The use of musical instruments, such as clay flutes and bone whistles, has been traced back to the earliest documented historical period in China (Shang dynasty, 1765-1121 BCE).
Here, a Javanese gamelan (court orchestra) performs at a traditional wedding ceremony in Indonesia. A gamelan relies on intricate music played on expensive, exquisite bronze instruments to convey their community's values, ideals, and self-image. What the gamelan performs depends on context.
This manifestation of the Hindu god Shiva depicts the deity holding a small drum, which symbolizes the audible space that fills the universe, the sound of creative energy. Here, rhythm, drum, and music are manifestations of fundamental Hindu beliefs.
Huun-Huur-Tu is a musical group from Tuva, which is situated along the Mongolia-Russia border, that is known for their traditional throat singing.
Music and dramatized storytelling are the tools of memory in places like the Indonesian island of Java. Here, a traditional Wayang, or Javanese, performance depicts Hindu epics or popular cultural legends through the use of leather puppets whose shadow is cast upon a thin fabric.