The popular folk songs in Xiaogan include the trumpet song, the mountain song, the lantern song, the popular tune, the fisherman’s song, the folk custom song, the children’s song and the riddle song, etc., which show the production condition and the love life of the laboring people.
Trumpet song: the themes of trumpet song include rammer operating, handling, oil manufacturing and wheat threshing. The song is led by one person and accorded by several people, It is distinctive in rhythm and magnificent in momentum, in which there are some word liners like, Heiyo, Hai and He in main lyrics.
Farming song: in busy farming season, the farming song is usually sung when the women are transplanting rice seedlings and the men are irrigating with water trucks, which is used to relieve stress. The farming songs mainly include songs for transplanting seedlings and songs for irrigating with water trucks. The songs for transplanting seedlings have many tunes, including Gehuo Tune (such as major and minor tunes), Duimi Tune, Yaojiu Tune, which are melodious in rhythm. The songs for irrigating with water trucks are also called as “gong and drum song with water trucks”. There is difference in the type of metre and singing tune between eastern Anlu and western Anlu. In eastern Anlu, the songs can be divided into adagio, allegro and Shaqiang by speed. The song can be called as “Bu Bu Jin” if the speed is gradually fast. In western Anlu, the songs can be divided into “Serious Song”, “Gan Er Ju”, “Gan San Ju”, “Tian Zi Qiang” and “Yi Luo Chui”. The song has a resounding melody and relaxing rhythm, with gong and drum sound as interlude.
Mountain songs: the mountains songs are also called as “antiphonal mountain song” and “grazing song”. The mountain songs of Anlu are mainly sung by the cowherd boys, which are mainly popular in western and northern hilly lands. It is sung in the form of guessing song, such as the question-and-answer song like “hanging the lantern on the pine tree”. It also include love songs, such as Pick up the Lover Brother by Opening up A Road and Don’t Sunburn My Lover Sister.
Lantern song: the lantern song is a song sang during dragon dancing, lotus boating, bamboo horse riding, walking on stilts and lion dancing. There are more than 20 kinds of tunes such as “Siping Tune", "Niusi Tune", "Jingshan Tune", "Flower Picking Tune", “Da Ya Pai”, "Lantern Festival Celebration", "Eight Immortals Tune" and "Sizhou Tune". The song will be accompanied by drum music.
Popular tune: the popular tune refers to the song sang in the streets and lanes, which is a song sang by rural women when they gather together to do needlework and pick cotton. It includes the solo song and antiphonal song. The songs mostly reflect the love stories, such as Ten Fans, Ten Hand Towels, Missing Husband in December and Narrating Sister’s Loving-Kindness. Some songs make a complaint against the feudal ethics, such as Bitter Wife, Widow’s Sighs and Broken Marriage, which are mainly solo songs. The steady rhythm and low-spirited tune are used to show sadness and bitterness and the song is often accompanied by string music.
Fisherman’s song: the fisherman’s song is sung by the fishermen when they have a rest during fishing and is spread in Nanxianghu District.
Folk custom song: the folk custom song is sung during the wedding and funeral rituals, with superstitious implication, such as filial songs.
Children’s song: the children’s song is also called as cradlesong, which is sung by mother when the baby is sleeping.
Riddle song: riddle song (including riddle) is a major feature of Xiaogan. According to the answer to riddles, it can be divided into such categories as astronomy, geography, animals, plants, human bodies, labor and appliances, etc. These riddles are peculiar in structure, such as homophonic riddles, string-up puzzle, spicy riddle with normal answer and normal riddle with spicy answer, which are exquisite in language and rich in local features. For example, there is a riddle named Sun: “From Hunan to Hubei, Shaanxi to foreign countries, it is spread everywhere, but the adjoining county-Yunmeng (county name) does not have it”. People can be inspired by the humorous language. This is the charm of riddle songs.