Happy Mid-Autumn Festival! Celebrated in many East and Southeast Asian cultures, this traditional festival is also known as the Moon Festival. It is believed by the Chinese that the moon is the brightest and fullest on this day. While admiring the large, glistening moon, here are some suggestions of music related to the moon that you can enjoy.
Cathy Ang – Rocket to the Moon
To start off with a song that’s rather befitting of the occasion, we have a musical number released last year in the Netflix film Over the Moon. The film surrounds the legend of Chang’e and the Chinese Moon Festival tradition. This imaginative number is sung by main character Fei Fei, expressing her desire to prove the existence of the moon goddess Chang’e.
Weng Ching-hsi – The Moon Represents My Heart (月亮代表我的心)
A Chinese classic that cannot be more suited for the Moon Festival, this song was made popular by Taiwanese singer Teresa Teng back in 1977. This love song that continues to be sung decades later is often cited as one of the most beloved Chinese songs of all time.
Dvořák – Song to the Moon
Song to the Moon is an aria from Dvořák’s opera Rusalka. In this aria, Rusalka, daughter of the Spirit of the Lake, sings to the moon of her longing for a handsome young prince. The opera is based on three fairy tales – Little Mermaid, Undine, and The Sunken Bell.
Bart Howard – Fly Me to the Moon
Frank Sinatra’s 1964 recording of this song was closely associated with NASA’s Apollo space program! It was played on the Apollo 10 which orbited the Moon, and the Apollo 11 before man’s first Moon landing. Originally titled ‘In Other Words’, this song became better known as its title today after rising in popularity.
Debussy – Clair de Lune
This tranquil piece was inspired by a poem of the same title by Paul Verlaine which depicts a sad and beautiful moonlight. It is the third and most famous movement in Debussy’s Suite bergamasque, titled ‘Moonlight’ in French.
Beethoven – Moonlight Sonata
One of Beethoven’s most well-known compositions, it was a popular piece even during his time. However, this Sonata was not originally titled ‘Moonlight’! That title came about when German music critic and poet Ludwig Rellstab likened the impression of the first movement to the moonlight shining on Lake Lucerne. Its popular title only came to be used universally in the late 19th century, decades after Beethoven’s death.
Schumann – Mondnacht
Mondnacht, or ‘Moonlit Night’, is part of Schumann’s Liederkreis, Op. 39, or ‘Song Cycles’. Liederkreis is a series of musical works with words by poet Joseph von Eichendorff that capture snippets of different landscapes. The text of this delicate song describes a breeze brushing through fields, and the murmurs of the forest.
Richard Rodgers – Blue Moon
Now an undeniable classic, Blue Moon sings of a heartwarming tale of love overcoming loneliness. This song has been covered by many artists throughout the years. Some well-known versions include those by Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, The Marcels, Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan.
Buddy Kaye – Full Moon and Empty Arms
You may have heard this song sung most famously by Frank Sinatra, or perhaps you’re more familiar with Bob Dylan’s cover. But, did you know it was actually based on Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, which has inspired many other popular tunes like Eric Carmen’s All By Myself?
Henry Mancini – Moon River
This romantic tune is the opening title of the 1961 hit film Breakfast at Tiffany’s. A well-known scene in the film shows Audrey Hepburn singing the song while playing on a guitar. This timeless masterpiece is also the song American singer Andy Williams is best known for. He sang the opening bars of the song in every episode of his variety TV program, The Andy Williams Show.
Boffalongo – Dancing in the Moonlight
Writing the song while recovering from a vicious gang attack, composer Sherman Kelly had envisioned “an alternate reality, a dream of a peaceful and joyful celebration of life”. The best-known rendition of this easy pop tune may be the 2000 version by Toploader that became a worldwide hit. However, it was first recorded by Kelly’s band Boffalongo in 1970.
Bruno Mars – Talking to the Moon
This simple yet soul-wrenching piece by American singer-songwriter Bruno Mars is accompanied by lyrics that describe one’s loneliness. With instrumentation consisting mostly of drums and piano, the emotional R&B ballad was released as part of his debut studio album.
From well-loved classics that are unforgettable through the years, to fresh modern tunes that capture our ears, we can be certain of one thing. There will always be new music written about the Moon for the young and old. We hope this list has been an interesting read, and more importantly a fun listen!
Want to learn how to sing or play one of these tunes? At Aureus Academy, Singapore’s Leading Music School, you can take your pick from a wide variety of music with our specially-tailored one-to-one music classes! Our teachers are well-versed in teaching multiple genres from classical to pop, so you can enjoy an all-rounded musical experience. Want to find out more? Book a Free Trial Lesson with us now!
Xin Min is a Content Creator at Aureus Group and her love for music spurs her to spread the wonders of this art form through her writing. She finds her passion in a multitude of musical genres from jazz, classical to broadway, and is constantly on the lookout for the next piece that will fascinate her. Besides having fun with words, she spends her hours engaging in other creative art projects and running her fingers across her piano keyboard.