A long standing riddle that has vexed me for years is the origin of that stereotypical “asian”riff in music. It has always amazed me that 9 notes could have come to explicitly refer to Asia, even though there doesn’t seem to be a known source that everyone refers to. There really aren’t many musical cliches and I’ve always been fascinated how this one came to be. Especially when it hardly sounds like Chinese music in the first place!
This problem had great longevity since it’s difficult Googling sounds. But thanks to Luke Lalonde for finding this link, the entirety of this matter has been laid bare and this question is now solved.
Link contains music terms but is very accessible.