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Art of East Asia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

East Asian art includes:

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  • Music of East Asia - China, Japan, and Korea
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When people talk about Asian music, or Asian culture, what they’re typically referring to is East Asia. The countries of China, Korea, Japan, and Mongolia. Now geographically, Mongolia is a part of east asia, but culturally and especially musically Mongolian music is more similar to central Asian and even eastern European forms, so we’ll talk more about their traditions another China, Japan, and Korea all have very distinct music cultures and musical traditions. But there are enough similarities that it’s worth talking about. And it starts in ancient china. For centuries, China was seen as the center of culture, science, and philosophy. In fact the cultural impact of China throughout much of Asia could easily be compared to the cultural influence that ancient Greece or ancient Rome had in Europe. Contact between China, Japan, and Korea began as far back as 1000 BC, with evidence of technology like rice cultivation and metallurgy being traded between the 3 countries. Later, Japanese and Korean students and emissaries would travel to China to study, to soak in the culture and return to their home countries with new scientific discoveries, ideals of Confucianism, and of course, new music. Now because of this, certain musical styles, music philosophies, and musical instruments can be found throughout East Asia. Shared musical instruments include the vertical flute, transverse flute, globular flute, oboes, free-reed mouth organs, 3-string plucked instruments, zither, lute, fiddle, and various drums. Musical philosophy in traditional East Asian culture is a very interesting subject. Stemming from the ideals of Confucius, traditional east Asian philosophy says that the best way to utilize music was not for fun or for entertainment, but for self-cultivation and transcendence. A way to improve yourself. This can still be seen today in traditions like the Japanese komusō and the same ideals are likely the precursor to all Zen philosophy. Many traditional musical forms in East Asia are based on the pentatonic scale, a five note scales, but the types of pentatonic scales and the use of those scales varies from place to place and tradition to tradition. This can perhaps best be seen in representative folk music compositions from each of the three countries: Molihua from China, which makes use of the major pentatonic scale, Sakura of Japan which uses the minor pentatonic scale, and arirang of Korea which uses a major pentatonic scale with a different interval pattern. When European colonial powers began arriving in the 1500’s, the cultivation and performance of traditional music saw a steady decline. Instead, westernization became synonymous with modernization and a trend toward preferring western culture and western ideals took hold throughout most of East Asia. After the end of world war 2, Japan, followed a few decades later by Korea, have risen to become the cultural centers of East asia. Japanese forms of rock, pop, and electronic music can now be seen all over the world. An k-pop has become a huge cultural force that influences fashion, culture, and music worldwide. So this is just a brief look at what is a huge and complex topic. What did I miss? Tell me about down in the comments, or better yet, start a discussion over on our music forum at And if you liked this video, don’t forget to give it a thumbs up and subscribe for more music and culture.

See also

This page was last edited on 2 May 2018, at 10:30.
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