Folk musical heritage treasures cherished

Updated: 2017-09-12 (chinadaily.com.cn) Print

Ordos in North China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region is famed for its rich musical culture.

Many traditional Mongolian music forms, including Guru Songs and Manhan Tunes, are well preserved in the city.

Manhan Songs are traditional folk songs popular in Jungar Banner in Ordos, and are regarded as a symbol of the long-lasting friendship between the Han and the Mongolian peoples.

Historical records show that many Han people moved into the Jungar Banner to earn a living in the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), encouraged by the royal court. From then on, the Han and Mongolian peoples in the region not only established strong economic ties but also cultural ties.

Music became an important way to promote communication, with increasingly close bond between them leading to the creation of Manhan folk songs.

Manhan folk songs are mostly based on Mongolian people’s folk music yet the lyrics are mainly from Han songs with the incorporation of Mongolian words.

The prominent feature of Manhan folk songs is improvisation, so a piece of music can serve different lyrics and the same lyrics can be found in many different songs. The lyrical themes include romance, happiness and sadness.

Compared with other folk music forms, the structure of Manhan folk songs is relatively simple yet they can be performed in a wide range of styles to express various emotions, such as bubbling over with joy or filled with sorrow.

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