Rediscovering Chinese Music (Cultural Extravaganza 2022)

Rediscovering Chinese Music (Cultural Extravaganza 2022)

Rediscovering Chinese Music (Cultural Extravaganza 2022) - All Events

ORGANISED BY : Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre

Rediscovering Chinese Music (Cultural Extravaganza 2022)

Programme Notes for “Rediscovery of Chinese Music” Online Concert

From 1950s to the 1970s, when Chinese music activities were in their infant stage in Singapore, due to the political climate and environmental factors, many related music scores were very scarce. Under the dilemma of extreme lack of music scores at that time, Chinese music groups or individuals would listen to record music and songs through notating scores, or attempt to arrange the music. They were self-taught by listening to records amidst the lack of teachers in musical instrument performance. In short, with full enthusiasm, they would not bow down to difficulties. This online concert is based on this spirit and initiated by the Singapore Cultural Medallion Recipient Mr Phoon Yew Tien, conductor Mr Mike Chiang and Mr Lee Hoon Piek.

This concert also attempts to re-connect the peers’ fighting spirit in those days. The repertoires presented are all from the “Classic music” that was popular and familiar in the Chinese music circle at that time. Therefore, in addition to striving for an authentic performance, the style of the concert also deliberately simulates the production of some Chinese music concerts in the olden days. The Concert includes ensemble, instrumental solo, and even vocal solo performances, in order to be as close as possible to the past years’ Chinese musical concerts both in atmosphere and style. This is also for remembrance and respect to the pioneers and predecessors of Chinese music in the past. The ensemble for this concert will be conducted by Mr Mike Chiang.


1) Ensemble: Guilin’s Landscape 桂林山水 

Notated by Phoon Yew Tien, “Guilin Landscape” was a typical small folk music ensemble in the 1950s and 1960s. When the recording of this piece of music appeared in the 1960s, the composer and the performers were unknown. The music fully reflects the beauty of Chinese instrumental music with euphemism and gentle tunes. The structure is simple, with a main melody naturally transposed within the traditional pentatonic scale. There is no significant development, but the natural and ingenious artistic concept made people envious of Guilin’s landscape………


2) Ensemble: Fisherman’s Song 渔歌

Notated by Phoon Yew Tien, the music was recorded in the same China/Art-tune vinyl record as in Guilin Landscape, composer and the performers of this piece were unknown. The content also seems also quite related to “the landscape”. The triple time undulating rhythm correlates to fishing boats floating in rivers and lakes, and the elegant melody makes us feel as if a looming fisherman’s song is heard from afar.


3) Gaohu and Guzheng Duet: Fishing Boat Singing Late 渔舟唱晚

Notated by Phoon Yew Tien, it was originally an ancient “Zheng” (Chinese long zither) music. This notated version is based on Yang Yinlin and Yao Yide’s recording around the 1960s. The music is divided into three parts: introduction, medium speed section, and fast section. The music will be performed by Liu Zhiyue on gaohu and Sophy Tan Suhui on guzheng.


4) Ensemble: Full Of Joy 喜气洋洋

Composed by Liu Mingyuan and notated by Phoon Yew Tien, the music is full of joy as its name suggests. It was generally named “Xi Yang Yang” in the Chinese records. However, the name “Xi Qi Yang Yang” was used by the familiar Art-tune brand and many reprinted records. In my memory of this music, I feel the name has a sense of age and intimacy. The music has many different versions, and this is a notation from China/Art-tune records in the 1960s.


5) Ensemble : Hometown Trip 故乡行

Notated by Phoon Yew Tien, it is similar in style to the popular “Blossoms” at that time, both composed by Deng Guisheng. However, the 4/4 beat medium speed melody of “Hometown trip” has more ups and downs and turns, which proves more fascinating.


6) Vocal Solo : My Flower 我的花儿

A Xinjiang folk song from China often heard in the 1960s and 1970s, arranged by Phoon Yew Tien. The music style is cheerful and lively. The original song was accompanied by piano, whilst this is accompanied by a Chinese ensemble group. This song will be performed by soprano He Miya.


你的名字多亲切 (You name is so intimate)

美丽的姑娘 (Beautiful lady)

一见你心花开放 (I feel delightful upon meeting you.)

美丽的姑娘我的花儿 (Beautiful lady, my flower)

我要欢笑欢笑哎呀呀 (I would sing and laugh whole-heartedly.)

你好比是那海洋 (You are like the ocean)

我是那海鸥 (And I am the seagull)

永远在海面飞翔 (Forever flying over the sea)

美丽的姑娘我的花儿 (Beautiful lady, my flower)

我要欢笑欢笑哎呀呀 (I would sing and laugh whole-heartedly)

虽然我们刚相见 (Even though we just met)

多情的眼睛 (Passionate is in your eyes)

一见你我就倾心 (I fall in love with you by the first sight)

美丽的姑娘我的花儿 (Beautiful lady, my flower)

我要欢笑欢笑哎呀呀 (I would sing and laugh whole-heartedly)


7) Vocal Solo: Spring Water Bends 泉水湾湾

This is a Cantonese song with lyrics written by Wang Jiyou, music composed by Yu Lin, and adapted by Phoon Yew Tien. In the 1960s, the Hong Kong Silver Star Art Troupe presented this impressive song. It expresses love for a distant lover. Divided into three sections, the gentle and lovely melody is deeply emotional. This song will be performed by soprano He Miya.


泉水湾湾哪 (The bending spring water)

清又凉啊哩 (Clear and cool)

姊姊妹妹洗衣啰裳 (A group of ladies doing laundry)

洗罢衣裳就去晒晾啰 (and drying the clothes after that)

乘着天上有好太阳啊哩 (While there is bright sunshine)


天上太阳明又亮啊哩 (The sun is bright in the sky)

人影波光同荡漾啊啰 (Shadows and waves rippling)

咁好姑娘又无爱郎啊哩 (Kind lady is without lover)

咁好清泉又无鸳鸯 (And the clear spring water has no mandarin ducks)


泉水湾湾哪 (The bending spring water)

清又凉啊哩 (Clear and cool)

枕上爱郎渠在哪方啰 (Where is my lover)

年年月月我空盼望 (For years I waited in vain)

谁人共我把山歌唱啰 (Who would sing the folk song together with me)


8) Ensemble: Picking the Tea Leaves 采茶歌

This is one of the incidental music pieces from the movie “Liu Sanjie” in the 1960s, composed by Lei Zhenbang and adapted by Phoon Yew Tien. The song is originally one of the radio recordings performed by the Chinese Orchestra of the People’s Association in the late 1970s. The cheerful rhythm vividly describes the scene of tea-picking girls at the mountain.


9) Pipa and Ensemble: Zhaojun Departed To The Frontier 昭君出塞

Arranged by Phoon Yew Tien, it is also one of the radio recordings performed by the People’s Association Chinese Orchestra in the late 1970s. The music is based on melody of the song “The Resentment of Zhaojun” and is written for pipa and ensemble. It depicts the sad departure of Han Dynasty Wang Zhaojun to the west fortress. The music is divided into three parts: introduction, medium speed section, and fast section. This piece will be presented by ensemble with pipa soloist Yan Yu.


10) Ensemble: Time for Apples Picking 摘苹果的时候 

Adapted by Phoon Yew Tien, it was originally a piece of incidental music from the 1970s Korean movie “Girls of Mount Kumgang”. The style is lively and lyrical, which was very popular at that time. The whole song is divided into three sections: fast, slow, and fast again. Looking back, the North Korean movies at that time were as attractive as the “Korean Wave” TV series and K-pop today. The only difference is, similar to both the people and movies at that time, they seemed to be much simpler and down to earth?


Programme notes written by Phoon Yew Tien

English translation by Lin Zi



As part of its commitment to accessibility, SCCC is happy to provide complimentary access to its onsite and online programmes for local charities, especially those with a focus on seniors. Please contact for more details.

Event Date & Time

Jul 01, 2022 - Jul 01, 2022



SCCC’s Facebook, TikTok and WeChat

Event Language

Conducted in English and Mandarin

Suitable For

All ages



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