Korean musical tradition has historically been influenced by cultures from all over Asia. Whilst China, as Korea’s immediate neighbour, played a particularly dominant role in early medieval musical forms, many types of foreign music were actively encouraged in Korea throughout the first millennium AD. Buddhist chant (pomp’ae) spread from India, whilst the traverse flute and the five-stringed lute can be traced back to northern Central Asia, to what is now Mongolia and Kazakhstan. In turn, certain forms of musical traditions found their way to Japan via the Korean peninsula, illustrating the fluidity of cultural transmission in the early Middle Ages.

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