I’ve been spending a little time digging on the Internet into music from around the world. The aim wasn’t so much to find music that I’d like as to get more perspectives on the styles in various countries. It’s like looking into an unfamiliar language; even if I don’t really get it, I can get a glimpse into another approach.
The first thing that I discovered is that when you search for music from any country, you’ll find a lot of stuff that sounds like Anglo-American pop. That’s learning, too; it shows the extent to which our culture has affected others. But it really wasn’t what I was looking for, so I did more digging. Here are a few interesting bits, in case you’re inclined to try your own exploration:
The Internet Chinese Music Archive: Some of the pieces in this collection of instrumental music sound strange to me, but I like some, such as the “Broad Road Songs.” With different instrumentation I might like it better; it features a stringed instrument whose tone is sometimes harsh.
From Mali, “C’est un S.O.S.!” on YouTube. This really doesn’t count as discovery of a foreign style, since it’s rap, but I hardly ever like rap, so it’s foreign to me. I’m impressed by the seriousness of the message expressed. Besides, the music does seem to have elements of African style.
Didgeridoo music on YouTube. If someone wanted to create music for aliens from another planet, this might be a good place to start.
Greek dance music on YouTube. Here I’m definitely on my homeworld, but it might not be yours. I grew up on 7/8 time; this helps to explain the tune I lifted for “The Hyper Hilton.”
“Sahara Essence (instrumental Arabic music)” on YouTube. Hearing this after the Greek dances reminded me that Greek traditional music really is Middle Eastern music, and this piece doesn’t sound at all foreign to me. Klezmer isn’t far from that musical tradition either.