The environment is key to life in Oceania, be that for food, homes or music. This region’s musical instruments vary depending on the specifics of migration or the isolation of particular island communities. But whether created from wood or rock, man-made or shaped by nature, Oceanic instruments are all closely connected to mother earth.
Through the predominance of percussion instruments, African music developed unique and complex polyrythms. These rhythms were exposed to the rest of the world through the
colonization of Africa and the deportation of its people across the globe, and they came to hugely influence modern music, from Jazz to Samba, and R&B to rock.
Musical instruments are created through a long evolutionary process of musicians and manufacturers continuously influencing each other. Europe has historically, with the flow of cultural exchange enabled by the close proximity and migrations of diverse cultures, provided a platform for new ideas to accelerate. With industrialization, Europe saw the creation of increasingly complex instruments.
The countries of western Asia have long formed a road for travellers journeying between Europe and the Far East. In some of these countries Orthodox religious authorities discouraged the development of musical instruments so musicians became reliant on instruments brought in from the east or west. Other areas in the region did develop their own instruments, such as the bow stringed instruments of the Middle East which after travelling east and west eventually evolved into the erhu and the violin.
The regional development of eastern Asia has historically centered around Chinese culture. Political, military, trade and cultural exchanges have formed similar traits among different countries in the region. While various musical instruments throughout eastern Asia might look similar, use similar materials or be played in similar ways, they typically have different names due to linguistic differences in the region. Every nation has distinct cultural characteristics and custom, which creates unique musical traditions in each culture.
American native music mostly consisted of singing accompanied by drums and flutes. But the arrival of Europeans and African slaves created a brand new musical culture. By using local materials to build musical instruments from their homelands, which native inhabitants also adapted to play their own music, the new mixed populations reinvented many instruments. Some of them, like the Andean harp, the guitarron or the Appalachian dulcimer are today emblematic of the American nations they were created in.