"Classical music" and "art music" are terms that have been used to refer to music of different cultural origins and traditions. Such traditions often date to a period regarded as the "golden age" of music for a particular culture.

The following tables list music styles from throughout the world and the period in history when that tradition was developed:

Southeast Asian

Further information: Music of Southeast Asia

Style Earliest historical period Notes
Gamelan At least 8th century AD.[1][better source needed]
Pinpeat At least 6th century AD.[citation needed]
Mahori At least 14th century AD.[citation needed]


Main article: Indian classical music

Style Earliest historical period Notes
Carnatic music At least 6th century AD (as Indian classical music), split from Hindustani classical music in the 16th and 17th centuries.[2][3]: 249 
Hindustani classical music At least 6th century AD (as Indian classical music), split from Carnatic music in the 16th and 17th centuries.[2][4]
Klasik At least 6th century AD (as Indian and Hindustani classical music), split from Hindustani classical music c. 1860.[4][5] The classical tradition of Afghanistan, ultimately a descendant of Hindustani classical music.[5] Developed in the 19th century by Indian musicians in Afghan courts.[5] Along with Hindustani music theory and instruments, Afghan classical music also uses local Pashtun elements, especially in its performance practices.[5]
Odissi music At least 6th century AD.[citation needed]

East Asian

See also: East Asian cultural sphere

Style Earliest historical period Notes
Nanguan music At least 14th century CE.[6]
Gagaku 6th century CE.[citation needed]
Jeongak 5th century CE.[7]
Nhã nhạc 13th century CE.[citation needed]
Yayue At least 2nd century BCE.[citation needed]


Further information: Music of Europe

Style Earliest historical period Notes
Byzantine music 4th century AD.[citation needed]
Pibroch At least the 17th century AD.[8]
Western classical music 6th century AD.[citation needed]
Troubadour music 12th century AD.

Middle Eastern

Further information: Middle Eastern music

Style Earliest historical period Notes
Persian classical music At least 3rd century AD, with drastic changes in the 16th century.[9][10]
Arabic classical music
Andalusi classical music 9th century AD.[citation needed] Likely practiced since the early 9th century, the musical tradition of Al-Andalus is notable for spreading Middle Eastern and North African musical instruments to Western Europe, where they would become staple instruments of Western tradition.[11] Now practiced in North Africa in the form of the Andalusi nubah,[12] this tradition has also had considerable effect on Ottoman classical music, especially in the Sephardic romance and Maftirim repertoire.[13]
Ottoman classical music At least 3rd century AD (as Persian traditional music), emerged as a unique tradition in the 17th century.[9][10] Now known as Turkish Art Music or Turkish Classical Music

Sub-Saharan African

Style Earliest historical period Notes
Griot The tradition of the djeli


Style Earliest historical period Notes
American gamelan c. 1960[citation needed]
Mahāgīta 16th or 17th century AD.[14] The classical tradition of Burma seems to have begun around the late Toungoo period,[14] with an expansion of Western-influenced repertoire during the colonial period.[citation needed] Organized into various forms based on tuning systems, melodic structure, rhythmic patterns and performance conventions, commonly played genres include the kyo, bwe, and thachingan.[15]


  1. ^ "Learn the History Behind Gamelan, Indonesian Music and Dance". ThoughtCo. Retrieved 2021-12-09.
  2. ^ a b Subramaniam, L. (1999). "The reinvention of a tradition: Nationalism, Carnatic music and the Madras Music Academy, 1900–1947". Indian Economic & Social History Review. 36 (2): 131–163. doi:10.1177/001946469903600201. S2CID 144368744.
  3. ^ Dace, Wallace (1963). "The Concept of "Rasa" in Sanskrit Dramatic Theory". Educational Theatre Journal. 15 (3): 249–254. doi:10.2307/3204783. JSTOR 3204783.
  4. ^ a b Dace 1963, p. 249.
  5. ^ a b c d Doubleday, pg. 3
  6. ^ Thrasher, Alan Robert (2008). Sizhu Instrumental Music of South China: Ethos, Theory and Practice. BRILL. ISBN 978-90-04-16500-7.
  7. ^ "향악(鄕樂)". encykorea.aks.ac.kr (in Korean). Retrieved 2023-05-29.
  8. ^ Haddow, Alexander John (1982, 2003). The History and Structure of Ceol Mor – A Guide to Piobaireachd The Classical Music of the Great Highland Bagpipe. Glasgow: The Piobaireachd Society.
  9. ^ a b Lawergren, Bo (2016). "MUSIC HISTORY". Encyclopaedia Iranica (online ed.).
  10. ^ a b Feldman, Walter (2015). "The Musical 'Renaissance' of Late Seventeenth Century Ottoman Turkey: Reflections on the Musical Materials of Ali Ufkî Bey (ca. 1610–1675), Hâfiz Post (d. 1694) and the 'Marâghî' Repertoire". In Greve, Martin (ed.). Writing the History of "Ottoman Music". Ergon. pp. 87–138. doi:10.5771/9783956507038-87. ISBN 978-3-95650-703-8.
  11. ^ Farmer, Henry George (1978). Historical Facts for the Arabian Musical Influence. Ayer Publishing. p. 137. ISBN 978-0-405-08496-6.
  12. ^ María Rosa Menocal; Raymond P. Scheindlin; Michael Sells, eds. (2000). The Literature of Al-Andalus. The Cambridge History of Arabic Literature 5, series edited by Alfred Felix and Landon Beeston. Cambridge University Press. pp. 72–73. ISBN 978-0-521-47159-6.
  13. ^ Ensemble Bîrûn (2016). I maftirîm e le opere degli ebrei sefarditi nella musica classica ottomana [The maftirîms and the Works of Sephardic Jews in Ottoman Classical Music] (PDF) (in Italian). Fondazione Giorgio Cini. ISBN 978-88-6163-143-4 – via CORE.
  14. ^ a b CHING, TAN LI (2008-07-29). "Transmission of Burmese Classical Music". scholarbank.nus.edu.sg. Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  15. ^ Inoue, Sayuri (2014-12-01). "Written and Oral Transmission of Burmese Classical Songs" (PDF). The Journal of Sophia Asian Studies (32): 41–55.

Further reading