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The melody for Tián Mì Mì is taken from an Indonesia folk song, Dayung Sampan, which became popular across East Asia during the late 1700’s. In the early 1900’s, the melody was given Chinese lyrics written by the famed poet and song writer, Zhuang Nu. This version is now recognized across China as one of the most beloved folk songs in Chinese culture. This choral arrangement uses a slower tempo than what some may be used to so that the lush harmonies may be experienced more sumptuously. The third verse allows for all the voice parts, besides the soprano, a chance to sing the melody while the accompanying parts dance around using syncopated rhythms. The last section returns to verses one and two, and the song ends softly with “a zài mèng li” (Oh, in a dream).
Chinese Mandarin Language
The Chinese learn Mandarin through a phonetic alphabet system called Pinyin. Pinyin is the transliteration of the Mandarin characters. Pinyin also includes diacritic markings that indicate the various tones (the rise and fall of the voice) which are so prevalent in Chinese speech. These markings have been included in the translation and pronunciation page. However, they are not included in the music score because the speaking tones will be absolved by the natural rise and fall of the singing voice. An IPA spelling of each word has been given along with an IPA guide for each sound. This should help with pronunciation of the text, but the equivalent sounds are only approximate. It is highly recommended to consult with a native speaker.
I am greatly indebted to my West Nottingham Academy students, Jia Kang Xie and, Jiyu Huang for their assistance with the text and melody. We hope your choir will enjoy singing this beautiful Chinese love song.
Click the link below to view on Issuu.