While Searching for Tabs…
10 Aug 2005
In the process, I necessarily learned the word for “guitar tabs” in Chinese. It’s 吉他谱. This is unsurprising, as the character 谱 has the meaning of “musical notation” itself, so you can just tack the word for “guitar” (吉他) onto it. Normal musical notation with the staff and all that is called 五线谱 (“five line musical notation” Heh…). There’s also a simplified musical notation which uses numbers in place of notes, and you can see amateur pianists all around China using it. It’s called 简谱 (“simplified musical notation”). If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out this 简谱 for 月亮代表我的心.
Anyway, as with any search, my search for guitar tabs for “The Moon Represents My Heart” resulted in quite a few deadends before I found what I was looking for. Most of what I found was annoying crap, but I did discover a video that sort of cast a spell on me.
The video is just a short clip of a Chinese girl playing 月亮代表我的心 on her guitar and singing the song. It’s not that the girl is a babe or an amazing singer. She’s rather ordinary-looking. In fact, she could easily have been one of the many students I taught in Hangzhou. So what makes the video special?
I was struck by how incredibly Chinese it was, down to the last detail. The girl looks like a typical Chinese college girl, and even when she’s filming herself, she never even looks the camera straight on. She’s wearing the same kind of white puffy coat that I’ve seen so many girls here wear in the winter, complete with faux fur trim on the hood. The bare white walls behind her, the simple shelf holding just a few knicknacks guarded by a stuffed bear, the folded up Asian-style comforter behind her that’s just barely peeking out… so Chinese.
I don’t mean to imply that all Chinese girls are just like this girl or anything ridiculous like that. I’m not trying to reinforce stereotypes here. I was just really amazed how the sweet song of a girl on video could just scream “China.”
Take a look for yourself.