Tan Te (忐忑)

Tan Te (忐忑)

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Tan Te (Chinese: 忐忑, which means “Perturbed”), a.k.a. Shenqu of the Net(Chinese:網絡神曲, literally: The Sacred Music Piece of the Net) is a popular song in the Chinese internet society. The song was sung by Gong Linna and composed by Robert Zollitsch, which is Gong’s husband. The song caught the attention of netizens by having no lyrics at all and Gong’s gesture and facial expression while performing the song.


In 2010, Gong Linna performed “Tan Te” in the 2010 Beijing Chinese New Year Concert. The vidio of her performance was uploaded to Renren in the following May.

Here’s the “translated” lyrics:

#[a---o, a---o e,
a se di, a se do, a se da ge di ge do, a se di, a se da ge do, ] x2
[a yi ya yi yo,] x2
a se di ge
[dai, da ge dai, da ge dai, da ge da ge di ge dai, da ge dai, da ge do,] x2 #
a yi ya yi yo---,
Repeat #
a yi ya yi yo---
[o- yi- yo- yi-] x2
a- yi- ya- yi- a- yi- ya- da ge
[dai, da ge dai, da ge dai, da ge da ge di ge dai, da ge dai, da ge do,] x2
a yi ya yi yo---,
[da yi yo yi da yi do yi] x2
a- er- yi- er- yo-,
[da yi yo yi da yi do yi] x2
dai- dai- dai- dai do-,
[dai dai dai dai] x6
dai dai do---,
a--- a- e---, a yi ya yi yo---,
a--- a--- a- yo---, a- a--------,
a yi ya yi yo---, hei- yo-------,
Repeat #
a yi ya yi
[dai, di ge dai, di ge dai, di ge di ge dai, dai, di ge dai, di ge do,] x8
dai, di ge dai, di ge dai, di ge di ge dai,
dai, di ge dai, di ge dai, dig ge dai, dig ge dai, di ge di ge dai, dai, di ge dai, di ge dai, di ge do-,
[a yi yo yi] x4
ha---, hai yo------,
dai, di ge dai, di ge dai, di ge di ge dai,
dai, di ge dai, di ge dai, di ge di ge di ge do---


The song has been really popular probably because of it having no lyrics but only the expressional sound such as “yo”, “o”, “ay”(sigh), etc. The spotlight is also on Gong Linna’s facial expression and gesture while singing the song. The number of views of the original video and other performances increased tremendously. The netizens also granted a name of Shenqu of the Net to the song because its tone is similar to the ancient Tibetian religious songs. The videos are also usually tagged with a phrase of “You still won’t learn it after you hear it for 10 thousand times” (Chinese:听一万遍也学不会). In fall 2010, the song had spread to Hong Kong.

Remark: blue line=Tan Te, red line=Shenqu of the Net


Meanwhile, the trend of impersonating Gong singing the song and doing covers of the song (actually do challenges) had risen. Here are some of the notable impersonations.

Chapman To

Chapman To, an artist from Hong Kong uploaded a clip of himself impersonating Gong singing the song to youku.com in October 2010. In this video, Chapman To started a trend of eye crossing for covers of this song as to act like Gong Linna’s wide opened eyes in a humorous way.

He did another impersonation in a Hong Kong romantic comedy film called “All’s Well, Ends Well 2011” (Chinese: 最強囍事), which has opened in theaters on 2 February, 2011. The original clip is unable to be found on internet due to copyright. Here’s the trailer which include the impersonation(at the beginning and near the end):


hkgolden user 我真的憤怒鳥 posted an audio performance of himself.(with voice edited)

OPPO New Year Countdown Party

During the 2011OPPO New Year Countdown Party, the hosts made a cover of the song which mixes with Lady Gaga’s Poker Face.

The Red Army of China

Some netizens also made a video of the previous Red Army of China singing with their lips synching with Tan Te.

Fat Boy

A Chinese fat boy also did a cover of the song and uploaded the performance to the internet. Some of the netizens also focus on the boy behind the fat boy’s back’s action.

GEM’s coverage

Hong Kong singer G.E.M. sang Tan Te in her Get Everybody Moving concert on May 14 2011.

China’s Got Talent

Contestant Pan Yuelin, a 7-year-old girl, performed Tan Te in the 2nd season of the show. Her performance was aired in Audition 3, on May 15, 2011. The judges liked her performance but pressed the button just because they’re too perturbed. However, she was rejected at the end.

Gong’s response

According to Gong’s description, all the performances of this piece are impromptu and each of them are different. Tan Te (perturbed), the name of the song, can also show the feeling of “sudden high, then sudden low” during the performances.

I’ve seen the “translated” lyrics written by the netizens. Their imagination is really rich and I’ve never thought that my performance can bring that much space for imagination. However my facial expression was really exaggerating and my face had been out of shape. This is because I’ve been performing in concerts overseas and it won’t be aired on television stations, so I didn’t care about the camera. In the Great Hall, if you don’t have great movements and gestures, the audience won’t see it. When I watch the video of my performance I was also stunned. Why my eyes was opened that wide?

Other news

Faye Wong’s intention of “covering”

On October 17, 2010, Chinese artist Faye Wong posted an entry to Sina Weibo, saying that Tan Te had evoked her intention of making covers. After Gong Linna had heard about this, she responded with an SMS saying:

I don’t know if Faye likes this song, but I think it’s good if there’s someone in the pop society who sings Tan Te.

However, on October 18, 2010, Faye Wong posted another entry, saying that:

I’ve lost my eyeballs but I still can’t find the feel of perturbment (Tan Te), pass~

Banning of CBA

On January 26, 2011, CBA issued a notice, which clearly order DJs of all division’s home team stop using Tan Te as the background music. With this indicated as an offense, DJs who use this song again in the coming days will face strict penalties. CBA delimited Tan Te as “ear-piercing piece of music” in that notice. Many CBA teams played Tan Te in their courts since Tan Te was popular in the net, using the weird rhythm to affect the performance of the visitors. In an interview made for Southern Daily, Gong said Tan Te is a “good song with super attractiveness.”

I interpret the statement of CBA like this: Every popular song has a familiarity. If the players hear the song for the first time, he may be attracted by the rhythm of the song and cannot pay full concentration on the game. This can also tell that Tan Te is a good song with super attractiveness.

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