During this week we’ve been talking about Whitman’s “Song of Myself” and the musical elements in it. Well, creating poems in the form of songs is actually another characteristics of ancient Chinese poem. Before printing technology was invented, people often times pass those poems generation by generation through singing. Now there are collections of these poems recorded after characters were created. In Chinese history throughout different dynasties, poetry is often expressed with musical or incantatory effects by means such as assonance, rhythm, onomatopoeia, etc.
The lyric of the Song Dynasty is one of the representative examples, which could be considered as written songs. Most of the poems do not even have their own title, but they are named after an original tune pattern. Composers and writers used this melody to write a new poem, which is the reason why we often see the same title for two different poems, like "Butterflies love blossoms", Man ting fang "Scent fills the hall", or "Lady Yu". There are more than 800 tune patterns.
During Song Dynasty, two different styles of poetry were developed, the "heroic abandon" and the "delicate restraint". Song Ci lyric became very popular even during the Qing Dynasty. There are some famous Song poets, like Wang Yucheng (954-1101), Liu Yong (980-1053), Yan Shu (991-1055), Wang Anshi (1021-1086), Huang Tingjian (1045-1105), Qin Guan (1049-1100), Li Qingzhao (1084-1155), Jiang Kui (1155-1221), etc.
The video clip presents an early form of Lyric in ancient China around 500 BC that is sung by a court dancer. It tells a story of a Chinese Cinderella that falls in love with a prince. Her performance expresses her affection and passion, in an emotional and elegant way.