Songs are a kind of short, rhyming composition. It is a form of artistic creation combining literature, music, and even dance which can be sung. The difference between songs and poems in ancient China is that the former could be made into music and sung, whereas the latter could not. In a broad sense, the term includes children’s ballads and folk ballads. In a narrow sense, songs and ballads are different. Songs have a fixed melody and musical accompaniment, while ballads do not. Songs were created mostly by folk musicians, such as “A Slow Song” of the Han Dynasty and the folk song “Song of the Chile” during the Northern Dynasties. A small number of songs, however, were written by members of the literati, like “Ode to the Great Wind” by Liu Bang and “The Midnight Melody of the Land of Wu” by Li Bai. Songs are one of the early forms of ancient Chinese poetic art and were generally classified as yuefu (乐府) poetry in ancient China. In modern times, they are called poetic songs as a part of poetry.
Words sung with the accompaniment of music are called songs, and mere singing and chanting are called ballads. (Mao’s Version of The Book of Songs)