The question of the universality of musical emotions is the source of much discussion but empirical evidence remains scarce. This study aimed to (a) explore what emotions/affects may be reliably commu- nicated through music within and across cultures, and (b) to explore how this communication is achieved by means of universal and culture-specific performance strategies. Three professional bowed- string musicians from each of 4 different musical cultures (Western classical, Swedish folk, Hindustani classical, and Japanese traditional music) were instructed to express 11 different emotions/affects (affection, anger, fear, happiness, humor, longing, peacefulness, sadness, solemnity, spirituality, and neutral) by performing short pieces of music. All musical stimuli were judged by 3 groups of listeners from Sweden, India, and Japan (N = 30/culture). All stimuli were further analyzed with regard to a wide variety of acoustic (e.g., register, tempo, dynamics and timbre) and musical (e.g., rhythm and tonality) cues using the MIR toolbox. Results showed that anger, fear, happiness, and sadness received the highest recognition rates and were generally recognized across cultures, whereas affects like longing and spirituality were not well recognized. Also, listeners were somewhat more successful when judging stimuli from familiar, compared to less familiar, musical cultures. The acoustic analyses revealed many similarities, and some differences, across cultures with regard to the patterns of cues used to communicate the various emotions/affects. Discussion will focus on the ways in which emo- tional expression in music, and speech, depends on a combination of universal and culture-specific factors.