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Music is found in ceremony and important community activity in all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Cultures.Aboriginal songmen are revered custodians of the songs which represent rich and distinct oral traditions in each community.These are complemented by state youth orchestras, and hundreds of community based choirs, orchestras and ensembles.Classical music in Australia is derived from our European history and traditions.It is generally notated, written for specific instruments, and follows defined structures.Contemporary classical or ‘new music’ does away with and redefines some traditional approaches.
The Australian Government website provides further information on Indigenous music.
Often improvised, it ranges from traditional styles including swing and Dixieland, to highly original forms of contemporary art music.
Australia has a small but high quality jazz scene, with a number of respected city venues, jazz clubs in major centres around the country, and a large number of festivals.
There is a large range of professional associations, rights collection bodies and development agencies in this sector.
You can access information on these organisations in our music industry section.
In the twentieth and 21 centuries Indigenous musicians have played a vital role in defining Australia’s contemporary music identity, in building bridges with the broader Australian community, and in actively contributing to our cultural expression internationally.