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Legend-Folk Song by Li Tai-Hsiang (傳說-李泰祥)

I.    Lyrics (translated from Chinese)

They say that there is a folk song in the north,
Only Huanghai’s (the Yellow Sea’s) breathing capacity can sing.
From Qinghai to Huanghai (the Yellow Sea),
The wind hears the song; the sand also hears the sound.
If the cold weather freezes Huanghai (the Yellow Sea) and turns it into a glacier,
There is still Changjiang River (Yangtzu River) singing with its mother nature’s nasal tone.
From highlands to plains,
Fishes hear the song, dragons also hear the song.
If the cold weather freezes the Changjiang (Yangtzu River) and turns it into a glacier,
There is still me. There is still my Red Sea roaring.
From morning tides to night tides,
The song can be heard while awake, the song can also be heard while in dreams.
If there is one day, my blood is also frozen,
There is still your blood and his blood singing in chorus.
From Type A to Type O,
The song can be heard while crying; the song can also be heard while laughing.

Lyrics written by Yu Kuang-Chung (余光中)

風也聽見 沙也聽見
魚也聽見 龍也聽見
還有我 還有我的紅海在呼嘯
醒也聽見 夢也聽見
有一天 我的血也結冰
還有你的血 他的血在合唱
哭也聽見 笑也聽見

Chi Yu (齊豫)

II.    About this Song

Summary / Story:
“Legend,” a masterpiece of Yu Kwang-chung, can be deemed as a concentrated display of the return of national spirits. The music starts from violent guitar major chord, and then the sound of wind produced by electronic synthesizer is added to describe the distinct scene of the Loess Plateau. The tense guitar warns about possible anxieties behind the wind in the highland. And then, the desolate low-pitched voice by singer, Chi Yu, starts to sing “They say that there is a folk song in the north”. The melody then turns into emotional adagio, “Only Huanghai’s (the Yellow Sea’s) breathing capacity can sing”. The tune is remote and long; the lyrics sentences are compactly connected at a dash. After the lyric part, it comes to describe the real scenes; “From Qinghai to Huanghai (the Yellow Sea),” “The wind hears the sound,” and then a sudden sound of whirlwind; finally “The Sand also hears the sound” for a total of four poetry sentences and the melody just closely connects to poetry’s artistic conception. There is one thing deserved to be mentioned here; the creation of the melody must follow the syllables of northern language families. And “North (read as “Beifang),” “Qinghai (read as Qinghai),” “Sand (read as Sha),” “Wind (read as Feng)” are pronunciations in official Chinese (Mandarin). In fact, this kind of phenomenon is often seen in Li Tai-Hsiang’s works. The composing method is somewhat similar to recitative in the West or the reading method of ancient Chinese poetries, or it might come from the imitation of “Xintianyou” folk song, a kind of northern Shaanxi’s local melody. After low and deep adagio describing “Huanghai” in the first period, the melody turns to moderato, and the background music also develops from simple stringed music into march style music and goes on until the chorus in the last part. “Legend” contains four parts; the melody of each part is similar to the theme motive, but also slightly different from it. Singer Chi Yu also used various pronunciation skills and cleverly showed three main subjects, “the Changjiang (Yangtzu River)”, “Me”, and “We” in the later part, creating magnificent momentum but also having great intimacy.

III.    Manuscript

Handwritten notes (page 1) of “Legend in A minor”
Handwritten notes (page 2) of “Legend in A minor”
Handwritten notes (page 3) of “Legend in A minor”


To view the story of Li Tai-Hsiang, please go to Li Tai-Hsiang, the Native Musician of Taiwan.

Text and images are provided by The Native Musician of Taiwan-Tai-Hsiang Li Digital Archive, National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan