I am proposing here a list of books and films about the music of the world. I hope these books can help a traveler understand the countries concerned.
Zhu Xiaomei: The Secret Piano (2012). A harrowing story of music and love in China during the first decades following the 1949 Communist Revolution.
Cook, Nicholas: Music, A Very Short Introduction (1998) by Nicholas Cook.
Adlon, Percy: Mahler on the Couch (2002). Mahler, Freud, Gropius and Klimt set the tone for a return to the Belle Epoque.
Cellar Jones, Simon: Eroica (2003). A dynamic narrative of the day music changed forever.
Girard, François: The Red Violin (1998). Centuries of Italian history through the eyes of a ... violin!
Ichikawa, Kon: The Burmese Harp (1956). A Japanese soldier at the end of WW II finds a new life in music.
Kurosawa, Kiroshi: Tokyo Sonata (2008). The power of music when the going gets tough.