The Oriental riff , also known as the East Asian riff , is a musical riff or phrase that has often been used in Western culture as a trope or stereotype of orientalism to represent the idea of Mainland China , Japan , Korea , Taiwan or a generic East Asian theme. It has also been used to represent generic Southeast Asian themes like those from Thailand , Vietnam , and Myanmar. The riff is sometimes accompanied by the sound of a gong. The Oriental riff and interpretations of it have been included as part of numerous musical works in Western music. The song Shao Pai Long depicts a Chinese hero.