The Chinese don't seem to use tones in music, or at least alter tones to go with the melody. How do people understand the lyrics? Is it context? Are there tones that I simply cannot hear, or can listeners recognize a combination of sounds/syllables as a certain word without tones?
If it is the latter and toneless sounds can be distinguished as words, does that render tones somewhat obsolete?
Apologies if these questions have an obvious answer that I'm missing, haha.