Experience New Cultures Through Music


Music is a universal language. It transcends every culture, color, and language. Even if you do not understand the words, music can still speak to your soul. This is the reason why music in different languages is popular worldwide. For example, the K-pop wave has affected not just Asia but western and European countries as well.

Traditional music is part of every country's culture. Music tells about the life, passion, dreams, hopes, and despair of the people. Have you ever heard traditional music that seemed to transport you to another time and place? Next time you travel to another country, make sure to make your experience more immersive by getting to know its traditional music and musical instruments.

Often, when you hear about music lessons, you instantly think of piano, guitar, and even drum lessons. Expand your repertoire and explore traditional instruments from other countries. Here are some notable musical instruments from around the world:

Korea's Haegeum

Also known as the haekeum, Korea's two-stringed vertical fiddle is usually part of a traditional ensemble. The haegeum uses a bow made from hardwood and strung with horsehair. The bow is passed over the two strings tuned apart by a fifth to create and produce sounds. The two strings are attached to a soundboxmade from paulownia wood.

The musician sits with his legs crossed and holds the haegeum standing on the left knee. The musician holds the bow with the right hand, while the left hand holds the strings against the neck to control the pitch of the sound. The musician then moves the bow horizontally on the vertical strings.

This traditional instrument was introduced to Korea by China, but it is said to have originated from Mongolia. It is used to play traditional Korean court music, shaman and folk music, and sanjo music. You can listen to a traditional and folk music concert at Art Hall Gayat Village in Gangnam.

Turkey's Zurna

The zurna is a woodwind instrument usually played in pairs. These double-reed instruments are oftentimes played outdoors and in special events such as weddings, sending off men to the military, and sports events. These loud and high-pitched instruments are usually played with a big drum called the davul. The zuma, with its eight keys, can cover a range of two octaves.

It is made of wood, commonly peach or apricot. Nowadays, it is played in village festivities and celebrations.

India's Esraj

India's bowed and stringed instrument is usually played in the country's central regions. It can be played as a solo instrument or as an accompaniment. It is made up of two parts: the fingerboard (called the dand) and the soundbox, which is called the pyala.

The body of the esraj is made of sagwan or tun wood, which is covered with goat's skin leather. It has four strings, which are attached to the main peg of the instrument and at the ghurach. A gourd is attached to the instrument to make the tone more stable and richer. To play the esraj, you will need its bow, which is called gaz. The esrajis now very rarely used.

The Spanish Guitar

What's so special about the Spanish guitar? Well if you do not know, Spain introduced the six-stringed modern guitar to the world. The Spanish guitar has a sound. The very beautiful and unique style of Spanish music makes it so remarkable that you cannot mistake it for anything else.

Spanish guitarists are well-known for their fast picking techniques. Visit Andalusia where the modern guitar was first made. Visit Seville, Andalusia's sunny capital, and enjoy authentic Spanish music. Enjoy a flamenco performance on the city streets and get lost in the beauty of music.

China's Ehru

The ehru is China's most popular musical instrument. It is a two-stringed fiddle played with a bow. It has no fingerboard, and the strings are stretched over a resonator. You will most likely see an ehru when you visit China. Non-professional entertainers usually play it on the streets and in public parks. This portable and inexpensive instrument can be used as a solo musical instrument or as part of traditional Chinese orchestras. It has a range of three octaves and can imitate the sounds of horses and birds.

The next time you visit a new country, do not forget to explore and experience its musical heritage. It will let you appreciate the people and culture in a deeper and more personal level

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