Yellow Songs

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Yellow songs (黄色歌曲, huangse gequ)

A term coined in the twenties and thirties of the 20th century for songs the reflected the influence of American jazz[1], but also elements of traditional folk music and varying Chinese operas. First named 'fashionable melodies' (shidai qu), these songs were later called 'Yellow Songs' due to their unknown openness with which they referred to the topic of love.[2]

A literal translation of 'yellow songs' is pornographic songs.


  1. Su Xia (1981): 'Tantan liuxing yinyue ji qita' (Discussion about pop music and others), in: Renmin Ribao, 25.3.81:5
  2. Steen, A. (1996).Der Lange Marsch des Rock'n'Roll (first edition), Chapter II, page 26. Hamburg: LIT Verlag.

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