The Moon Represents My Heart

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"The Moon Represents My Heart" (Chinese: 月亮代表我的心; pinyin: Yuèliàng Dàibiǎo Wǒde Xīn) is a Chinese song, sung in Mandarin. It was made famous by Teresa Teng.


The lyrics to the song were written by Sun Yi (孫儀)[1][2] and the music was composed by Weng Ching-hsi (翁清溪).[3] It was first sung by Chen Fen-lan (陳芬蘭) in around 1972 or 1973[3][4] but was made famous by Teresa Teng's version later in the 1970s.[5][6] Teng's rendition, which is three minutes and 29 seconds long,[7] was described as a "love song with a waltz-like lilt".[8]

Cultural impact[edit]

Until the late 1970s, foreign music had not been allowed into mainland China for several decades.[2] "The Moon Represents My Heart" became one of the first popular foreign songs (called "gangtai" songs) in the country under the new Open Door Policy.[2]

A short clip of "The Moon Represents My Heart" by Teresa Teng.

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Teng's songs over the following decade revolutionized music in China. Her singing, described as "soft, sweet, often whispery and restrained," was considered the "ideal" in gangtai music at that time.[2] The style was in striking contrast to the then officially-sanctioned songs in mainland China which were often revolutionary songs, and made a strong impact on its listeners.[2] She became so popular that "within months the country was literally flooded with [her] songs."[2] "The Moon Represents My Heart," however, is often cited as one of her best-known or most popular pieces.[9][10][11][12]

Before Teng's music arrived, love songs were nonexistent in China.[2] As film director Jia Zhangke later said, "'The Moon Represents My Heart' [was] something completely new. So people of my generation were suddenly infected with this very personal, individual world. Before that, everything was collective..."[13]


Teng died of an asthma attack in 1995,[13] but "The Moon Represents My Heart" has been performed frequently in Asia into the 21st century, including in places like Malaysia,[14][15][6] Singapore,[16] and Taiwan[17][18]—even at political functions.[19] It has been covered by several famous singers, including Faye Wong, David Tao, Andy Lau, and Leslie Cheung.[20] The song is considered a "classic,"[17] and according to one source, "Chinese all around the world are familiar with [it]."[21]

"The Moon Represents My Heart" is also popular in karaoke,[8] with one chain in Singapore listing it at #42 on their hits list (which made it the highest ranked of all Teng's songs).[22] According to The New York Times, it is one of the best-known Chinese pop songs of all time.[23]

Copyright status[edit]

Lyricist Sun Yi filed a lawsuit against the Li Ge Record Company (麗歌唱片公司). Sun lost the lawsuit, so the company owns the copyright of this song.[1]


  1. ^ a b Xiang Chengzhen (項程鎮) (1 December 2012). "月亮代表我的心作詞者 爭著作權敗訴" [Writer of "The Moon Represents My Heart" fights for copyrights]. The Liberty Times. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Baranovitch, Nimrod. China's new voices: popular music, ethnicity, gender, and politics, 1978–1997 (University of California Press, 2003), pp. 10–13.
  3. ^ a b "Taiwan's "Hibari Misora" — Chen Fen-lan [台灣的「美空雲雀」 ──陳芬蘭]". Taiwan Panorama. March 2001. p. 108.  This source neglected to confirm Sun Yi (孫儀) as the lyricist of this song.
  4. ^ "作曲曝光《月亮代表我的心》原唱非邓丽君(多图)" [Composer says Teresa Teng is not original singer of 'Moon Represents My Heart']. 1 October 2004. Retrieved 10 November 2014. 
  5. ^ Chen, David (5 June 2009). "Jazz for the musicians ... but for the masses, too". Taipei Times. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  6. ^ a b Chan, Dawn (24 October 2010). "Hearty tribute to Teresa Teng". New Straits Times. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 10 November 2014. 
  7. ^ "Yue Liang Dai Biao Wo de Xin – Teresa Teng". Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  8. ^ a b LaFleur, Robert André. Asia in Focus: China (ABC-CLIO, 2009), p. 285.
  9. ^ WuDunn, Sheryl (10 May 1995). Teresa Teng, Singer, 40, Dies; Famed in Asia for Love Songs". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  10. ^ "Teresa Teng: Alive in the Hearts of Chinese Around the World"., 9 May 2005. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  11. ^ "Terrific Teresa Teng tribute at corporate night". The Star (Malaysia). 18 September 2005. Archived from the original on 6 April 2012. Retrieved 10 November 2014. 
  12. ^ Sui, Cindy (27 November 2010). "Hidden love". Taipei Times. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  13. ^ a b Berry, Michael. Speaking in images: interviews with contemporary Chinese filmmakers (Columbia University Press, 2005), pp. 190–550.
  14. ^ Ling, Sharon. "Freelance model crowned Miss Cheongsam Malaysia 2007"., 5 March 2007. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  15. ^ "Fans of Teresa Teng take nostalgia trip"., 6 September 2010. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  16. ^ Tan, Jeanine. "They came, they sang, these divas dazzled".[dead link], 11 September 2007. Retrieved 21 December 2010.
  17. ^ a b "Buzzing: Chyi Chin proposes to Belle"., 26 January 2010. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  18. ^ Huang, Andrew C.C. (14 May 2010). "Kenny G has sax appeal". The Star (Malaysia). Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  19. ^ Pandiyan, M. Veera (10 April 2008). "Take a good look in the mirror". The Star. Malaysia. Archived from the original on 12 October 2012. Retrieved 10 November 2014. 
  20. ^ Tham Ai Mei (15 September 2005). "Sadness behind the smile". The Star (Malaysia). Archived from the original on 6 April 2012. Retrieved 10 November 2014. 
  21. ^ "Show set to be a glittering affair". The Star. 19 August 2003. Archived from the original on 16 October 2012. Retrieved 10 November 2014. 
  22. ^ Tanu, Elrica (29 September 2010). "Teresa Teng tribute". RazorTV via AsiaOne. Retrieved 10 November 2014. 
  23. ^ Seno, Alexandra A (21 November 2007). "Cantopop: Lauding Hong Kong's homegrown music". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 November 2014. 

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