, i.e. foreign, life style, which made it nearly impossible, that someone owned a tape recorder to play revolutionary songs or traditional folk music. The exaltation and the desire to express oneself through this new medium, showed two years later, as it was started to organize the first concerts of several amateur tongsu singers in many provinces (ebenda)[97].

The next stage were double tape recorders (shuang kaji), with which help the possibility was given to copy complete gangtai tapes of Deng Lijun, Feng Feifei, Xu Xiaofeng or Qing Shan. Within this by copies of copies flooded music market, the music industry of the PRC tried to tackle the new challenges by publications of covered gangtai versions and a selection of 'healthy' original works. In parallel these tapes served as teaching material for musicians, composers, male and female singers, for whom through the sheer copying of foreign 'sounds' the maximum possible success could be achieved. Due to this reason the establishment of private record companies was already approved in 1978, to give experienced technicians and musicians incentives to produce the quality of gangtai music matching, but content-wise 'healthy' mainland music.[98] This tongsu music called genre could as well as some accepted originals and copies of the gangtai music be distributed via the state-owned media, it accoustically orientated itself however at the by foreign countries set standard. The propably due to quality and content reasons regressing sales figures of own PRC productions forced a rethinking and restructuring of the market, which producers and sales persons could less and less count on government subsidies (Tie Cheng 1990:8)[94]. So from the middle of the eighties original gangtai tapes were increasignly available in record stores and aired in the media. At the same time individual radio stations started broadcasting Western pop music, which however was not being able to be bought before 1988 (Friedlander 1990:66).

The contineous expansion of the market can be read off the facts, that the private possession of tape recorders in the PRC grew from 80000 (1979) to up to 68 million in 1987. In parallel the official production volume of music tapes increased from 6 million in 1982 to 102 million in 1987 (Zeng 1991:25)[99].[100] Due to this development Yang Xiaoxun conducted in winter 1988/89 a first attempt to gain insight into the forming of musical taste and the different kinds of consumption with the help of a empirical study.[101] The result was a significantly from the contents of radio broadcasts differing picture. In a three-stage-popularity-scale 370 of the questioned rated pop music on the first rank and only two persons voted for mass songs. The by Yang conducted examination allows for the following summary:

In Yang's survey, 78.7% of the respondents indicated that they owned cassette tapes of music. Of this number, 45.4% said that their collections were made up chiefly of copied tapes, 23.5% reported owning a mixture of original and duplicated tapes, and 31.1% indicated that their collection consisted chiefly of commercially-purchased tapes. A very rough estimate of the total number of cassette tapes made in a year, including commercial, pirated, and home taped items, might be 350 million (Hamm 1991:33)[45].[102]

At the end of the eighties the distribution of the walkman started, which not only allowed, to ignore the in many places in the public erected speakers of the state-owned media, but to also make the opinions of neighbours and roommates unimportant.[103] He stood for the musical freedom, here, now and everywhere. 'What the walkman supplies is the opportunity of a border', so Rey Chow, 'a border between me and the world, so that I, as in the moments of uninterrupted sleep, can disappear as a music playing listener' (Chow 1990:145)[104]. The desire for a border shouldn't be small in the constantly individualising society, support by the fact, that the individuum is given only a limited space for licing for one's own development. Rey Chow comes to the following conclusion:

If music is a storage place for the emotions generated by cultural conflicts and struggles, then we can, with the new listening technology, talk about the production of such conflicts and struggles on the human body at the press of a button. In the age of the walkman (...), the emotions have become portable (Chow 1990:144)[104].

With this step, musical entertainment and consumption have detracted itself from state control and everybody could listen to, what he or she likes. At the same time, feelings became 'transportable', (feelings) which time and location of manifestation - if at all - could be determined by the individuum.

The here displayed development explains the at reform politics, technic and external influences bound upheaval of the Chinese music industry. However in this context it should not be overlooked, that the distribution of tape technology also in Western countries led to a democratizing of the music market and thereby to decisive changes (Middleton 1990:78)[105].[106] Ten years after the cultural revolution the state-owned entertainment industry was not solely responsible for the music taste of listeners and consumers. Through the changed market conditions on the 'new long march' of Deng Xiaoping the people had increasing influence on the contents of radio broadcasts and tapes.

Foreign pop music

Old Deng (Xiaoping) rules by day,
Little Deng (Lijun) rules by night.[107]

The first 'new' songs, that reached the mainland, were the during the 'folk song movement of the universities' (xiaoyuan min'ge lanchao) in the middle of the seventies in Taiwan originated xiaoyuan gequ (campus songs). After long lasting consumption of mainly American pop music, caused by the deployment of US-American troops in Taiwan, students and musicians started at that time for the first time with composing of own pop music, i.e. describing of their feelings, situation and desires (Ah Hong 1991:12)[108]. The in the whole country by many competitions and events accompanied movement could maybe not match American pop hits in popularity in Taiwan, but has been for many of the since 1984 prevailing musicians the start of their career (ebenda)[108]. The music resembled a mixture of American country music, love song and Chinese folk song, whereby the vocals were often accompanied by a piano or a guitar, in the style of Donovan or Bob Dylan. Especially popular in the PRC was the 'campus song' ganlanshu (橄榄树) (The Chinese olive tree) (Xia Hong 1991:5)[109].[110]

Chinese Original Lyrics[111] English Translation


The at that time in the PRC already known Taiwanese female writer San Mao expresses in her lyrics 'of travelling to far away locations' LYRICS CHECK!!! the desire of many mainland Chinese, because that opportunity and the experiencing of the world behind the borders of their own country is a hope closely related to the reform politics. Furthermore the olive tree symbolizes peace, which, related with the here lived feeling of freedom, describes the harmony coming from the lyrics.

In parallel to that lyrics were written, that expressed the bonds with the mainland, such as e.g. Long de chuanren (The disciples of the dragon) by Hou Dejian:[112]

Chinese Original Lyrics[113] English Translation[113]

龍的傳人 (李建復)







Descendants of the Dragon (Chien-fu Li)
The Far East has a river (jiang)
Its name is the Long River (Chang Jiang)
The Far East has a river (he)
Is name is the Yellow River (Huang He)

Although I don't often see the beautiful Chang Jiang
In dreams, my spirit often swims in the Chang Jiang's water
Although I don't often hear the strength of the Huang He
The violent surges and waves are in my dreams

The ancient Orient has a dragon
Its name is China (Zhong Guo)
The ancient Orient has a group of people
They are all descendents of the dragon

I grew up underneath this huge dragon's feet
After growing up, I am a descendant of the dragon
Black eyes, black hair, yellow skin
Forever, forever, a descendant of the dragon

One tranquil night a hundred years ago
The deep night was the eve of a great change
The sound of firearms shattered the tranquil night
In all directions, songs of suffering are over-tolerable swords

A great many years, the explosions still rumble
A great many years are yet a great many years
Huge dragon, huge dragon, your brightly polished eyes
Forever, forever, your brightly polished eyes

Huge dragon, huge dragon, your brightly polished eyes
Forever, forever, your brightly polished eyes

Hundred years ago, i.e. when foreign powers 'wakened' China by force, idyll and harmony were disturbed. The giant dragon still has not yet reacted, is going to rub his eyes for a long time, because he has slept too long. 'But we are all one people, diciples of the dragon, (people) that love him (the dragon) and dream of its beauty', in such a way, can the hope-giving message, which grabs the listener as a 'disciple' from his/her loneliness and makes him/her to a part of a larger community, be summarized.

The at that time most influencal female singer was Taiwanese Deng Lijun, who in an instant won the hearts of the mainland and who is meanwhile probably the most famous Chinese singer worldwide (Gu Linxiu 1995:9)[114].[115] Deng, born as the daughter of a Beijing Opera singer 1953 in Taiwan, participated already in her youth at singing competitions and TV shows, acted in several movies and started 1973 with vocal lessons in Japan. There a year later she published her first LP. Her 'Collected works' (Deng Lijun zhuanji) were 1977 eventually also released in Taiwan (Hu 1988:332)[116]. She not only sang the in chapter 2.1.2 cited 'When are you coming back?' and other songs of the twenties and thirties, but also took the tradition musically up with her new songs. The contents deal very cautiosly with the topic love or describe her feelings and the life in Taiwan. So e.g. Xiaocheng gushi (Small town stories).[117]

Chinese Original Lyrics[118] English Translation[118]


Small town (has) many stories
full of joy and happy
If you come to the little town
(you will) especially harvest a lot
(the town) looks like a picture
(if you heard it, it) sounds like a song
The scape of life, truth, kindness, and beauty, here already includes of
Talking (people) talks, chatting (people) chats
The small town story is really not bad
Ask your friends come together (with you)
(to) the little town to be quests.

It has been especially the songs of Deng Lijun, which, similar to the 'Beatles' in the West, were coining a whole generation of adolescent Chinese. As it is going to be pointed out during the course of this paper, there shouldn't be today nearly one teenager in the PRC, who does not own at least one tape of Deng Lijun.[119]

The here by me (Andreas Steen) chosen examples can and shall only give a small impression of the music, which with the beginning of the opening up policy influenced the music market in the PRC. Similar songs were written by Luo Dayou, Tongnian (Childhood) or Zhang Mingmin (Hongkong) with Wo de Zhongguo xin (My Chinese heart), which were already loved for their new soundscape and their totally different contents. Furthermore were the pop songs from Taiwan and the cantopop from Hongkong[120] already for a long time popular in other Chinese societies, and why should they it be not also here? Furthermore are they the product of a totally commercial pop culture and have no connection with any political party. In the contrary, the contents are rather personal, so that Thomas B. Gold even states, that the lyrics and words of this music have given the mainland Chinese a new vocabulary, which enabled them for the first time to express own emotions (Gold 1993:914)[39]. Another point is the troublefree accessibility, which transferred to the listener via the relatively easy consumable medium, a in the own language wrapped touch of 'foreign' and 'modern'. The hereby indirectly transported impression of participating at a global activity raised at the same time the aspect of escape, because these mainly romantic songs offered the possibility, to escape the reality of the unlikely harder life respectively the with the opening up policy connected uncertainties in the PRC.

From the mid of the eighties the sphere of influence of this music was extended by professional distribution and sales. Especially leading hereby proved Taiwanese musicians Tong Ange and Qi Qin (Xia Hong 1991:5)[109]. The first one (Tong Ange) sings mainly love songs and could sell up to ten million music and karaoke tapes after several concerts in the PRC (Gold 1993:918)[39]. Qi Qin earns our special attention, because his first LP Lang (Wolf) carried the first rock elements into the PRC and because it fascinates adolescents in the whole country since 1985. Some songs, such as e.g. Waiman de shijie (The outer world), Jiu ge taiyang (Nine suns) and Lang (Wolf) are even today still part of every karaoke evening and are sung on university campuses.[121] That the image of the lonely but bravely in endless freedom roaming wolf is still relevant, demonstrates the live recording of a concert in Beijing (1990), where only the announcement of the song is accompanying by roaring applause:[122]

Chinese Original Lyrics[123] English Translation[124]


I am a wolf from the North
Walking in the vast, boundless wilderness
The wind sweeps over the north region
Slowly the yellow sand passes my path
I can only gnash my cold teeth
and howl once or twice
not for anything
only for the legendary beautiful grassland

The by a slow and powerful rhythm carried lyrics expressed the situation of many adolescents, who roam in the rapidly changing world lonely and bravely, at the same time however are waiting perseverely and prudent on the moment of grasping, i.e. on the moment of their chance. The analysis of rock lyrics in chapter IV shows, that this 'condition' respectively this feeling remains, even though it is described there in a changed form.

Concerts of Western music groups

Another factor, that decisively influenced and pressed ahead the interactions with pop and rock music in the urban centers, were the first concerts of Western music groups. Starting with the country rock singer John Denver, the traditional Irish music playing band 'The Chieftains' and the sounds of synthesizers of Jean-Michel Jarre, whose concerts in the first half of the eighties were received with curiosity and interest in Beijing and also in other locations in the PRC (Schell 1989:109)[125], at the beginning of 1985 started with the concerts of English pop group 'Wham' a real pop euphorism.

The real target group was informed even without advertisement. Already on the afternoon before the ticket sales opening the first young Beijinger was waiting in front of the ticket sales booth - with a book and a bottle of schnaps. Until the ticket sales started on the following morning at ten o'clock, over 2000 further pop fans accompanied him to purchase tickets for a price of five Yuan: a tenth of a monthly salary, but in regard of the music tape that was given away with the ticket, a fair price (Simons 1985:66)[88].

'I haven't understood anything, they should have at least presented the English lyrics' (ebenda)[88], so one of the critics, which however didn't prohibit the concert of becoming a success. Important for it (the success) were also less the more or less for the audience not-understandable lyrics or the band 'Wham' themselves, but rather the opportunity to participate at a Western concert and to enjoy the relative freedom of rollicking dancing.

Tours of the of five women consisting American band 'SheRock' followed, who performed in front of ca. 125000 people in autumn 1986, and of the surf rock duo 'Jan (Berry) and Dean (Torrence)' in november the same year, whose 'surf hits' content-wise were far away from reality in the PRC, but which were known to most adolescents already through the state-owned media.[126] The duo performed among others in the with 18000 seats equipped Shanghai stadium, in which due to 'not permitted dancing' rough disputes with the security personnel happened. The displeasure about the fact, that not even this freedom was permitted, connected to the at the same time from Hefei arriving news of student riots and let also in Shanghai students march on the streets, to critize both the slowness of political reforms and the corruption within the party and to demostrate for an improvement of living and studying conditions (Schell 1989:224)[125].

In the following year, 1987, the in Cologne based German rock band 'BAP' could hold a few concerts in the PRC. Officially and consciously invited as demonstration of the opening up and reform policy, certain conflicts were also here hardly preventible. So e.g. the expression 'Rock'n'Roll' on concert posters had to be overglued with the more general sounding term 'modern music'. Far more provocative were however the during the announcements of band leader Wolfgang Niedecken happening 'translation mistakes', with which the greeting 'Guten Abend Peking' (Good evening Beijing) was changed into the Chinese rule 'It is forbidden to stand up, to dance or applaud loudly during the concert' (Seibert 1987:47)[127]. Therefore applause was, despite outsold tickets, diffident and orderly, even though after the third concert in Beijing enthusiastic adolescents shouted "Bappo, Bappo" on the streets and played imaginary guitar solos (ebenda:50)[127]. A twenty years old student states his impression after the concert as follows:

Partly BAP was a rock band, as I have imagined it before the performance, because I had been a little informed about rock music, partly it wasn't, because they have created an atmosphere, in which they have lively expressed the feelings of humans in the modern society, e.g., how isolated one can feel. Therefore BAP went down very well with me. I find it very sad, that the song lyrics weren't explained in Chinese, because they are according to my opinion very important for the understanding of rock music. The audience knew nearly nothing about the works and thoughts of BAP, therefore during the concert there was sometimes unexpected 'applause'. As many Chinese are against the old due to the opening to the outside and think it is right to try out new things, they ask: 'Why are we not even allowed to experience what the humans on the other side of the earth have done?' Therefore many people are happy about the concert of BAP, even though they know little about BAP and though they cannot judge the value of rock music. Not the contents of the songs, but rather the quick rhythm and the movements of the players have inspired the audience to clap hands and to shout, because they have never experienced such a thing before (Schlenker 1988:45)[128].

Others, which preoccupied themselves with the German lyrics beforehand, were touched, how openly social problems, e.g. unemployment, family and youth problems were addressed in the music and (they) say: 'Said simply, they have given words to the feelings of the folk masses and have expressed our thoughts' (ebenda)[128]. It seems grotesque, when a Chinese adolescent claims such things from a German rock band, but it is also not (grotesque), as at least the urban youth of the PRC saw itself confronted more and more with a situation comparable to the Western capitalism.

These examples shall be enough to point out the two significant modernisations: The first pop music came from Chinese speaking foreign countries, and the with it (pop music) transported and distributed feelings were content-wise and musically new, i.e. modern, so that they could fill without problems the by the cultural revolution left value vacuum. After this music was familiar, the 'light' Western music joined, for which to be accepted it was less a problem of musical strangeness, but of incomprehensible lyrics. So in urban centers they danced to pop music and also rock music of e.g. 'BAP' let reveal the message and that at the message bound feeling of honesty even without awareness of the lyrics. The music accompanied, supported and fostered the with the economical opening up starting social change, change of values and a movement up to individualism, which started to show up in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and other big cities. This 'process of change happens faster within the youth and in cities and developed areas with a higher degree of social mobility' (Heberer 1994:87)[44] and should also in the following years be restricted to the urban centers. The Chinese audience, familiarized by decade-long learning of revolution songs to attribute a higher value compared to the West to the lyrics of any musical form, felt further attracted to Chinese language music, but could at the same time reach, through its insistence, significant changes in this area, bound to the framework of the political possible.

The new genre: tongsu music

"Nan Zhu (Fengbo), Bei Li (Guyi)"[129]

The composition and distribution of tongsu music is subdivided in three development phases (Cheng 1988a:4)[70][130] Under the influence of gangtai music the first generation of male and female Chinese pop singer could break through already in 1978 in the PRC, among others Su Xiaoming, Cheng Lin, Chen Xiaocen, Zhang Ying and especially the two women Zhu Fengbo and Li Guyi.

The first highlight of her musical career had been already in the sixties for Zhu Fengbo (born 1935), when she sang the text parts of Xi'er, a white haired girl, in the revolutionary (model) ballet 'The white haired girl' (Baimao nü) and gained the attention of listeners through her elaborte singing technique. At the end of the seventies she suceeded in integrating differing musical elements of that time into the new tongsu music and thereby creating a new musical style, that was neither 'indigenous' (tu), nor 'Western' (yang). It was a mixture of Chinese folk song, Chinese singing techniques and Western sound, respectively instruments, partly connected with CPC and Mao Zedong focusing lyrics. In her songs, Zhu Fengbo gave the revolutionary ideals a new optimistic and refreshing sound, as it e.g. expresses itself in the songs Qingcha ge (Please drink the tea):[131]


Furthermore she sang songs about her home country feelings, landscape, nature and love, which popularity often was bound to the medium film and surpassed increasingly the above mentioned song.

Not less influencal and not less coining this new musical style, were the songs recorded by the versatile committed and talented female singer Li Guyi. One of her best known and partly controversial songs was Xianglian (Love for the home):[133]


The song illustrates the after the cultural revolution cautious and shy fumbling to the expression of own individual emotions. Soppy and emotional at the same time, here is in the focus the for many listeners non unknown situation of a long lasting separation of home country as well as of spouses and thereby (is in the focus) life in one's own imagination. Thereby the lyrics are ambivalently formulated, to distribute a 'love for the home country' superceeded message. The 'home country' is addressed directly and personified several times via a 'you', whereby it quasi represents a (love) partner. In those years however it was thought to state the love to the CPC, respectively the 'four modernisations', which also explains the popularity, the innovative character of the song and the official criticism addressed to it.

A result of the increasingly content-wise and musically versatile tongsu music was the rise of a ideological more restrained form of the new revolution song and the 'dying' of its mass music character. Its in many circles of the population sensible popularity, so Tan Bingruo, ruled out in the short term the gangtai music in 1979 to 1980, because 'the Chinese audience could get anything from too honey-sweet words (tianyan miyu) and monotonously whispering of lovers (qingyise de qingqing wowo), after talking about and thinking of love was not permitted for years' (Xia Hong 1991:5)[109]. But it must have had also other reasons for this development, such as the propaganda against gangtai music and the definitely lower price for tapes of PRC-own tongsu music.

In the second phase (1981-1984) following the pressure of the into the country flooding foreign music tapes and the TV broadcastings of Hongkong TV series, a more intense preoccupation happened with tongsu music (Cheng 1988a:4)[70], which distribution from now on also was brought forward throught the publishing of respective lyrics books.[134] Similar important was, that in the time from 1979 to 1983 more than nine million foreigners visited the PRC and that the ca. 11000 from their foreign country studies homing Chinese students certainly took along some 'Western' pop and folk music (Spence 1990:703)[63]. In those years everywhere began the production of tongsu music and it was increasignly harder tried to match the foreign idol. Composers worked jazz, disco and rock elements into the music and gained a higher degree of professionality, by trying to more and more take care to match music and lyrics to the image of the male or female singer, in order to raise chances for success (Cheng 1988a:4)[70]. In parallel to this numerous music competitions were organized to offer amateur musicians and singers a performance stage. It was meant to sort the wheat from the chaff and to find new talents respectively start for the developing music market. Zhang Hang, who won in 1984 during a guitar competition in Shanghai the first price, recorded afterwards a tape, which was sold in the short term more than 700000 times. The boom of the tape market had made him probably to the first Chinese pop star. Due to his romantic songs and a few scandals he incurred displeasure of the Chinese government, got arrested for a short time and was a performance ban. A short time later, he was - according to rumours - anyway allowed to give a concert in Wuhan (Delfs 1985:40)[83]. These kind of extravagances were rare exceptions and could only slightly shake the state-owned music machine at the beginning, even though they have to be seen as harbingers of a new development.

The government-commited musicians abided by the official concept of tongsu music and increasingly started, under the influence of the 'campaign against mental pollution', to include party political propaganda with the musical elements of several national minorities. An example is the song Wo dang ah, qing'ai de mama (My party ah, beloved mother), whose melody is taken from the music of Uighurs of the province Xinjiang (Song 1988:27)[87]:[135]


The irreversibility of the distribution of popular music is getting clear in the third phase (1984-1987), in which tongsu music and gangtai music likewise extend their sphere of influence, slowly get on the way from city to the rural areas and there, supported by concerts and numerous musical competitions, start to rule out other (traditional) forms of entertainment (Cheng 1988a:5)[70]. Also content changed. Have they been at the first half of the eighties still about a rural idyllic mood (tianyuan qingdiao), so from ca. 1985 onward they reflected a slowly increasing awareness of the present (dangdai yishi), by expressing the tension and confusion cause by the fast rhythm of a modern life (Song 1988:27)[87].

The last phase of tongsu music let into the at another point described xibeifeng (Northwest wind). The 'Northwest wind' shows, how the borders of the negotiating and accepting application of popular music forms are brought forward and are eventually crossed. Paul Friedlander sees here the beginning of the so-called 'Beijing-centered newer value Chinese popular music', which through increasignly individual elements and points of view means the averting, if not even the refusal of revolution music and state-produced folk songs (Friedlander 1991:67/68)[136]. Without going into more details of the development of tongsu music it shall be noted, that except of a few famous exceptions, such as e.g. Liu Huan, Wei Wei and Mao Ahmin, both the sales figures of mailand tapes and the audience figures of concerts, that are not 'added' by male or female singers of Hongkong or Taiwan, were declining in the long-term (Tie Cheng 1990:8)[94]. Tongsu music, i.e. 'Northwest win', and rock music meet in the in 1986 by Cui Jian sung and composed 'new value' song Yiwu suoyou (I have nothing, several translations apply). The song is the result of a at the same time to the previously said and next to the public happening process, which is going to be described in the following chapter.

See also

Abstract concepts

People and Bands

Songs and Movies

Remarks by the translator

General remarks

The above translation of the original works were excercised in the best means according to the principle: as close to the original as possible, as free as necessary. The German and English language are tricky ones and whereas in one language there are often numerous words describing a single situation in the other there is plainly one, none or two with not exactly the right meaning. I recommend every able person to also read the German original to catch all respective connotations, but hope that for those not able to read German I have offered a valid English translation.

Therefore, in case of variations between the English translation and the German original, the German original prevails.

In case you have found a better option for a specific translation situation, please do not hesitate to contact the translator.

Referencing and Footnotes

Within the original text two ways of referencing had been used:

  1. Footnotes, in which certain aspects of the text had been explained in prosa form
  2. Citing including referring source information, e.g. (Feigon 1994:127)

For the later form of referring additional references have been included in this translation to make sure, that the referring literature and its bibliographical citation is reflected (for the complete book is spread over several pages). Therefore the original numbering of footnotes is not the same one, as the the reference numbers below.

Additions to the original works

All images, pictures and other graphical works have been added to the translated version by the team of RiC to further utilize the original works and efforts by Mr. Andreas Steen in transferring his work to the digital age and the benefits of digital contents. Examples for the additions are linked articles to complete song lyrics or the portraits of mentioned key persons and bands.


Restricted / Protected Article

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Full Copyright of the original text with Mr. Andreas Steen, translation is not an official version but thought to help understand the original text. Translation was conducted in agreement with Mr. Andreas Steen and Full Copyright applies for it as well. Copying, reproduction, distribution or use in commercial ways is not allowed.


  1. Benjamin, Walter (1963): Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit, Frankfurt a.M.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Frith, Simon (1988): Music for Pleasure - Essays in the Sociology of Pop, Cambridge.
  3. Frith notes, that the sales figures for LPs in the USA 1927 fell from 104 million to only 6 million, which caused a reduction in produced 'phonograph machines' from 987000 to 40000 (Frith 1988:16).
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Manuel, Peter Lamarche (1988): Popular Musics in the Non-Western World: An Introductory Survey, New York.
  5. As own research showed, the companies EMI (Baidai) and RCA (Shengli) were especially successful in Shanghai. Further was the LP producer ODEON (Gaoting) representated by the Hamburg company 'Behn, Meyer & Co.' (Tianli yangxing). German companies, such as e.g. 'Siemens China Co.' and 'Melchers & Co.' exported radios, LPs and music instruments to Shanghai (Schmidt 1938:53).
  6. Translator's note: The Treaty of Nanking or Treaty of Nanjing, signed 29 August 1842, was the unequal treaty which marked the end of the First Opium War between the British and Qing Empires of 1839-42. For more info, please see Wikipedia on the Treaty of Nanking.
  7. Staiger, Brunhild (1989): 'Shanghais politische und kulturelle Entwicklung in historischer Perspektive', in: Institut für Asienkunde (Hg.): Shanghai - Chinas Tor zur Welt, Hamburg:18-51.
  8. Bartke, Wolfgang (1985): Die großen Chinese der Gegenwart, Frankfurt a.M.
  9. Chow Tse-Tsung (1960): The May 4th Movement - Intellectual Revolution in Modern China, Cambridge.
  10. The reason for the May 4th movement was the announcement of the decision, stated in the contracts of Versailles, that the previously German concessions in China would be handed over to Japan.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Liang Mingyue (1985): Music of the Billion: An Introduction to Chinese Musical Culture, New York.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Wang Yuhe (1992): Zhongguo jindai yinyuejia pingzhuan (Critical descriptions of life of musicians of the new time), Beijing.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Wakeman, Jr. Frederic (1995a): 'Licensing Leisure: The Chinese Nationalists' Attempt to Regulate Shanghai, 1927-1949', in: Journal of Asian Studies, Jg.54, Nr.1:19-42.
  14. Discussion with members of the 'senior jazz band' (Laoren yuedui) in the Peace Hotel, Shanghai, May 20th 1992.
  15. Part of the song Ye Shanghai (A night in Shanghai, ca. 1938), music: Chen Mei, text: Fan Yanqiao; released on the CD with the same name, Vol. 1, EMI-Hongkong, 1993.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Wakeman, Jr. Frederic (1995b): Policing Shanghai 1927-1937, California.
  17. The expression shidai is equal to the nowadays common shimao = fashionable
  18. Su Xia (1981): 'Tantan liuxing yinyue ji qita' (Discussion about pop music and others), in: Renmin Ribao, 25.3.81:5
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 19.5 19.6 19.7 Liang Maochun (1988): 'Dui woguo liuxing lishi de sikao' (Thoughts about the pop music history of my country), in: Renmin Yinyue, Nr.11:28.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Jones, Andrew F. (1992a): Like a Knife - Ideology and Genre in Contemporary Chinese Popular Music, New York, Ithaka.
  21. The orchestra went already in southeast asia on tour in 1928 under the name Zhonghua gewutuan (Singing and dancing ensemble of China) (ebenda).
  22. 22.0 22.1 Scott, A.C. (1963): Literature and the Arts in Twentieth Century China, Garden City.
  23. Corruption, drug traffic and a high crime rate of this industry branch were a fact, that led also the GMD from 1934 onwards to try to antagonize it with its initiated movement 'New Life' (Xin shenghuo) (Wakeman:ebenda).
  24. 24.0 24.1 Zhongguo yinyue cidian (Lexika of Chinese music):118.
  25. 25.0 25.1 Yang, Schuman Chuo (1982): Twentieth-Century Chinese Solo Songs: A Historical and Analytical Study of Selected Solo Songs Composed or Arranged by Chinese Composers, Dissertation (1973), Printed in 1982 by University Microfilms International, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
  26. In Geming gequ ji (revolution song collection), Shanghai, 1929.
  27. See also the study of Carlton Benson, who describes, how the opening song (kaipian) was extracted from the traditional form of story telling (tanci) for advertising purposes, in order to use it via radio for the sale of fur coats, soap etc., but later on also for the propaganda of the GMD (Benson 1995).
  28. Harris, Kristine (1995): ' The New Woman: Image, Subject and Dissent in 1930s Shanghai Film Culture', in: Republican China, Jg.20, Nr.2:55-79.
  29. Xin nüxing, Lyrics: Sun Shiyi; Melody: Nie Er. The lyrics are composed of six verses, whereby the hereby mentioned one is the sixth one. See Zhongguo jinxiandai yinyueshi jiaoxue cankao ziliao (Class and teaching material for the new and newest music history of China), Beijing, 1987: 250-252.
  30. Script:Fang Peilin
  31. Yangguan Sandie (The three repetitions of the Yanguan melody): Known song of the Tang dynasty, according to a verse of the poet Wand Wei. Also here one finds a line, which is stated, that the noble do justice to the wine and do not notice, that the enemies are marching into the city on the West street (yangguan dao). See also Zhongguo dabaike quanshu: yinyue (Chinese big lexika: Music):781-782.
  32. 32.0 32.1 Zhu Tianwei (1990): 'Guanyu Heri jun zailai de qianqian houhou' (About the whole story of 'When are you coming back?'), in: Zhou Xuan gequ yibai shou (One hundred song of Zhou Xuan), Shanxi jiaoyu chubanshe, Taiyuan:225-232.
  33. Melody: Liu Xue'an (sometimes also known under the name Yan Ru); Lyrics: Bei Lin.
  34. Due to this composition Liu was sentenced as a 'law deviant' during the campaign 'Let hundred flowers blossom and hundred schools argue with each other' (1957). After he had to endure 'nearly not endurable pains' during the cultural revolution (1966-1976), he eventually was rehabilitated after respective self-criticsm (see chapter 2.4.1) (Zhu Tianwei 1990:230). Liu Xue'an died in 1986.
  35. See herefore also: ' Heri jun zailai shi shenmeyang de ge?' (What kind of a song is 'When are you coming back?'), in: Renmin Ribao, May 2nd 1981.
  36. All About Shanghai - A Standard Guidebook, (first edition 1934) Hongkong, 1986:59.
  37. Salisbury, Harrison E. (1985): Der Lange Marsch, Frankfurt a. M.
  38. Lyrics: Qiu Ziye; Melody: Lin Mei; on the CD Ye Shanghai 3 (A night in Shanghai , Vol. 3), EMI Hongkong, 1993.
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 Gold, Thomas B. (1993): 'Go with your feelings - Hongkong and Taiwan Popular Culture in Greater China', in: The China Quarterly, Bd. 136:907-925.
  40. For the movie production of that time applies, that in periods of rigid political control more attention was paid on the element of pure entertainment. To distribute the songs on the market, would have been even more difficult, so that they were produced, but could not officially be offered. For the topic movie, please see especially Leyda 1972.
  41. 41.0 41.1 Schmidt-Glintzer, Helwig (1990): Geschichte der chinesischen Literatur, Bern, München, Wien.
  42. Translation of a citation according to B. Mittler (1994:36). From Yue ji (Recordings about music), comapre Li Ji: Das Buch der Riten, Sitten und Gebräuche, Hg. Richard Wilhelm, Köln, 1981:71-95.
  43. 43.0 43.1 Mao Zedong (1963): 'Reden auf der Konferenz für Literatur und Kunst in Yan'an, 1942', in: Mao Tse-tung - Ausgewählte Schriften, translated from Chinese by Tilemann Grimm, Frankfurt a. M.:164-175.
  44. 44.0 44.1 Heberer, Thomas (Hg.) (1994): Yaogun Yinyue: Jungend-, Subkultur und Rockmusik in China - Politische und gesellschaftliche Hintergründe eines neuen Phänomens, Münster, Hamburg.
  45. 45.0 45.1 45.2 45.3 45.4 Hamm, Charles (1991): 'Music and Radio in the People's Republic of China', in: Asian Music, Jg.22, Nr.2:1-41.
  46. 46.0 46.1 Holm, David (1984): 'Folk Art as Propaganda: The Yangge Movement in Yan'an', in: McDougall, Bonnie (Hg.), 1984:3-35.
  47. Wong, K.F. (1984): "Geming Gequ: Sogs for the Education of the Massess', in: McDougall, Bonnie (Hg.), 1984:112-143.
  48. From a combination of yangge and Western opera techniques developed among others the genre of 'new opera' (xin geju), which popularity started with the success of the even today still famous and popular song Baimaonü (The white haired girl, 1945). Herefore see also Hung 1995:232.
  49. 49.0 49.1 Won Hochang (1989): Mass Media in China - The History and the Future, Iowa State.
  50. In: Nanwang de gesheng: geming lishi gequ jingcui (Unforgettable singing: The best songs of the revolution history), Shanghai, 1992, 196-107.
  51. Mao Yurun, professor for composition at the music conservatory in Shanghai (1991:109).
  52. Mei Yi (1989): 'Dui Zhongguo changpiang shiye de zhuyuan' (Congratulations to the record companies), in: Yinxiang Shijie, Nr.10:4-7.
  53. Renmin was renamed in 1955 into Zhongguo changpianguang (China Record Corporation). See herefore also China Record Corporation 1949-1989.
  54. 54.0 54.1 54.2 54.3 Mao Yurun (1991): 'Music After Mao, its Background and Aftermath', in: Asian Music, Jg.22, Nr.2:97-125.
  55. Within the article it was among others critized, that 'in some places there are even LPs with jazz music and the unhealthy 'light music' used as background music for dancing' (Zhang Jie 1956:49).
  56. Shehuizhuyi hao!, first and second verse, lyrics: Xi Yang, melody: Li Huanzhu, in: Nanwang de gesheng (Unforgettable singing), Shanghai, 1992, 350.
  57. 57.0 57.1 57.2 57.3 57.4 Kraus, Curt (1989): Pianos & Politics in China - Middle-Class Ambitions and the Struggle over Western Music, New York.
  58. See Cheng Yun 1988:2-6.
  59. The model operas consisted of five contemporary Beijing Operas: Zhiqu weihu shan (Winning the tiger mountain with tactical skill), Hong deng ji (story of a red signalling lantern), Qixu baihutuan (Assault on the White-Tiger-Regiment), Haigang (In the harbour) and Shajiabang (Name of a small town in the Jiangsu province). Further there were two dance dramas, Hongse nüzijun (The red women's battalion), Baimao nü (The white hair girl) as well as a symphony. See also Eberstein 1983:328ff and Rodd 1991:266ff.
  60. Rodd, Ellen R. (1991): 'Dramas of Passion: Heroism in the Cultural Revolution's Model Operas' in: Joseph, Wong and Zweig (Hg.) 1991:265-282.
  61. Eberhard, Wolfram (1983): Lexikon chinesischer Symbole, Köln.
  62. Marchev, Robin P. (1982): Musik im alten China, Zürich.
  63. 63.0 63.1 Spence , Jonathan D. (1990): The Search for Modern China, London, Sydney, Auckland, Johannesburg.
  64. Related to the areas of agriculture, industry, national defense and technology
  65. Chinese: gangtai gequ, from now on Gangtai music, consists of the syllables 'gang' (Xianggang = Hongkong) and 'tai' (Taiwan) and is the in the PRC common term for the there (HK, TW) produced folk, pop and entertainment music.
  66. 66.0 66.1 Jin Zhaojun (1988a): 'Qingnian liuxing yinyue chuangzuo qunti de xinli fenxi' (Psycho analysis of the composer colony of adolescent pop music), in: Renmin Yinyue, Nr. 8:15-17.
  67. The model brigade 'Dazhai' was founded by Mao Zedong and Hua Guofend in the province Hunan in 1964.
  68. Xue Dazhai min'ge xuan (Learn from Dazhai: Selected folk songs), Beijing, 1976. and Taiwan ah! Zuguo de baodao (Taiwan ah! Treasure isle of the fatherland), Beijing, 1977. The latter one contains among others sonds such as Taiwan ernü huainian Mao Zhuxi (The boys and girls of Taiwan commemorate Chairman Mao) and Taiwan yiding yao jiefang - zuguo yiding yao tongyi (Taiwan absolutely wants liberation - the mainland wants absolutely the reunification).
  69. Chinese: tongsu yinyue: from now on tongsu music. The term was developed by a 'old comrad' only in 1984, i.e. after the 'campaign against mental contamination' (Jones 1992a:19)<ref></ref>. He replaced the so far used term liuxing yinyue (popular music), to avoid the with this term associated relation to the pronographic 'yellow' songs of the time before 1949. Tongsu music is recognized as politically correct, contains a 'folksy' element and is only used for the in the PRC produced pop music, whereas the term liuxing yinyue with all its negative connotations is reserved for the gangtai music. Meanwhile this differencing is not seen so strict anymoe and especially in a colloquial context the term liuxing yinyue is preferred. A ideological 'neutral' term exists with the accoustical transliteration bopu yinyue (pop music), but which is only rarely used.
  70. 70.0 70.1 70.2 70.3 70.4 70.5 70.6 Cheng Yun (1988a): 'Zhongguo dangdai tongsu yinyue huanshilu' (An overview of the present tongsu music of China), in: Renmin Yinyue, Nr.2:2-6.
  71. Adorno, Theodor W. (1992): Einleitung in die Musiksoziologie, first edition, 1975, Frankfurt a.M.
  72. 72.0 72.1 Schell, Orville (1989): Discos and Democrazy - China in the Throes of Reform, New York.
  73. This also shows among others in a new edition of a speech of Mao Zedong (August 24th 1956): Tong yinyue gongzuozhe de tanhua (Explanation to the music workers), which was published on the first page of the Renmin Ribao on September 9th 1979.
  74. See also Robert Delfs (1985a:45-47), whose article reveals the consequences of these guidelines for the areas of art, literature and culture.
  75. In these years only in the Beijing Wanbao were in total nine articles published which had this song as a topic. See Zenyang jianbie huangse gequ (How do you recognize 'yellow songs'?), Beijing, 1982:48.
  76. In: Zenyang jianbie huangse gequ:46
  77. Zhang Shan (1990): Yinyue Sanlun (Essays on music), Hohot.
  78. See: 'Jianshe shehuizhuyi de, minzhu de yinyue wenhua' (Construction of a music culture of socialism and of the people)
  79. See: 'Taiwan gequ yanchanghui zai jing yanchu shoudao relie huanying' (The 'Concert of Taiwanese songs' was enthusiastically received)
  80. Chinese title: Zenyang jianbie huangse gequ, Beijing, June 1982.
  81. See: 'Qunzhong xi'ai qing yinyue - baihuayuan li yiduo hua' (The masses love light music - a flower in the garden of one-hundred flowers), in: Yancheng Wanbao, August 11th 1983.
  82. See: 'Zhongguo qing yinyue zuotanhui zai Shengyang bimu' (The 'Chinese symposium about light music' was ended in Shengyang), in: Zhongguo Qingnianbao, August 23rd 1983.
  83. 83.0 83.1 Delfs, Robert (1985): 'The Controversial Fame of China's First Rock Star', in: Far Eastern Economic Review, 26.12.1985:40.
  84. Two compositions from the thirties, which belong to the genre of 'yellow music'.
  85. 85.0 85.1 85.2 Zhang Xinxin and Sang Ye (1989): Pekingmenschen, München.
  86. Tan Bingruo (1986): 'Women tongshu yige shijie' (We are one world), in: Renmin Yinyue, Nr.5:30-33.
  87. 87.0 87.1 87.2 87.3 Song Yang (1988): 'Tongsu gequ de minzuxing' (The national character of tongsu music), in: Renmin Yinyue, Nr.6:26-28.
  88. 88.0 88.1 88.2 Simons, Stephan (1985): 'Wham! China Goes Pop', in: das neue China, Nr.2:64-67.
  89. Song states as an example the north Chinese folk song Shiwu de yueliang (The moon on the fifteenth day (of a month)).
  90. 90.0 90.1 Frith, Simon (1992a): 'Zur Ästhetik der Populären Music', in: PopScriptum, Nr.1:68-88.
  91. Discussion with Sun Zhongyu, employee of Dongfang guangbo diantai (Radio of the East) in Shanghai.
  92. Brace describes 'half openly' as a 'term used among mainland Chinese to describe and action or process whose political acceptability is not yet known' (Brace 1991:45).
  93. The collective name refers to all later from foreign countries imported musical forms.
  94. 94.0 94.1 94.2 Tie Cheng (1990): 'Dalu gexing, ni zenme le?' (Male and female singer of the mainland, what's wrong with you?), in: Yinxiang Shijie, Nr.8:8-9.
  95. The value of 200 Yuan represented at that time round about 60 DM. The here mentioned monthly salary of ca. 70 Yuan represented that salary of a university graduate. Normal workers earned half (plus several food and nutrition tag, which were handed out by the work unit).
  96. Brace, Tim and Friedlander, Paul (1991): 'Rock and Roll on the New Long March: Popular Music, Cultural Identity, and Political Opposition in the People's Republic of China', in: Garofalo, Reebee (Hg.), 1992:115-128.
  97. 97.0 97.1 Mao Di (1988): 'Zhigong yinyue shenghuo zhong de tongsu yinyue' (The tongsu music in the musical life of the worker), in: Renmin Yinyue, Nr.4:28-29.
  98. Here I (Andreas Steen) contradict Charles Hamm (1991:17), who assumes that the Chinese government wanted to support the import of 'Pacific Pop' with this decision.
  99. Zeng Suijin (1991): 'Un étude sociologique de la chancon populaire de la Chine contemporaine', in: World Beat - An International Journal of Popular Music, Nr.1:22-32
  100. Furthermore Zeng states, that the number of video and record companies rose from 1 in 1979 to 200 in 1988 (Zeng 1991:25).
  101. This study was the magister thesis of the at that time at the musical conservatory in Tianjin studying Yang. Out of in total 1150 questionaires, which were distributed in various schools, universities and factories in Beijing, he received 952 anonymous responses. Charles Hamm demurs that over 90% of the informants had received a university education and that the questionary was conducted in Beijing, where the media would resemble more likely the 'cultural strategies' of the government (Hamm 1991:29-32).
  102. This would mean, that the privatised and partly illegal areas of the music industry are meanwhile already producing within one year nearly half of that, what the China Record Corporation stated as their total volume after over forty years of production! See herefore chapter I 'Introduction'.
  103. I (Andreas Steen) have witnessed myself that this technical innovation was taken over especially enthousiastically in student circles. In a student dormitory usually six students live in a shared room during their whole study years.
  104. 104.0 104.1 Chow, Rey (1990): 'Listening Otherwise, Music Miniatuarized: A Different Type of Question about Revolution', in: Discourse 13.1:129-148.
  105. Middleton, Richard (1990): Studying Popular Music, Buckingham.
  106. Regarding the Asian area it should here referred to a in Indonesia conducted study by Martin Hatch. Also there, the development of tape technology resulted in the fact, that Indonesian commentators described the seventies as the suddenly most lively and fruitfull time of the younger music history of the country (Hatch 1983:51).
  107. A saying, which reveals the influence of Deng Lijun (Theresa Deng) at the end of the seventies, even though she wasn't allowed to hold a concert in the PRC (Gold 1993:909).
  108. 108.0 108.1 Ah Hong (1991): 'Li Zongcheng fangtanlu' (Interview with Li Zongcheng; Taiwanese composer and musician), in: Yinxiang Shijie, Nr.2:12-13.
  109. 109.0 109.1 109.2 Xia Hong (1991): 'Tan Bingruo tan liuxing yinyue fazhan de zhengjie' (Tan Bingruo speaks about the decisive point in the development of pop music), in: Yinxiang Shijie, Nr.4:4-5.
  110. Ganlanshu, lyrics: San Mao, melody: Li Taixiang, in: Taiwan xiaoyuan gequ xiangtu minyao (Taiwanese campus songs and local folk rhymes), Guangxi, 1982, 30.
  111. Gan Lan Shu (橄榄树) - Olive Tree, Lyrics by San Mao (三毛), Music by Li Taixiang (李泰祥), Performed originally by Chyi Yu (齐豫) in 1979. Lyrics taken from Dr. Herong Yang's Best Chinese Music
  112. Long de chuanren, lyrics, music: Hou Dejian, ebenda, 1.
  113. 113.0 113.1 Lyrics taken from Ting Dong Website
  114. Gu Linxiu (1995): 'Coverstory: Theresa Deng Forever', in: Sinorama, Jg.20,Nr.7:2-19.
  115. Deng Lijun died on May 8th 1995 in the age of 43 during her tour through Thailand due to an asthmatic attack (ebenda).
  116. Hu Sisheng (1988): 'Deng Lijun de chengminglei' (Deng Lijuns career), in: Deng Lijun geji (Deng Lijun song collection), Jinan:327-340.
  117. Xiaocheng gushi; lyrics: Zhuang Nu, melody: Tang Ni, in: Deng Lijun geji (Deng Lijun song collection), Cultural publishing house Shandong 1988, 19.
  118. 118.0 118.1 Lyrics taken from Chinesetolearn Website
  119. Here Deng Lijun shall not be further addressed. The interested reader shall be referred to the flood of Chinese language literature, which was published after her sudden death in 1995.
  120. The term 'cantopop' refers to the in Hongkong and South China used Cantonese dialect, which is in general to distinguished song-wise from the in 'standard Chinese' (putonghua, Mandarin) sund songs in Taiwan and other regions of the PRC.
  121. Karaoke, also Kala O.K.: A in Japan (literal: 'Orchestra without voice') developed and in the PRC very popular entertainment form, which at the beginning was practised only in therefore intended bars and venues, but increasingly also in private households. The buyable music video provides image and accompanying music, while the 'singer' (consumer) reads out respectively sings the at the bottom of the screen shown song lyrics and entertains listeners, mostly friends via an electronically amplified microphone.
  122. Among others on the LP: Qi Qin: Huangjin shi nian 1981-1990: China Tour Live (The golden ten years 1981-1990: China Tour Live), East Record & Tape LTD., Co., Taiwan, Taibei, 1994.
  123. Lyrics taken from Download Chinese Website
  124. Taken from a Sina blog entry
  125. 125.0 125.1 Schell, Orville (1989): Discos and Democrazy - China in the Throes of Reform, New York.
  126. The tours were organized by the in Santa Monica based company 'China Amusement and Leisure' of the in Shanghai born Tiffany Chu (compare Schell 1989:223).
  127. 127.0 127.1 Seibert, Evi (1987): 'BAP in China', in: Musik Express/Sounds, Nr.12:46-50.
  128. 128.0 128.1 Schlenker, Traudel (1988): 'Diese verrückte Rockmusik - Studenten in Beijing entdecken das moderne Lebensgefühl', in: das neue China, Nr.1:45.
  129. The at that time fairly popular saying 'Zhu (Fengbo) in the south and Li (Guyi) in the north' shall be addressed here to point out the already at this point of time the in the pop music visible differentiation in musical taste, i.e. the difference of north and south of the Chang Jiang (Yangtze river) (Cheng 1988:4).
  130. For a explanation of the term tongsu music please see a previous footnote.
  131. Zhu Fengbo: Yanchang gequxuan (Selected concert songs), Shanghai, 1984:6-8. See also Zhongguo cidai gequ jingxuan (Selection of Chinese tape songs), Xi'an, 1985:3-27.
  132. The Jinggang mountains are a rocky mountain range of 1200 to 1500 meters height, which separates Maos home province Hunan from Jiangxi. It was a area populated by bandits and poor farmers, when Mao retreated to that place with ca. 1000 followers on September 20th 1927 on the escape from troops of the GMD. Mao wrote here his first theories on military strategy, distributed the ideals of communism within the rural population and announced together with Zh uDe on May 4th 1928 the assembly of the fourth workers and peasents army (Salisbury 1985:33ff).
  133. Lyrics: Ma Qinghua, melody: Zhang Piji. On the tape: Yuanfen xianglian - Li Guyi: ershi nian gechang shengya jinqu (Vital question, love of the home country - Li Guyi: Golden songs of a twenty year career), Jiangsu Record Company, 1994.
  134. See e.g. Shuqing gequ xuan (Selection of soppy songs), Wuhan, 1980; Zhongguo shaonian gequ yuan (Selection of Chinese youth songs), Nanjing, 1981; Zhongguo cidai gequ xuan (Selection of Chinese tape songs), Xi'an 1985.
  135. Wo dang ah, qingai de mama; lyrics: Gong Aishu, melody: Ma Dianyin, in: Nanwang de gesheng (Unforgetable singing), Shanghai, 1992, 595.
  136. Friedlander, Paul (1991): 'China's 'Newer Value' Pop: Rock-and-Roll and Technology on the New Long March', in: Asian Music, Jg.22,Nr.2:67-81.