Jasmine Flower

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Time Signature: 4.4

Key of Tune: C

Tune Type: Air

Number of Bars: 14

Description:

Mo Li Hua (Chinese: 茉莉花; literally “Jasmine Flower”;), is a popular Chinese folk song. The song dates to 18th century. In time, many regional variations were created, and the song gained popularity both in China and abroad. Jasmine Flower has been used during events such as 2004 Summer Olympics, 2008 Summer Olympics and 2010 Shanghai Expo opening ceremony, and controversially during the 2011 Chinese protests.

Jasmine Flower was created during the Qianlong Emperor period of the Qing Dynasty (18th century). There are several regional versions of the song, the more well known one from the Jiangsu Province, and the other from Zhejiang Province. They have different lyrics and melody.

One version of the song describes a custom of giving Jasmine flowers, popular in the southern Yangtze delta region of China. Another, longer version describes the fear of plucking the flower. It has been played on ancient metal bells (bianzhong) and modern jade chimes. It uses the five note (pentatonic) scale developed in China and popular through Asia. The tune is one of xiaodiao (“short tunes”), popular in Chinese urban areas. In 1804 a British diplomat, John Barrow, noted that the tune seems to be one of the most popular songs in China.

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