The word “music” comes from the ancient Greek “muses” – the so-called patron goddesses of the arts and sciences. The musical traditions of different peoples have their own distinctive features. Being the most important and integral part of culture, they characterize the customs and mores of the nation.
Traditions of Russian music
The ethnic composition of Russia is very diverse, Russian music combines Slavic, Finno-Ugric, Turkic, Tatar, Mongolian prototypes. Russian folk musical traditions unite folklore, orally passed down from generation to generation, Russian romance, and the work of bards. Among the genres traditional for Russia are classical music, epic, lyrical, dance melodies, wedding and ritual songs.
The musical art of different regions of the country – northern, western, southern, central – has an original character, but all Russian folk music has a modal structure of scales, which differs from Western European with its octave system. Sad and lingering, or cheerful and inviting to dance, Russian songs and instrumental melodies are very harmonious.
All-Russian instruments are accordion, balalaika, violin, wind instruments. Some sub-regions are characterized by such instruments as gusli, domra, horn, zhaleyka beep, tambourines, multi-barreled flute (kugikly).
The first musical traditions in European countries arose under the influence of Ancient Rome. Most of the ancient Greek melodies were dance melodies, and the songs were sung in one voice. Of the string instruments, the lyre, cithara, sambuca, psaltery, forming, trigon (a kind of corner harp) were known, and of the wind instruments – the flute, syringa, aulos.
Later, Muslim Spain became the conductor of Arabic music, and Italy the source of secular music. A number of new destinations were brought in from the Nordic countries. So, from Denmark, Norway and Sweden came such traditional genres for these nations as gammaldan (a kind of dance songs) and ballads. Modern European musical traditions are distinguished by an extraordinary diversity of styles and trends.
Features of oriental music
In oriental music, one can see the embodiment of the ideas of two world religions: Buddhism, which arose in ancient India, and Shinto, based on animistic beliefs and being the polytheistic religion of Japan. Their general orientation is worship of nature, the transfer of the spiritual state of man.
Musical culture of China
Musical traditions as such have existed in China for several millennia: playing instruments, songs, dances have always been of great importance in the life of this people. Even the words “music” and “beauty” are denoted by the same Chinese character.
National Chinese musical instruments, depending on the material from which they are made, are divided into:
- silk (strings are made of silk).
Traditional Chinese music has bright features that distinguish it from the folklore of other countries: predominantly monophonic performance, the predominance of contemplative moods over action, as well as an unusual modal organization: a diatonic (seven-step) scale and a chromatic scale of 12 sounds.
Japanese national music
Due to the isolation of this island country, Japanese folk music is a rather distinctive phenomenon. Among its features are:
- The predominance of vocals, which makes up 90% of all works.
- Moderate sound intensity. The effect is achieved by finely adjusting a single tonality, not by alternating forte and piano.
- Approaching the sounds of nature – the sound of rain, wind, water flow.
- Frequently changing rhythm and tempo.
- Intervals unusual for European hearing.
National Japanese musical instruments are:
- Fue is a family of bamboo flutes;
- Shamisen is a small three-stringed plucked instrument;
- The taiko is a big, fat drum.
- Suikinkutsu is a jug with holes over which water flows. Getting inside the jug, water makes it sound like a bell.
Features of Indian music
The music of India is one of the significant components of global culture. The folk music traditions of India are diverse and include folklore, pop and classical music. The basis of any of these varieties, be it the religious music of the Middle Ages or modern songs, is the impact on the inner world of a person.
Indian musical compositions are distinguished by their melodiousness and magnificent rhythm, they fascinate and immerse you in a trance-like state.
The effect is achieved through the use of special ethnic musical instruments, such as:
- Dumbek (darbuka) – a small drum with an indefinite pitch;
- Zurna is a woodwind instrument, which is a tube with several holes and a bell;
- Bansuri – bamboo flute;
- Sitar and sarod are stringed-plucked instruments from the lute family;
- Sarangi – stringed bowed instrument;
- Tabla is a small steam drum;
- Singing bowls are an ancient musical instrument from the group of bells, made from an alloy of several metals.
US musical traditions
The United States of America is one of the multicultural countries, its musical traditions have developed from a combination of Indian, Mexican, African and European cultures (the latter was brought by the English, French and German colonizers).
Popular music genres all over the world today – country, blues, salsa, soul, jazz, ragtime – come from America. National American musical instruments are considered to be:
- plucked string instruments autoharp, banjo, guitar, dulcimer;
- pincollo – a small flute with 5-6 side holes,
- trutruku is a wind instrument shaped like an alpine horn.
An analogue of an old Russian ethnic instrument – a comb with tissue paper superimposed on the teeth – in America is a wooden or metal cylinder with a hole covered with a paper membrane.