is a colloquial abbreviation for "Mandarin popular music"
. It is also referred to as Mandapop
. It is categorized as a subgenre
popular music within C-pop
. Mandopop was the first variation of popular music in Chinese. True resemblance to western pop only came later in its progression. Mandopop songs are almost invariably performed in Mandarin
. While Mainland China has the largest Mandarin-speaking population, Taiwan is the most significant hub of the genre.
The origin of Chinese popular music in general began with a western technology called gramophone
, which was brought over to Tibet Road Shanghai
by a Frenchman named Labansat. Baak Doi
was the first record company to serve as the backbone for the young industry.
1920s: Birth of shidaiqu
Mandarin pop songs in the 1920s were called shidaiqu
(時代曲 - meaning music of the time, thus popular music). They are considered the prototype of any Chinese pop songs. Location wise, Shanghai was the center and quintessential hub for mandopop. Li Jinhui
is generally regarded as the "Father of Chinese Popular Music" having established the genre in the 1920s. Buck Clayton
, the American
jazz musician also worked alongside Li. Some music enthusiasts, however, may suggest that Shidaiqu is the basic form of all mandarin pop songs up until the transition to cantopop. The Bright Moonlight Song and Dance Troupe
established by Li, is also the first modern musical division to be integrated into the Lianhua Film Company
in 1931, making it the first pop music division to enter any Chinese film industry
1930s–1940s: The Seven Great Singing Stars era
The original "Seven Great Singing Stars
" of the Republic of China
essentially paved the way for the industry. Their individual style was unique to any Chinese music before it. The young film industry
benefited greatly with their acting and soundtrack roles. Zhou Xuan
(）is generally considered the most remarkable Chinese popstar of the era due to her successful dual singing and film career. By the end of this generation, female singers went from "song girls
" to "stars". The era, however, would be short lived as Shanghai became occupied with the Second Sino-Japanese War
and eventually World War II
1950s: The split
In 1949 the People's Republic of China
was established by the communist party
. One of the first actions taken by the government
was to denounce popular music as pornography
. In the mainland, the communist regime would begin suppressing pop music to promote revolutionary songs
Taiwan would continue mandopop expansion. It was considered a new genre for the youth, and mandopop music had the edge, since the KMT government discouraged existing Taiwanese language (Min Nan) . As a result, enka origin Taiwanese pop was phased out by mandopop.
1970s–1980s: Rise of the industry
In 1979 Singapore
was under the Speak Mandarin Campaign
. Many TV and radio stations including Singapore Broadcasting Corporation
would stop broadcasting cantopop songs to promote mandopop.
Teresa Teng made mandopop a true alternative by crossing over both subgenres. Even in the height of censorship, the mainland lifted the ban on Teng in 1986 and proclaimed that "By day, Deng Xiaoping rules China. But by night, Teresa Teng rules". New artist like Lo Ta-yu expanded the scene to new heights, and many would credit him for modernizing mandopop. At this time, Artists from Taiwan showed their creativity and talent to mandarin-speaking population around the world.
王菲 became the first singer of China to sing in Budokan
, Japan; for this reason she is also called the Diva of Asia.
The 2000s began with an explosion of pop idols, mainly from Taiwan. A growing mainland film industry
was also hungry for mandopop. Jay Chou
led the popularity of rhythm and blues
and rap music
in the scene. Other successful singers include Elva Hsiao
, Jolin Tsai
and Show Luo
. Recent years also saw the rise of bubblegum pop
boybands and girlbands from Taiwan to the Chinese music scene, with commercially successful acts such as S.H.E
.The national-scale Singing competitions such as Super Girl contest
greatly boost mandopop's influence. Since the new millennium, cantopop stars frequently cross over into the mandopop industry in order to increase their fan base. However, it is rare for a mandopop star to cross over into cantopop because it is generally more difficult for a native Mandarin speaker to learn Cantonese than it is for a Cantonese speaker to learn Mandarin.
Instruments and setups
are some of the first instruments used during shidaiqu's early mandopop era. Today's mandopop arrangements are quite westernized, covering many musical styles, including rhythm and blues
, ballads, Pop
. A few Chinese pop musicians, most notably Jay Chou
, Lin Jun Jie
, and Wang Lee-Hom
, have experimented with fusing traditional Chinese instruments
with western influence.
Influencing artists like Lee-Hom Wang, who used both traditional Chinese instruments and mainstream western hip hop melodies had influenced many Asian singers world-wide.
Taiwan and Hong Kong write with traditional Chinese characters. Mainland China writes with simplified characters. Mandarin mainly sound the same when performed. Scholar Dr. Larry Schulz
has explored the melding of American popular music with works by such Chinese poets as Li Bai
and Du Fu
to offer new insight into the tonal structure of classical poetry and approaches to translation.
has the largest mandarin-speaking population, Taiwan
is the most significant hub of the genre. The trend is that most artists are branded by where they come from regardless of where they were actually marketed.
There are many labels such as Rock Records
, HIM International Music
. Subsidiaries of major companies like Virgin Records Taiwan
are also in the market.
Mandopop titles are also available outside of Asia. Chinese communities established in North America have made mandopop music accessible through local businesses. In the United States
they are easily found in many major urban areas, such as San Francisco
, Los Angeles
, San Diego
, New York
, as well as Toronto
Mandopop radio stations
- Chinese Music Blog - Chinese music online community providing chinese music discussion, album review, lyrics translation and romanization for non-chinese speakers.
- C-Pop Fantasie - Online resource for c-pop, providing lyrics, downloads, video shows, and more.
- C-Pop Essential Listening List - Amazon list of popular contemporary C-pop.