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List of culturally linked qualities of music

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This is a list of aesthetic principles of music. It enumerates the various qualities by which music is judged aesthetically.

  • blues: The blues is an African American musical genre and quality of music that reflects an emotionally genuine soul and expresses melancholy, loneliness and tragedy[1]
  • conyach: Conyach is a musical quality that provokes the venting of emotions in listeners, associated with the music of Scottish Travelers.[2]
  • dor: Dor is a "pleasant feeling of melancholy" especially evoked by the doina music [3]
  • duende - Duende is a quality of Spanish music, especially flamenco, and is a complex emotional quality [4]
  • masala: Masala is a Mumbai term that translates as spice and refers to a spice mixture and to locally produced movies and music
  • Sakit Hati: (lit. Indonesian for sick liver) Sakit Hati is an Indonesian term, associated with the degung genre; it denotes a sense of wistful long and sadness.[5]
  • mehna: Mehna is a term associated with Algeria raï music and is said to be similar to duende [6]
  • salsa: Closely associated with the salsa genre, the term salsa denotes a "wild" and "frenzied" musical experience, and was used as a vocal interjection to acknowledge the musical excitement of a performance. This usage can also express a sense of pan-Latin cultural identity, based around the "hotness" and "spiciness" of Latin culture.[7]
  • saudade: Saudade is a Portuguese term, referring to an important element of fado; saudade is a mood, described as "a vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably can not exist, for something other than the present, a turning towards the future; not an active discontent or poignant sadness, but an indolent dreaming wistfulness", with roots in "Islamic fatalism, sailors' loneliness, and the unrequited love which was the perennial theme of troubadour poetry" [8]
  • soul: Soul can refer to the soul music genre, but is also a quality of music or of performance which evokes an emotional state and is reflective of African American performance techniques [9]
  • swing: Swing can refer to the swing dance and swing jazz, a genre of popular dance music, and a quality of emotionally and culturally genuine music in the African American community [9]
  • tezeta: Tezeta is an Ethiopian musical term, evocative of melancholy, nostalgia and bittersweet longing, it was originally a traditional song, then a genre, a musical mode and marker of cultural identity [10]


  • Broughton, Simon and Mark Ellingham (eds.) (2000). Rough Guide to World Music, First edition, London: Rough Guides.
  • Gallop, Rodney (1936). Portugal: A Book of Folk-ways, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press., Aubrey Bell, in this work, is cited in Manuel, Popular Musics, pg. 274
  • Manuel, Peter (1988). Popular Musics of the Non-Western World, New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Manuel, Peter (1988). Popular Musics of the Non-Western World, 46–50, New York: Oxford University Press. = ISBN 0-19-506334-1.
  • Morales, Ed (2003). The Latin Beat, Da Capo Press.
  • Ritchie, Fiona (2004). The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Celtic Music, New York: Berkley Publishing Group.


  1. Reich, Howard. Mariza lifts fado to higher level. Chicago Tribune. URL accessed on October 13, 2006.
  2. Ritchie, pg. 80
  3. Broughton, Simon, "Taraf Traditions" in the Rough Guide to World Music, pgs. 237 - 247
  4. Fairley, Jan, "A Wild, Savage Feeling in the Rough Guide to World Music, pgs. 279 - 291
  5. Bass, Colin, "No Risk - No Fun!", in the Rough Guides to World Music, pg. 131 - 142
  6. Morgan, Andy, "Music Under Fire" in the Rough Guide to World Music, pg. 413–424
  7. Manuel, pg. 46; Morales, pp 56 - 59
  8. Manuel, Popular Musics, pg. 119: Manuel is the source of the "Islamic fatalism... troubadour poetry", and he sources "a vague and constant... indolent dreaming wistfulness" to Aubrey Bell, in Gallop, Portugal, 262
  9. 9.0 9.1 Singer and Friedman, cited in Manuel, pg. 46
  10. Ethiopian Blues & Ballads. The Planet. URL accessed on September 30, 2006.
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