top of page
  • Zoe Lim

Explore 4 Genres of Music in Different Countries

a chinese peking opera performer

Music is the universal language of mankind. It transcends all boundaries and acts as a bridge between cultural heritages and different backgrounds. Most of the time, it doesn't matter if we don't understand the lyrics. What matters is, the music we listen to are able to evoke emotions from us. It could be a sense of calmness or a sense of comfort. Sometimes, it may even bring forth the tears and the rage that we've been keeping inside of us. Music is an expression, loved by all kinds of people around the globe. Some countries even have their own type of popular music, which is what we are going to explore here in this article with 4 different countries.

1. Kpop - South Korea

Heavily inspired by J-pop (Japanese Pop) and popular Western music, K-pop originated in South Korea in the early 90s. Contrary to popular belief, K-pop is not just 'pop music', but an experimentation of different styles and genres of music. One K-pop song could be influenced by Latin music and then, Heavy Metal the next. Besides the music itself, K-pop is usually very performance-centered, with the girl and boy groups trained rigorously to master dance routines while having to sing at the same time. In South Korea, they are referred to as 'idols' - a person who is an all-around entertainer.

Current popular K-pop groups :

  • BTS

  • Blackpink

  • Red Velvet

  • Twice

  • (G)I-dle

Current popular K-pop soloists :

  • Sunmi

  • Chungha

  • IU

  • Taeyeon

2. Metal - Finland

In 2016, US President Barack Obama jokingly suggested that Finland's political scene was linked to its music landscape.

'I do want to point out that Finland has perhaps the most heavy metal bands in the world per capita and also ranks high on good governance. I don't know if there's any correlation there', he says.

It is true that Finland has the most heavy metal bands per capita in the world, with 54 bands per 100,000 inhabitants. Some suggests that it is due to Finland's long and dark winter which evokes a certain feeling among the people, in which they could find comfort in metal music. Others, simply likened the similarity between metal music and traditional Finnish folk music. Whatever the reason, there is no denying that there is a popular heavy metal culture there in Finland. With metal dominating the radios and the charts, one can say that Finland is a fertile ground for metal music.

Current popular Finnish metal bands :

  • Nightwish

  • Children of Bodom

  • Amorphis

  • Before the Dawn

  • Sonata Arctica

3. Reggae - Jamaica

Reggae is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 90s. It was a fusion of ska and rocksteady, in which reggae formed later with the use of bass as a percussion instrument. When one thinks of reggae music, he or she would usually associate the music with the colors green, yellow and red. The colors are of the Rastafarian movement, in which Reggae is deeply linked to. The genre of music is widely received as a voice of the oppressed as the songs bore the weight of increasingly politicized lyrics that covers and addresses social and economic injustice.

Current popular Reggae musicians :

  • Leno Banton

  • Runkus

  • Mortimer

  • Jaz Elise

4. Peking Opera - China

Peking Opera or Beijing Opera is a dominant form of Chinese opera that combines singing, dialogue, acrobatics and martial arts. Its performances usually tell stories of emotion and relationships between characters. The two main instruments that are used in Peking Opera are :

  • Jinghu : 2-string instrument played with a bow

  • Yueqin : 4-string instrument that is plucked

  • Sanxian : 3-string instrument that is plucked

  • Suona : Chinese flute

  • Gongs and symbols

Costumes and make-up are also an integral part of a Perking Opera performance. The actors' faces are usually painted with colors and patterns that reveal their personalities. For example, red indicates devotion, bravery and uprightness while gold/silver usually indicates gods or spirits.

Famous masters of Beijing Opera :

  • Mei Lanfang

  • Cheng Yanqiu

  • Shang Xiaoyun

  • Xun Huisheng


Zoe is an avid fan of all kinds of music. Her primary instrument is the guitar but she is always passionately learning how to play other instruments such as the drums and keyboard. She is currently playing the bass guitar in a band and has been routinely involved in music since she was a child.

35 views0 comments
bottom of page