Asian music is a broad term that encompasses the diverse musical traditions and genres of the continent of Asia. Asia is home to many different cultures, languages, religions and ethnic groups, each with their own unique musical expressions and influences. Some of the major musical regions of Asia include:
- East Asia, which includes China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia and Taiwan. East Asian music is characterized by the use of pentatonic scales, stringed instruments such as the pipa, erhu, koto and gayageum, plucked zithers such as the guzheng and yangqin, bamboo flutes such as the dizi and shakuhachi, drums such as the taiko and janggu, and gongs and cymbals. East Asian music also features complex polyphonic vocal styles such as throat singing and overtone singing, as well as various forms of opera, folk songs and pop music.
- South Asia, which includes India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. South Asian music is influenced by the ancient Vedic traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism, as well as by Persian, Arabic and Turkish influences. South Asian music is based on the concepts of raga (melodic modes) and tala (rhythmic cycles), and uses instruments such as the sitar, sarod, tabla, harmonium, bansuri, veena and tanpura. South Asian music also encompasses various genres of classical music such as Hindustani and Carnatic, devotional music such as bhajan and qawwali, folk music such as bhangra and dandiya, and modern styles such as Bollywood and fusion.
- Southeast Asia, which includes Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and the Philippines. Southeast Asian music is influenced by the indigenous cultures of the region, as well as by Indian, Chinese, Arabic and Western influences. Southeast Asian music is characterized by the use of gamelan (percussion ensembles), gongs, xylophones, metallophones, flutes, lutes, zithers and drums. Southeast Asian music also features various forms of vocal music such as wayang (shadow puppet theater), dangdut (pop-folk music), luk thung (Thai country music) and pinoy pop (Filipino pop music).
- Central Asia, which includes Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Central Asian music is influenced by the nomadic traditions of the region, as well as by Persian, Turkish and Mongolian influences. Central Asian music is characterized by the use of long-necked lutes such as the dutar, tanbur and rubab, bowed instruments such as the kamancheh and ghijak, flutes such as the ney and surnay, drums such as the doira and daf, and jew’s harps such as the komuz. Central Asian music also features various forms of epic poetry such as the dastan (oral narrative) and maqam (musical mode), as well as folk songs and pop music.
- West Asia or Middle East , which includes Iran , Iraq , Syria , Lebanon , Israel , Palestine , Jordan , Saudi Arabia , Yemen , Oman , Bahrain , Kuwait , Qatar , United Arab Emirates , Turkey , Armenia , Azerbaijan , Georgia , Cyprus . West Asian or Middle Eastern music is influenced by the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia , Egypt , Persia , Greece , Rome , Byzantium , Arabia , Islam , Judaism , Christianity . West Asian or Middle Eastern music is based on the concepts of maqam (musical modes) and iqa (rhythmic patterns) , and uses instruments such as the oud (lute) , qanun (zither) , nay (flute) , santur (hammered dulcimer) , darbuka (goblet drum) , riq (tambourine) , duduk (double-reed pipe) . West Asian or Middle Eastern music also encompasses various genres of classical music such as radif (Iranian repertoire) and mugham (Azerbaijani repertoire) , sacred music such as adhan (call to prayer) and zikr (Sufi chanting) , folk music such as dabke (Levantine dance) and ashik (Turkish troubadour) , and modern styles such as tarab (artistic expression) and pop .
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