Traditional Asian Music
Much of what people hear as traditional Asian music has a high, tinny quality that comes from Asian instruments. It may also have thin female vocals. This style of music can be found in China, Vietnam and the mountains of Kyrgystan. Ancient Asian musicians used stringed instruments like the zither and wind instruments like pipes and flutes. These instruments were traditionally played solo with group performances coming along later.
Asian culture also has a deep-rooted history of folk music when rural people made instruments and practiced music as entertainment.
Religion has also played a large role in the music of Asian countries. Indian cultures have a history of religious chanting that is continued in many places to this day. Music also plays a role in Buddhism and other traditionally Asian religions. Many Buddhist prayers are musical in nature. Spiritual persuasions that rely on meditation often incorporate music to help relax the mind. Music is also used for processionals announcing the arrival of religious leaders and to celebrate spiritual holidays and events.
Modern Asian Music
Modern music in Asia, like many other places around the world, is a mix of old and new. There are still many religious organizations using chanting and traditional instruments in worship services. There are also many people throughout Asia using ancient instruments and playing in the old style.
However some Asian countries are meccas of modern music. Young, fashionable pop stars are being churned out in Japan and have become popular in international markets as well. In India, Bollywood has created a style of music and dance that it as unique as it is catchy and that has also become popular all over the world. Bollywood style music combines old style Indian music with upbeat rhythms and songs that speak of modern Indian culture.