gan sheng ling (satb)


  • Catalog ID: S-350
  • First Line: (see) the lights on the first mule...
  • Composer: LIU Wen-Jin
  • Voicing: satb
  • Solo: none
  • Accompaniment: a cappella
  • Language: Chinese
  • Country: China
  • Series: Music Of Asia And The Pacific
  • Other: MAP, new for 2011
  • Score: View Score
  • Sound: Listen


“GanShengLing” is a life style many men took on to make a living, either short-term during down times on the farm, or long-term. They transported merchandise for themselves or for other people. These men left home for months, or even years at a time while their loved ones waited for them eagerly at home. Folk singer Zhang, TianEn (1913 – 1972), from the ShanBei regionof China, lived such a life. And from this life he created many folk songs including Gan Sheng Ling (1945) which was regarded as the crowning glory of folk songs and he was called the Master of Folk Songs. His life inspired the next generation of folk singers who continued to create folk songs based on daily lives, including songs about him. The local government of his village is now trying to rekindle this love of singing and creating new songs, in the young people of today,.

This song, by Wen-Jin Liu,  is full of contradictions as Chinese culture often presents. While the piece calls for bright color and almost straight-tone belting, one needs to keep in mind that we are singing about deep and unspoken feelings. While the end of the text is what the girl shouted out aloud, she never said what she wanted. And more importantly, all of these are merely reflective of the man’s imagination. The true challenge of the performance lies in finding a balance between the forwardness and brightness of the music itself and the unspoken feelings behind the texts.

Lei Yu, Andre de Quadros, and Jamie Hillman