05 November 2016

佚名 (中國民謠) Anonymous (Chinese Folk Song): 茉莉花 Jasmine Flower

Added (24.11.2016):  I thank Ray Heaton for providing this link to the "Moli Hua" or "Jasmine Flower" on the Wikipedia which is most informative and interesting.

Original post:  Today, I am posting my rendition of a Chinese folk song together with its musical score.  I hope it will prove to be sing-able.  Shall we sing along?

Anonymous (Chinese Folk Song): Jasmine Flower

1  O what a beautiful Moli flower!
2  O what a beautiful Jasmine flower!
3  Fair and fragrant, you deck your sprays;
4  Pure and sweet and how we all praise.
5  Let me glean your blossoms so fair,
6  Send to my neighbours to share.
7  Moli flower, O Jasmine flower!
8  Jasmine flower, O Moli flower!

Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa)    譯者: 黄宏發
21st September 2014 (revised 18.1.16)
Translated from the Chinese original - 佚名  (中國民謠): 茉莉花 

1  好一朵美麗的茉莉花
2  好一朵美麗的茉莉花
3  芬芳美麗滿枝椏
4  又香又白人人誇
5  讓我來將你摘下
6  送給別人家
7  茉莉花呀茉莉花
8  茉莉花呀茉莉花

*Acknowledgement:  I am grateful to my friend Charles Y. Huang 黃用 who kindly let me have sight of his English rendition of this song in the summer of 2014 and from which  I have borrowed heavily.

*Rhyme and Form:  The original is in one single rhyme with line 2 repeating line 1 and line 8 repeating line 7.  This English rendition is in rhyming couplets with a rhyme scheme of AABBCCAA.

Lines 1 and 2:  Although “jasmine” translates 茉莉perfectly, I have retained the transliteration of “Moli” in the opening line for its musicality and have done the same to open and close the last 2 lines.  I have omitted translating as the rest of the song makes sense only if understood as the plant and not a single flower.  I had originally penned “How fair, how lovely, O Moli/Jasmine flower” but have rejected it as I need to use the word “fair” in subsequent lines.

*Line 3:  The order of 美麗 “fair (beautiful)” and 芬芳 “fragrant” is reversed to make it sound more pleasing in English.

*Line 4:  The order of “pure (white)” and  “sweet (fragrant)” is reversed for the same reason.

*Line 5:  I have translated   (you) as “your blossoms” (which makes better sense) and have added “so fair” so as to create a rhyme for line 6.

*Line 6:  I have translated 別人家 as “my neighbours rather than “others” or “my friends”.  I have added “to share” which is implied in the line.

*Music and Song:  The musical score in “Numbered Musical Notation” 簡譜 together with the lyrics in both English and Chinese is given below.  Please note that I have only put down the numbered musical notes (with the symbol “^” or “\” added next to stand for a higher or lower octave) without, however,  note lengths as I do not have the software to do them on my computer.  Here goes the song:-
Anonymous (Chinese folk song): Jasmine Flower (Moli Flower)
佚名   (中國民謠)茉莉花 

1=Eb  2/4

3     3    5 | 61^ 1^6 | 5 56 | 5  0 |
O what a beautiful Moli flower!
好    一  朵 美   麗的  

3     3     5 | 61^1^6 | 5    56  |  5  0 |
O what a beautiful Jasmine flower!
好    一  朵美    的         

5       5   |  5    35      5  |  6       6    |  5  0  |
Fair and fragrant you deck your sprays;

3        23 |  5        32 |  1       1   2 |  1  0  |
Pure and sweet and how we all praise.

32   13 |  2         3    |   5     6    1^ | 5 -- |
Let me glean your blossoms so fair,

2         3 5   |  2 3     1      6\ | 5\  -- |
Send to my neighbours to share.

6\   1   2        3  |  12  16\ |  5\ -- |  
Moli flower, O Jasmine flower!
茉 莉    花      呀      茉     

6\     1       2        3 | 1216\ | 5\ --
Jasmine flower, O  Moli flower!


Classical Chinese Poems in English


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