The article attempts to systematize the processes taking place in Chinese musical culture in the first half of the XX century. The main direction of European art, manifested in this period in China - Romanticism. Using the example of the development of chamber vocal genres, it is shown how the aesthetic attitudes of Romanticism-the reliance on national traditions and the desire to synthesize the arts - were manifested in the works of Chinese composers. The methods of musical and poetic analysis, as well as the method of comparative analysis, are used to identify common trends between the formation of new music in China and the processes of formation of «young» European music schools in the first half of the XIX century. The reasons for the lag in the development of some national cultures and the regularities of their accelerated development and overcoming the time distance are revealed. The most typical works of chamber-vocal genres of Chinese music of the specified period are used as the material for analysis.