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The amateur Mandarin Song Covers

Rick_amateurRick_amateur Posts: 2432.0 PRO
Hi everyone! I can't believe that it's been 6 months since I joined this forum. I have learned so much but I know I have a long way to go. After some hesitation, I've decided to start this thread as a way of further improving myself. For those who know me, you have heard me singing English songs. My first language was actually Mandarin but, having moved to Canada at a pretty young age, I ended up being mediocre at both Mandarin and English. However, that hasn't stopped me from singing Mandarin songs since they, at least to me, have a different flavor from songs in other parts of the world.

What's the intention of this thread then? I hope to do my own assignments (hopefully regularly) where I post covers of Mandarin songs in this thread only. I hope to apply what I learned to those covers while also using this opportunity to, hopefully, gauge any improvements I make. I know Mandarin and English can be quite different so I'm curious how certain areas will be change. Do note that a lot of the Mandarin songs I sing are older songs due to this weird clash of what I experienced from growing up in Canada and what my parents brought me up to.

Without further ado, my first cover is a song called Da Hai (大海). Da Hai is Ocean in Mandarin. From my understanding, this song is about how the Ocean holds a lot of our memories and our pain that were washed away over time but never truly forgotten. I don't think I really conveyed the feelings well but maybe one day...



Feel free to give me feedback even if you don't understand the song. I appreciate any advice on my long road to being a decent singer.

Comments

  • doc_ramadanidoc_ramadani Posts: 3,139Administrator, 2.0 PRO, Facility Management
    Hi @Rick_amateur, mate,

    wow, that is a big surprise. I had no idea that you had an asian background. I always thought that you were a native english speaker because your english seemed to be so very good (for a German, like me).

    It is very impressive to hear you singing in mandarin. And how you performed is really beautiful. I enjoyed that I was not distracted by the lyrics and could concentrate on your singing. Man, your voice grew so good.

    I could copy & paste my comments from the last renditions. If you work on your chest voice, resonance (ping) and support your singing will go through the ceiling.

    And I also want to say this: Rick, I am so happy that you became a contributing member to this community. You take part in every assignment and are giving feedback. That is great. Sometimes I am ashamed that I do not have (take) enough time to give more feedback. You are always reacting to feedback. I hope you will stay with us veeeeeerrrry long. You are dedicated and this is making a difference. I like you, you are a great guy. I hope we will have a lot singing fun together.

    :+1:

    Doc
  • Rick_amateurRick_amateur Posts: 2432.0 PRO
    Hi @doc_ramadani,

    I spent most of my life in Canada so my English is certainly better than my Mandarin. I also never developed an accent so it's very difficult for people to notice my Asian background.

    Translating the lyrics isn't something I can do very well as my Mandarin has limits. I can read and talk at an intermediate level which isn't good enough to translate sentences into understandable English. Personally, I like to have as little as possible on screen so it's mostly my singing.

    Regarding chest, resonance and support, those are things I'm working on at the moment. As we all know, these things take time so I don't expect an instant positive change immediately. I am allocating more of my practice time on chest so hopefully that will see some improvements in a few months.

    I became a contributing member to this community because it's such a great community. I'm also learning so much from this opportunity. I also know that people have real life so good feedback isn't always possible. Still, I'm getting lots of good feedback that keep me busy in improving. I also intend to stay here for a long time and keep learning. You are also a great guy and I'm glad to have the chance to meet you here. :smile:

    Rick
  • maximgottmermaximgottmer Posts: 2142.0 PRO
    HI Rick, what a nice suprise this song. Sounds good.
    You can improve on opening the throat and support, to get a free souding voice (as the most of us). Good luck. Maxim
  • Rick_amateurRick_amateur Posts: 2432.0 PRO
    @maximgottmer

    Thanks! I'm working on that throat and support. It's a slow work in progress.
  • Rick_amateurRick_amateur Posts: 2432.0 PRO
    Hi everyone! I had a bit of free time and decided to do this song. It's one of my favorites but sadly I didn't do it justice. There are still so many things I need to work on. I hope to get this done today so that, in the future, I can attempt the song again and hopefully notice some improvements.

    My second cover is a song called Wo shi yi zhi xiao xiao niao (我是一只小小鸟). Why is this one of my favorites? I feel this song really relates to my life. The direct translation of the song name is: I'm a small bird. The first two lines of the chorus are: I'm a small bird. I want to fly but I can't fly any higher. The song is talking about pursuing a dream but unable to achieve it. In the meantime, you are faced with many challenges along the way. When you're young, you wish to grow up just as a small bird wanting to reach the end of the branches to take flight. Yet, you realized that, once you reached the end, you suddenly become prey to hunters and have no one there to protect you from harm.

    The song also speaks of many sleepless nights when you wonder if only your tomorrow won't get better. You also wonder if happiness is merely a myth that's unattainable in life. Finally, you have a tough decision in life when it comes to your dream. Do you choose to cave into life's pressure or hold onto your dignity and keep pursuing your dream? At our critical moment, we cannot have both. This is more or less the meaning I got from translating the lines. Overall, I really enjoy the song due to the meaning behind it.

  • sagemacgsagemacg Posts: 2402.0 PRO
    edited July 5
    Thank you for posting these! I can't offer feedback that you aren't already aware of, but it's really cool to hear these tracks in Mandarin and to read your commentary on their meaning. They sound so much more poetic than english pop. My thanks to you for sharing these with us :) :star:
  • Rick_amateurRick_amateur Posts: 2432.0 PRO
    @sagemacg

    I do notice how songs with very different languages have their own styles, even if they have similar genres. It's rather interesting when you get a chance to listen to songs in other languages and get a feel of what they have. I'm just happy you liked listening to them. :smile:
  • Rick_amateurRick_amateur Posts: 2432.0 PRO
    At this point, it feels like I'm doing this as a weekly thing. I do enjoy singing these so it's not a chore. However, these do show how much more work I need to put into my singing. The improvements will hopefully happen a step at a time.

    My third cover is called Peng You (朋友) and the song name literally translates to Friend. The song doesn't seem very complex but I usually find the simpler songs packing a lot more meaning. As the title suggests, this song is about friendship. It starts off speaking of walking alone through the wind and rain while experiencing mistakes and teary moments. You will then recall during your loneliness the times you were loved and wonder about the dreams you once had.

    We then reach the chorus where it starts off by stating that: Friends walk together forever and those days never return. All we have is a promise that lasts a lifetime and friendship that's solidified over a cup of beer/wine. Next, we have: Friend are never alone and you will know when you hear the word friend. You will have wounds and pain but you will keep going knowing that you still have me.

    For the meaning, this is the best I can come up with. Most of it is literally line by line translation but I think what I typed above makes sense.

  • doc_ramadanidoc_ramadani Posts: 3,139Administrator, 2.0 PRO, Facility Management
    Hi Rick, my diligent comrade,

    that was very nice. To me, and that is my personal opinion, it sounds that you are closing down the the sound as higher as you go. Try to do the opposite. Watch Volume 2 vids. on vowel modifications. They might help you. And I want to hear you with a bright "PING", Rick

    Doc

    PS.: your progress is very, very goof. Congrats, mate!
  • Rick_amateurRick_amateur Posts: 2432.0 PRO
    Hi @doc_ramadani ,

    Thanks for the feedback! I'm just trying something that I saw in Volume 3 regarding the breathe control where I'm trying not use as much air as before. After you recommended support and mentioned me using too much air, I've been working on better air control. It's a weird situation where I think I need more practice before I can figure it out. I understand the importance of that ping but I also want to avoid using so much air whenever I sing to avoid drying out my chords. I guess I still have a long way to go nonetheless. Thanks for listening!

    Rick
  • Rick_amateurRick_amateur Posts: 2432.0 PRO
    My fourth cover is called Wang Qing Shui (忘情水) and the song name translates to Forget Love Potion. As the name suggests, this is a song for those with a broken heart. The song speak of a person being young and chasing dreams. After traveling long distances to faraway lands, you turned around to find that love you once knew was gone and you feel pain from the regret of losing it. Only those who have been heartbroken understands your pain. In response, you want a cup of the potion that helps your forget your love which has overcame any wind and rain you faced so far. You hope the potion will, despite you being drunk and heartbroken, make it so you will never shed any tears. That's about the gist of it. My translations certainly needs more work.

  • doc_ramadanidoc_ramadani Posts: 3,139Administrator, 2.0 PRO, Facility Management
    Hi Rick,

    you improved on the vowel singing much. The mandarin language seems to have a lot of nasal sounds and consonants. Did you try to sing the songs on only the vowels. This was very distracting for me at the beginning but helped me a lot. Maybe you want to try the same approach.

    I can hear that you have more resonance in your voice. Very good. I think it is only a matter of the until you are able to sustain high notes with good resonance.

    May I ask you for another english song? - I liked the Zak Brown song you chose for the weekly assignments.

    Doc
  • Rick_amateurRick_amateur Posts: 2432.0 PRO
    @doc_ramadani

    Thanks for the feedback! There are indeed a lot of nasal sounds in Mandarin and apparently there are front and back nasals. I guess that might be why it sounds really different from other languages. As for singing with only the vowels, Mandarin is weird where there are 6 major vowels and four of them are quite different from those of English. I think trying to sing only vowels will make my head hurt as I'm much more accustomed to the English vowels now. I might try this for my English songs but my brain probably can't handle different vowels than those I'm used to.

    As for resonance, I decided to stop worrying about it as much and just kept working on the basics. That might have helped me get some progress overall. I'm definitely going to keep working on my foundation and everything else will likely fall in place.

    Regarding the Zac Brown song, I will put that on hold. I want to go through the assignments in order so it might be a couple of weeks before I get to that song. Hopefully, you hear a better rendition than what I can manage for now.

    Rick
  • Rick_amateurRick_amateur Posts: 2432.0 PRO
    My schedule is changing so I only have time to do these covers every Sunday.

    Below is my fifth cover and the song is called Tian Liang Le (天亮了). The song name is translated into Daybreak. This song is based on a true story where a horrible tragedy happened. A cable car malfunctioned and a family was supposed to fall to their deaths. However, the parents sacrificed themselves to save their son from death. The song is supposed to be from the viewpoint of the son who survived this tragedy. The singer of this song, Han Hong, actually adopted this little boy and wrote this song in remembrance of the incident. Singing this song made me realize that I have some ways to go before I can add emotion to my singing. I guess I'll focus on the basics for now.

  • Rick_amateurRick_amateur Posts: 2432.0 PRO
    Below is my sixth cover and the song is called Ni Shi Wo de Yan (你是我的眼). The song name is translated as: You are My Eyes. The singer and writer of this song was born blind but had a surgery at 4 years old that gave him a bit of vision so he can at least see somewhat. At 15, he lost his sight again. He wrote and sang this song in appreciation of those who helped him with his life as they are helping him see more of this world in addition to the warmth and encouragement they have given him after he lost his sight again.

  • Rick_amateurRick_amateur Posts: 2432.0 PRO
    Below is my seventh cover and the song is called Fu Qing (父亲). The name is translated as father. This is a song I want to eventually nail down since I want to sing it properly to my father. At this point, there are lots of issues that I can only improve bit by bit. Many of you probably correctly assume that this song is meant for one's father as a way to say thanks.

    The song begins by talking about us always asking something from our fathers and never thanking him. It wasn't until we're older that we realize being a parent isn't easy. Then, we wish we can go back in time to the days when we held our fathers' hands as a child. Now, we wish time to slow down so our fathers won't grow older. We wish to use whatever we have to help him live longer. We also want to give what care we can, even if our care is incomparable to what we received from our fathers.

    Then, we thank our fathers and recognize what he did to support our family while he tried his best to give the best things to us. We then asked if he's proud of us or still worried about us. The chorus ends by saying that the child our fathers has been so concerned of has finally grown up.



  • Rick_amateurRick_amateur Posts: 2432.0 PRO
    Life got busy and I did miss a couple of weeks. I really have no good excuses other than getting lazy. I also am focusing on fixing my nasality which seems tougher since there's more nasally words in Mandarin. Regardless, below is my eighth cover and the song is called San Bai Liu Shi Wu Li Lu (三百六十五里路). The Li in the name is a Chinese distance which is about a third of the English mile. The song name is three hundred sixty five Li of road. As the name suggests, it speaks of the journey we travel in a year and speaks of our experiences.

    It begins by saying the sleepy nights cannot stop my journey where I have been drifting for many days and night while sleeping outside and facing the elements. For my dreams, I'm willing to endure loneliness and solitary. As I shake off the dirt of foreign lands, I begin my journey into faraway lands and pursue my dream with full passion. I walked a part of the journey everyday for three hundred sixty five days for year after year. As time gradually passes, I'm still persistent in the dream I began pursuing ambitiously way back when and that ambition has never burned out. Since I left my hometown, how many three hundred sixty five days have passed?

    We have the chorus where we have two variations. One is I travel through all four seasons after three hundred sixty five Li of road and I mustn't let that journey be wasted. The other is I travel from hometown to foreign lands after three hundred sixty five Li of road and went from a youth to a senior.

  • Rick_amateurRick_amateur Posts: 2432.0 PRO
    Life got busy so I was on a hiatus. I still intend to keep going with this so, when I have time, I will keep posting my covers. Below is my ninth cover and the song is called Shi Jian Dou Qu Nar Le (时间都去哪儿了). This song is translated as: Where has the time gone? As the translations suggests, it speaks of how time flies and, before we know it, most of our time is already gone.

    The song starts talking about new shoots growing on the old tree by the front door and flowers blooming in the dead tree within the yard. We saved up a lot of words over half a lifetime and kept them within our white hair. Then, the song speaks of the memory of one's child when he/she was just a baby and how one gives love for a lifetime in return for the child to call us mother and father.

    The chorus then asks where has the time gone and states that we are old before we can enjoy our youth. Our mind is filled with the laughter and cries of the children we have raised for a lifetime. Our eyes are also failing before we could take a proper look of our children. After providing the daily necessities for half a lifetime, we suddenly found ourselves, in a blink of an eye, having a face full of wrinkles.

  • Rick_amateurRick_amateur Posts: 2432.0 PRO
    After another short hiatus, I'm back to doing this. Just working out a new schedule with life and not allocating enough time for this.

    Below is my tenth cover and the song is called Zhen Ying Xiong (真英雄). The song name means a true hero. This song was the song tied to a television series that reenacted the rise and fall of the Sui dynasty in China followed by the rise of the Tang dynasty. The song first talks about one hearing the rallying cries of soldiers as one is present on the battlefield. The difference between a victorious king and a failed rebel might depend on a single decision. Then it speaks that life and death are decided in a moment while heroism will be remembered forever. Yet, we question where our home is in this vast land. After conquering challenges one after another, we enjoy the age of prosperity by winning the war but losing the woman we loved.

    Afterwards, we realized that, despite winning the world and earning the right to boast, life was never more than a vicious fight. As blood dye the ground and youth turn old, how can a true hero be afraid. As blades cut tangled hemp and golden spears accompany warhorses, we'll move out with our heart staying strong as long as our warhorses stay alive. Then we wonder how could it be false that we are a true hero. I know the translation doesn't seem great but my translation skills are limited. Let's just say that it's a description of a chaotic time filled with conflicts and emotions that happened to be represent an era when one dynasty makes way for another. I only wish I can describe the lyrics and sing the song to give them justice. I can't do it now but hopefully one day.

  • blondiewalesblondiewales Posts: 469Pro
    Pretty cool man. I speak and sing in Mandarin too. You have the emotion down. Just make sure you get the lines on pitch and in tempo and you're off to a great start.
  • Rick_amateurRick_amateur Posts: 2432.0 PRO
    @blondiewales Thanks for the feedback! The issue for me is that my pronunciation isn't great and I have to focus a lot on the lyrics. Once I get comfortable with that, then I might be able to focus on pitch and tempo. The purpose of this thread is for me to practice Mandarin more than anything. :smile:
  • blondiewalesblondiewales Posts: 469Pro
    Your pronunciation isn't bad. Let me know if you have any questions on Mandarin. I'm not amazing at it but my pronunciation is usually good.
  • Rick_amateurRick_amateur Posts: 2432.0 PRO
    My eleventh cover is a song I recently learned. I just liked the song and chose to cover it. Note that this is probably the hardest Mandarin song I tried in terms of lyrics and speed so it was quite a learning experience. I had to learn to pronounce a lot of words so hopefully my pronunciation is acceptable. Certain lacking techniques do show up in this cover but I hope to one day resolve those as I keep working on my singing.

    The song is called Tian Ce Qiong Hun (天策·枪魂). Tian Ce is the title given by the founder of the Tang dynasty to his song. Qiong Hun is the soul of a Chinese weapon called Qiong which's basically a Chinese spear (don't ask me what the difference is between this and the western spear). This song was actually written for a Chinese online game that I never even heard off. I was just watching some AMV regarding the Three Kingdoms and this was one of the songs I heard. It's basically about war and how a warriors rises to the occasion to fight for the Tang dynasty while also being plotted against back home by the politicians.

  • doc_ramadanidoc_ramadani Posts: 3,139Administrator, 2.0 PRO, Facility Management
    Hi Rick,

    Would it be interesting if you translate this song into english and sing an english version? - The song sounds pretty interesting.

    Doc
  • Rick_amateurRick_amateur Posts: 2432.0 PRO
    Hi @doc_ramadani ,

    I only wish my translation skills were that good. Sadly, I can barely write a song from scratch with English, let alone translate this into English that would sound decent as a song. I picked it because it's interesting but singing it is about the most I can do. Maybe one day...

    Rick
  • Rick_amateurRick_amateur Posts: 2432.0 PRO
    My twelfth cover is an old song I used to sing a lot but, for whatever reason, stopped. After I got the rust off, I think I did an okay job overall. There are always room for improvements. The song is called Mei Li de Shen Hua (美丽的神话). The song name can be translated as Beautiful Myth. This was the song for the movie: The Myth and it speaks of a love story. The love story began in ancient Chinese history and was entering a proper conclusion in present day in the movie. Basically, this involves reincarnation and how one of the characters remembers his past life and trying to conclude it. The lyrics, as I'll do my best translating, will be speaking of this.

    The lyrics start by saying we seeing a familiar face in our dreams and, regardless how many tears we shed from this painful memory, we won't ever let go of the other person. We made a promise that has seen us living in loneliness but love will eventually wake up between us. Throughout the ages, only love last forever as a myth and nothing will make us regret true love. After much pain and struggle, us holding hands will see us never part again.

    Then, the song speak of love that's frozen in ice and the ice can only be melted when two true hearts meet. The love, also seen as a small flame faced with winds, will never be blown out. Many springs have passed as we waited for the flower to bloom but many see us as fools for waiting. No matter how cold our heart becomes, we will never forget the person we love.

    Near the end, the song speaks of love being an eternal myth through the good and bad times. No one forgets the promise no matter how ancient it might be. Our love's tears become colorful butterflies in the sky. The love that has finally been released allows both hearts to fly freely. This doesn't make sense by itself but, when we take into the movie into account, it makes more sense. The male character had a past life where he made a promise for his love. In present day, he wishes to fulfill that promise as his love still hasn't changed. When the two lovers finally got united, there's tears of joy. This just proves that love will last through the ages if necessary and true love can't ever cease to exist. Above is my best attempt of translating.

  • Rick_amateurRick_amateur Posts: 2432.0 PRO
    My thirteenth cover is another old song I used to sing a lot. I didn't need too many tries as the lyrics were quite familiar for me. The song is called Tong Hua (童话). The song name can be translated as Fairy Tale. This is a love song and we'll move onto the lyrics themselves.

    The song begins by saying that it's been a long time since I heard you tell me your favorite story and I panic with the thought that I did something wrong again. When I approach you, you were crying and told me fairy tales are lies and I cannot be your prince. Yet, you didn't know that, the moment you told me you loved me, my sky was instantly lit up by shining stars. The chorus says I wish to become the angel in your fairy tale and turn my hands into wings to protect you in hopes of making you believe that, like the fairy tales, our ending is filled with blessings and happiness. The last chorus, instead of of saying our ending is filled with blessings and happiness, says that we can write our own ending together.

  • doc_ramadanidoc_ramadani Posts: 3,139Administrator, 2.0 PRO, Facility Management
    What strikes me most on this one is your pretty good pitch, Rick. It also sounds more musical because of good timing and contiguous singing. Sorry, that I can not give you any feedback on the pronunciation. :joy:

    Doc
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