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) 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.[9] 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.[10][11][12][13]

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..."[14]


Teng died of an asthma attack in 1995,[14] but "The Moon Represents My Heart" has been performed frequently in Asia into the 21st century, including in places like Malaysia,[15][16][6] Singapore,[17] and Taiwan[18][19]—even at political functions.[20] It has been covered by several famous singers, including Faye Wong, David Tao, Andy Lau, and Leslie Cheung.[21] The song is considered a "classic,"[18] and according to one source, "Chinese all around the world are familiar with [it]."[22]

"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).[23] According to The New York Times, it is one of the best-known Chinese pop songs of all time.[24]

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). "Writer of "The Moon Represents My Heart" fights for copyrights <月亮代表我的心作詞者 爭著作權敗訴>". The Liberty Times. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f 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. ^ "Composer says Teresa Teng is not original singer of 'Moon Represents My Heart' <作曲曝光《月亮代表我的心》原唱非邓丽君(多图)>". October 1, 2004. 
  5. ^ Chen, David. "Jazz for the musicians ... but for the masses, too"., June 5, 2009. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
  6. ^ a b Chan, Dawn (October 24, 2010). "Hearty tribute to Teresa Teng". New Straits Times. Archived from the original on 2011-06-29. Retrieved 2010-12-21. 
  7. ^ "Yue Liang Dai Biao Wo de Xin – Teresa Teng". Retrieved June 22, 2012.
  8. ^ a b LaFleur, Robert André. China (ABC-CLIO, 2009), p. 285.
  9. ^ Baranovitch, Nimrod (2003). China's new voices: popular music, ethnicity, gender, and politics, 1978–1997. University of California Press. pp. 11–13. 
  10. ^ WuDunn, Sheryl. Teresa Teng, Singer, 40, Dies; Famed in Asia for Love Songs"., May 10, 1995. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
  11. ^ "Teresa Teng: Alive in the Hearts of Chinese Around the World"., May 9, 2005. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
  12. ^ "Terrific Teresa Teng tribute at corporate night"., September 18, 2005. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
  13. ^ Sui, Cindy. "Hidden love"., November 27, 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
  14. ^ a b Berry, Michael. Speaking in images: interviews with contemporary Chinese filmmakers (Columbia University Press, 2005), pp. 190–550.
  15. ^ Ling, Sharon. "Freelance model crowned Miss Cheongsam Malaysia 2007"., March 5, 2007. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
  16. ^ "Fans of Teresa Teng take nostalgia trip"., September 6, 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
  17. ^ Tan, Jeanine. "They came, they sang, these divas dazzled"., September 11, 2007. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
  18. ^ a b "buzzing"., January 26, 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
  19. ^ Huang, Andrew C.C. "Kenny G has sax appeal"., May 14, 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
  20. ^ Pandiyan, M. Veera. "Take a good look in the mirror"., April 10, 2008. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
  21. ^ Tham, Ai Mei. "Sadness behind the smile"., September 15, 2005. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
  22. ^ "Show set to be a glittering affair"., August 19, 2003. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
  23. ^ Tanu, Elrica. "Teresa Teng tribute"., September 29, 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
  24. ^ Seno, Alexandra A. "Cantopop: Lauding Hong Kong's homegrown music"., November 21, 2007. Retrieved 2010-12-21.

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