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Most East and Southeast Asian music–taiko drumming aside–relies less on drums to pound out a back beat and instead put the focus on other kinds of percussion instruments like gongs and bells, that clang out a mood. East and Southeast Asian musicians who play stringed instruments like the shamisen sometimes rock, but most, especially in classical forms, play delicately and with some thought. Though nowadays, with each nation having its own thriving genre of pop music-J-pop in Japan, K-pop in Korea, Cantopop and Mandopop in China, etc.–one may ask the ever-relevant question–when did “thought” become a requirement for a creation to be a wonderful piece of music?
Explore these instruments from East and Southeast Asia: