Japanese listeners rated the expression of joy, anger and sadness in Japanese, Western, and Hindustani music. Excerpts were also rated for tempo, loudness, and complexity. Listeners were sensitive to the intended emotion in music from all three cultures, and judgments of emotion were related to judgments of acoustic cues. High ratings of joy were associated with music judged to be fast in tempo and melodically simple. High ratings of sadness were associated with music judged to be slow in tempo and melodically complex. High ratings of anger were associated with music judged to be louder and more complex. The findings suggest that listeners are sensitive to emotion in familiar and unfamiliar music, and this sensitivity is associated with the perception of acoustic cues that transcend cultural boundaries.