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Asian music encompasses numerous musical styles originating in many Asian countries.
Music is an art form and cultural activity whose medium is sound organized in time. General definitions of music include common elements such as pitch, rhythm, dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture. Different styles or types of music may emphasize, de-emphasize or omit some of these elements. Music is performed with a vast range of instruments and vocal techniques ranging from singing to rapping; there are solely instrumental pieces, solely vocal pieces and pieces that combine singing and instruments. The word derives from Greek μουσική . See glossary of musical terminology.
Asia is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern and Northern Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the continent of Europe and the continental landmass of Afro-Eurasia with both Europe and Africa. Asia covers an area of 44,579,000 square kilometres (17,212,000 sq mi), about 30% of Earth's total land area and 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area. The continent, which has long been home to the majority of the human population, was the site of many of the first civilizations. Asia is notable for not only its overall large size and population, but also dense and large settlements, as well as vast barely populated regions. Its 4.5 billion people constitute roughly 60% of the world's population.
Musical traditions in Asia
Kyrgyz music is nomadic and rural, and is closely related to Turkmen and Kazakh folk forms. Kyrgyz folk music is characterized by the use of long, sustained pitches, with Russian elements also prominent.
Tajik music is closely related to other Central Asian forms of music. The classical music is shashmaqam, which Uzbeks also developed classical music of Tajiks and made their distinctive own. Southern Tajikistan has a distinctive form of folk music called falak, which is played at celebrations for weddings, circumcisions and other occasions.
The music of the nomadic and rural Turkmen people is closely related to Kyrgyz and Kazakh folk forms. Important musical traditions in Turkmen music include traveling singers and shamans called bakshy, who act as healers and magicians and sing either a cappella or with instruments such as the two-stringed lute called dutar.
The music of Taiwan reflects the diverse culture of Taiwanese people. Taiwan has undergone several economic, social and political changes through its cultural history and Taiwanese music reflects those issues in their own way. The music of the country has adopted a mixed style. As a country rich in Chinese folk culture and with many indigenous tribes with their own distinct artistic identity, various styles of folk music are appreciated in Taiwan. In addition, Western classical music and pop music in various forms are highly appreciated by the Taiwanese population. Taiwan is an important Mandopop hub.
Music of China refers to the music of the Chinese people, which may be the music of the Han Chinese as well as other ethnic minorities within mainland China. It also includes music produced by people of Chinese origin in some territories outside mainland China using traditional Chinese instruments or in the Chinese language. It covers a highly diverse range of music from the traditional to the modern.
The Music of Hong Kong is an eclectic mixture of traditional and popular genres. Cantopop is one of the more prominent genres of music produced in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and the Hong Kong Sinfonietta regularly perform western classical music in the city. There is also a long tradition of Cantonese opera within Hong Kong.
Asian Underground is a term associated with various British Asian and South Asian Canadian musicians who blend elements of Western underground dance music and the traditional Asian music of their home countries in South Asia. The first well-known mention was the compilation album Anokha - Soundz of the Asian Underground released in 1997 and masterminded by Talvin Singh and Sweety Kapoor. It is not a strict musical genre per se, since the specific sounds can vary wildly. Most of these artists are the children or grandchildren of immigrants and have grown up in Western culture, but still have a strong Asian background through their families.
Bangladesh claims some of the most renowned singers, composers and producers in South Asia. Bangladeshi music spans a wide variety of styles. Music has served the purpose of documenting the lives of the people and was widely patronized by the rulers. It comprises a long tradition of religious and regular song-writing over a period of almost a millennium.
The music of Bhutan is an integral part of its culture and plays a leading role in transmitting social values. Traditional Bhutanese music includes a spectrum of subgenres, ranging from folk to religious song and music. Some genres of traditional Bhutanese music intertwine vocals, instrumentation, and theatre and dance, while others are mainly vocal or instrumental. The much older traditional genres are distinguished from modern popular music such as rigsar.
The music of Indonesia demonstrates its cultural diversity, the local musical creativity, as well as subsequent foreign musical influences that shaped contemporary music scenes of Indonesia. Nearly thousands of Indonesian islands having its own cultural and artistic history and character. This results in hundreds of different forms of music, which often accompanies by dance and theatre.
The music of Laos includes the music of the Lao people, a Tai ethnic group, and other ethnic groups living in Laos. The traditional music of Laos has similarities with the traditional music of Thailand and Cambodia, including the names of the instruments and influences and developments. To categorize Lao music, it seems helpful to distinguish between the nonclassical folk traditions, the classical music traditions and its basic ensembles, and vocal traditions.
Music of Malaysia is the generic term for music that has been created in various genres in Malaysia. A great variety of genres in Malaysian music reflects the specific cultural groups within multiethnic Malaysian society: Malay, Chinese, Indian, Dayak, Kadazan-Dusun, Bajau, Orang Asli, Melanau, Kristang and others.
The music of Central Asia is as vast and unique as the many cultures and peoples who inhabit the region. Principal instrument types are two- or three-stringed lutes, the necks either fretted or fretless; fiddles made of horsehair; flutes, mostly open at both ends and either end-blown or side-blown; and jew harps, mostly metal. Percussion instruments include frame drums, tambourines, and kettledrums. Instrumental polyphony is achieved primarily by lutes and fiddles.
The music of Afghanistan comprises many varieties of classical music, folk music, and modern popular music. Afghanistan has a rich musical heritage and features a mix of Persian melodies, Indian compositional principles, and sounds from ethnic groups such as the Pashtuns, Tajiks and Hazaras. Instruments used range from Indian tablas to long-necked lutes. Afghanistan's classical music is closely related to Hindustani classical music. Lyrics throughout most of Afghanistan are typically in Dari (Persian) and Pashto. The multi-ethnic city of Kabul has long been the regional cultural capital, but outsiders have tended to focus on the city of Herat, which is home to traditions more closely related to Iranian music than in the rest of the country.
Music of Kazakhstan refers to a wide range of musical styles and genres deriving from Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan is home to the Kazakh State Kurmangazy Orchestra of Folk Instruments, the Kazakh State Philharmonic Orchestra, the Kazakh National Opera and the Kazakh State Chamber Orchestra. The folk instrument orchestra was named after Kurmangazy Sagyrbayuly, a well-known composer and dombra player from the 19th century.
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The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to music:
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The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Asia.
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