How does one call this kind of movie soundtrack, examples are:

  • Eric Serra - Akta (fifth element)
  • Eric Serra - What's happening out there (Leon the professional)

and maybe

  • Christophe Heral - Propaganda (Beyond good and Evil)
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    Just an FYI - In modern usage (at least in America) the term Oriental is considered out of date. The preferred adjective is Asian. Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 14:28
  • @ChrisSunami That is very confusing, why is that so? I connect anything else but the mentioned music style, with asian. Commented Nov 13, 2015 at 21:31
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    I believe it's because it's Eurocentric. It literally means "East" (of Europe). You still occasionally hear it used, but most younger Americans find it outdated, at the least, and some even consider it offensive. You'll sometimes hear "Orientalist" to describe things that are faux-Asian --perhaps this genre qualifies. Commented Nov 14, 2015 at 2:53
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    Oriental means to the east, Occidental means to the west. Derived from latin. For some reason this has become to be seen to have racial pejorative in the US.
    – Patrick
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 11:18

2 Answers 2


I guess you could call this Oriental Soundtrack. But "Middle Eastern Fusion" or to be more generic and official "World Music" could do the thing. As this is not some traditionnal oriental music and the aim of the music is movies, these are really fusion-like musics. Cheers

  • I guess this is not official? Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 21:41
  • Well really I never saw any official genre for this kind of music and I know a bit about musical classification. I think that people refers to this kind of music by naming it "oriental-like" or simply "oriental". This kind of music are influenced by many things, they can use occidental drum sound as well as Darbouka or sitar, so really I don't see any other name than the "Oriental" name. Hope it helped a bit :)
    – JSmith
    Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 21:56
  • well not exactly. I would call oriental the main title of many many sub-genres. As I am looking for some kind of a database (or at least a keyword to look for), that tag unfortunately is way to broad Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 22:30
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    Well i'll leave you with this leads, "Middle Eastern Fusion","Oriental Fusion" or "World Music" sorry I can't find better
    – JSmith
    Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 22:40
  • Just one last thing, Itunes are really strict about genres classification (even if it's generic) and they place this kind of music under the classification "soundtrack"
    – JSmith
    Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 22:49

Orientalist is an adjective used, generally critically, to describe art produced by non-Asians towards the goal of imitating Asian and Middle Eastern art. Such art can have its own strengths and merits, but is generally considered stereotypical and non-authentic. The term is most often applied to the 19th century European visual arts craze for all things "exotic," but is occasionally used for more recent art, including music.

Asian Fusion is a less critical term describing music (or other arts, notably cooking) by artists of any origin, that combines pan-Asian and non-Asian elements (example here).

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