Music is an important cultural aspect for all four nations in the world. A variety of musical instruments, such as the tsungi horn and pipa, are played as well as a multitude of songs. People from all nations enjoy playing music, and it serves as a principal source of entertainment.
- Main article: Songs in the World of Avatar
Songs are a traditional and cultural part of the world. Songs heard in the episodes are often integrated into the plot lines to provide humor and in Sokka's case, comic relief. Some of the four nations' songs are ancient and passed down through the generations while others are simply popular folk songs. It is hard to tell whether or not each culture has its own distinct folk songs as the ones performed in the series were either associated with the Fire Nation or the Earth Kingdom. Songs are the most commonly seen musical compositions in the four nations, as opposed to full orchestral pieces. They seem to be mostly folk songs that are easy to enjoy and understand, making them simpler to remember for those traveling from place to place.
The djembe is a skin-covered hand drum, shaped like a large goblet and meant to be played with bare hands. The djembe can produce different types of sounds, depending on the area of the skin which is hit and whether the player uses their hand, palm, or fingers.
The dramyin or dranyen is a long-necked, double-waisted, and fretless instrument. It does not have a round sound hole in middle, but rather rosette-shaped ones like a lute. A dramyin was used by Chong to play songs with his nomad companions.[nb 1]
The drum consists of one membrane that is stretched over a shell and struck directly with parts of a player's body. It is played in the Northern Water Tribe, Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom.
The dungchen(Air Nomads in their ritual music. It consisted of a long, collapsible brass tube; because of its length, the end would usually rest on the ground, with the middle portion fixed to a wooden stand. Each horn is capable of producing only one note. The sounds produced by the horn are very low, creating an enormous echo effect when played in the mountains. When augmented by airbending, they can be incredibly loud. A dungchen was used by Aang to escape from Admiral Zhao's trap.) was a long metal horn used by the
The erhu (), also known as the Chinese fiddle or Chinese violin, is a two-stringed instrument played with a bow. It consists of a long, thin neck with tuning pegs at the top and a resonator at the base. It is commonly played in the Fire Nation.
The flute is a reedless wind instrument that produces its sound from the flow of air against an edge. It is played in the Fire Nation and the Earth Kingdom and, in the Avatar World, is classified as a woodwind. The Air Nomads also played a pan flute-like instrument.
The liuqin () is a four-stringed plucking instrument used to complement short or simple folk songs. It is made from brown wood and is rounded at the bottom, while the top is triangular. The tip of the instrument is rounded and has four cone-shaped tuning pegs made from stone. Liuqins are commonly found throughout alleyway shops in Ba Sing Se.
The morin khuur is a bowed instrument that bears a horse's head. It produces a sound much like a horse neighing or a breeze blowing. The Flamey-Os utilized this instrument during performances.
- Main article: Pipa
The pipa () is a plucked instrument with a pear-shaped body, played in a similar fashion as the lute. It has four to five silk strings and five to thirty frets, depending on the region in which it was produced. These differences give the instrument a vast range of sounds.
The ruan () is a lute with a fretted neck that often comes in different sizes and pitches, its main feature is the round moon-shaped form. It is seen in a musical instrument shop at Ba Sing Se.
- Main article: Tsungi horn
The tsungi horn is a musical instrument used in the traditional music of the four nations. The curved and highly polished horn is cast from metal and is believed to have originated in the Fire Nation, where it is most often played. The sound of a tsungi horn is emitted from an instrument called the duduk.
The veena was a plucked string instrument with a hemispherical body, played by Guru Pathik when he appeared in Aang's hallucination, singing "The Chakras Song". Pathik was shown with six arms, holding the veena is reminiscent of the Hindu goddess of knowledge, Saraswati.
The zheng (), also called the guzheng, is a plucked, zither-like instrument. It has movable bridges and fifteen to twenty-five strings, allowing the player to customize its sound and strength. This instrument was on sale at an instrument stand in Ba Sing Se.
The zhong (), is a bronze bell, played by hitting with a small hammer to produce sound. It is usually played in larger musical ensembles. It was seen in a musical instrument shop at Ba Sing Se.
Bumi has demonstrated a degree of skill with the flute, and was able to calm down a dark spirit by playing a cheerful tune. However, when he tried to calm more dark spirits the same way, they attacked him. Bumi's father, Aang, is also known to have played the flute.
Chong and Lily
Fire Nation music teacher
Not much is known about this man other than the fact that he taught music at the Fire Nation school and, like all Fire Nation teachers, harbored a great dislike for dancing, believing it to be reckless behavior.
- Main article: The Flamey-Os
This young Fire Nation band played several instruments, including the pipa and the morin khuur. Although they only appeared once, it was suggested The Flamey-Os played at Chan's party and that "word spread after that cave party" being that the music sounded the same. The band's members are school-aged kids who dream of touring the world.
- ↑ Chong's instrument of choice was referred to as a pipa by the older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com.