Folk song is the longest history, simplest structure, richest numbers, and widest spreading musical genre among Chinese traditional culture. The poems of Chinese arliest poetry anthology. The Book of Songs, appeared 3,000 years ago. The 305 poems collected in the anthology are divided into three categories "Feng" (local folk songs), "Ya" and "Song"(court songs, banquet songs, flattering praises and sacrificial pomes), which display the music for folk customs, court, and rituals of pre-Qin Period (before 221 B.C.E.). To our gratification, "Tan'Ge" recorded in The History of Wu Kindom and Yue Kindom is still popular among farmers ofJiangsu Province, and there are some ancient songs and secular songs of the Ming(1368-1644) and Qing (1616-1911) Dynasties transmitted from generations to generations in different regions.
Collection of Chinese Folk Songs, displays the cream of folk songs of different times orally handed down by the mass. Each volume for a province is compiled on the principle of large scale, wide scope, and high quality through multi-means of music recordings, scores, pictures, texts, and videos or photos based on full-scale general investigation, collection, and uniform layout. Each volume displays the unique style of folk songs of the region through four parts: pictures, texts, music scores and folk singers.
The text includes a "General Introduction" to the folk songs of the province and an "introduction" to each kind of folk songs. The music scores are classified by the music genres, in some special cases, classified by dialects, popularity region and musical styles. Folk songs of the minorities are classified by national traditional taxonomy and music genres. If they are sung in the minority languages, their pronunciation are marked with International Phonetic Symbols and Latin pinyin fixed to he songs, also provided with translations or fixed translations in Chinese. There are 40,000 folk songs and 2/000 fine pictures of folk songs performances in this book. Collection of Chinese Folk Songs consists of 30 volumes with over 52,500,000 words, each volume is about 1,750, 000 words with color illustrations.
28 volumes of Collection of Chinese Folk Songs are released, the rest will be published by 2005.
The folk songs of Han people, which accounts for above 90% of China population, falls into nine categories according to music genres as haozi (work songs), shan'ge (mountain songs), tian'ge (field songs), xiao diao (small tunes), Wuge (dance songs), yu' ge (fisherman's songs), ritual songs, children's songs, vendor's cries.
The different ethnic minorities in China all have their own work songs, mountain songs, dance songs, ritual songs and children' s songs. Berides , love songs, narrative songs and religions songs are all give high importance.
Haozi: Work Songs
Haozi, Work Songs have long histories. They appeared and were sung in labor; therefore their rhythms are closely connected with labor rhythms. They are classified by different work places into the following kinds such as forest work songs, agricultural work songs, boatman work songs, fisherman work songs, construction work songs, transportation work songs, workshop work songs, etc.. They are characterized by their strong rhythms, and the singing form of a solo leading singer and a group of responding singers, for example, boatman work songs onthe Yellwo River, Chuanjiang Haozi work songs, on the Three Gorges, forest work songs in northeast China, and rice-seeding transplanting work songs in Jiangsu and Zhejiang.