Anthology looks back on modern Chinese lyrics
CGTN

A four-volume anthology of modern Chinese lyrics was released in Beijing recently, including lyrics of 1,537 modern Chinese songs from 838 songwriters that were composed between 1902 and 2013.

The Chinese have a long tradition of recording historical events and social life in songs. And the anthology is part of a project to summarize the historical changes in the past century from a musical angle and to provide an alternative perspective to reflect on Chinese literature and history, according to Feng Yuan, vice-director of the China Central Institute for Culture and History.

The project, which was launched in 2014, is run by the Counsellor's Office of the State Council and the China Central Institute for Culture and History. The name of the project, A Hundred Years of Yuefu, comes from an ancient style of poetry that could be set to music and dance.

Wang Liping, a renowned Chinese music composer, speaks at the launch conference of the project. /Photo via China Daily

Wang Liping, a renowned Chinese music composer, speaks at the launch conference of the project. /Photo via China Daily

Dozens of musicians and editors, including those from Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan region, are part of the project. Its eldest participants are in their 80s.

The lyrics, related to social background, as well as life experiences of the songwriters, are part of the anthology.

Speaking about the anthology, Wang Liping, 78, chief editor of the anthology and renowned music composer whose representative works include 13 music pieces he created for the TV adaptation of the "Dream of the Red Chamber" in 1987, said, "We have stayed true to history."

Fang Wenshan, a famous Chinese lyricist, speaks at a press conference. /VCG Photo

Fang Wenshan, a famous Chinese lyricist, speaks at a press conference. /VCG Photo

A clear mind is needed to locate ourselves in history, said Wang, adding that "We want to get more people moved and encouraged and let them examine themselves and make a change."

Zheng Bonong, a consultant for the project and former editor-in-chief of Journal of Literature and Art, said that the project is very valuable because lyricists are worth more attention and higher status in the cultural field.

According to Wang, the team has already finished compiling the second part of the project, and a seven-volume chronological anthology of modern Chinese songs, including lyrics and music notations, will be published later this year.

(Cover: The anthology of modern Chinese lyrics. /Photo via China Daily)

Source(s): China Daily