Meihua dagu, a kind of drumbeat performance, is a branch of the art form Dagu. Meihua dagu, also called Meihua tune, flourished in Beijing and Tianjin towards the end of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and the beginning of the Republic of China. It originated from Qingkou dagu, becoming popular in northern Beijing at the end of the Qing Dynasty.
Meihua dagu underwent adaptations in the 1920s by Jin Wanchang, a Beiing dagu artist who made dagu sweet and lovely in melody.
Lu Chengke, a famous Tianjin stringed instrument player, learned popular tunes and improved dagu melody and musical effects in accompaniment. He trained girls to sing Meihua dagu, including Hua Sibao, Hua Wubao, and Hua Xiaobao (Shi Wenxiu). Lu developed a woman's voice to sing the high pitch, which resulted in a soft and sweet style. It became known as Lu or Hua School and differs from the Jin Wanchang School, which is known for its delicate, minute, refined, elegant, bold, vigorous, and beautiful renditions.
Meihua Dagu songs are presented as short pieces, and use the Beijing dialect. More famous works include the Thoughts of Husband Surging Over the Mind of Wang Er Jie and Daiyu Buries Flowers.
After the 1960s, Meihua dagu went through a period of formation in vocal music. Routine opening words in the slow movement were dropped. The changed style of using few words that dragged on and on in singing. Fine music filled the air. The melody became more elegant and pleasing to the ear.
Young artist, Ji Wei, performed the Two Springs Reflect the Moon, which left a deep impression on audiences. Ji Wei, born in 1956, sings with a beautiful, mellow, and sweet voice and acts naturally with a poised manner. She is credited with having made many innovations. She studied Jingyun dagu first. Later she studied Meihua dagu under Shi Wenxiu and Hua Wubao.