The sounds of Korea

Touch screen of the exhibition, Sara Guasteví, 2017, From the collection of: Museum of Music of Barcelona

This exhibition proposes an approach to the sounds of Korea, and pays special attention to musical practices within a social framework, offering the possibility not only of observing the instruments, but also of manipulating some of them and learning to play them in the workshops that taked place during the exhibition.

Organized by the Museu de la Música de Barcelona and the National Gugak Center of Seoul, with the support of Korea Foundation and the collaboration of Fundación La Fontana and SAE Institute Barcelona.

Presentation, 2017, From the collection of: Museum of Music of Barcelona

The materials have been organized around of the musical practices and although these have diverse purposes inside of the same social fabric, have been presented in three areas that serve their primary purpose. Each category has been identified with a color according to a pattern.

- In red the musical practices and their sonorous objects whose main purpose is of ritual type (be these religious or not).

- In yellow are identified the sound objects and musical practices focused on social interaction.

- In blue we find the instruments and musical practices mainly related to one's own aesthetic enjoyment of music.

Ritual, Sara Guasteví, 2017, From the collection of: Museum of Music of Barcelona

RITUAL

The ambit groups the practices whose main purpose is related to ritual situations, religious or otherwise.

Jeryeak, National Gugak Center, From the collection of: Museum of Music of Barcelona
Jeryeak
Jeryeak 제례악. Music practice that includes the rites to Confucius, Munmyo jeryeak 문묘제례아악, of Chinese origin (aak아악), and those used for royal ancestral rites, Jongmyo jereak 종묘제례향악, that includes two suites of Korean origin (hyangak향악). Along with song and dance, the complete instrumental set includes the ajaeng, bak, bu, chuk, daegeum, dangpiri, eo, haegeum, hun, janggu, jeok, jeolgo, ji, pyeongyeong, pyeonjong, so, taepyeongso, and the yak.
Bulgyu eumak, National Intangible Heritage Center, From the collection of: Museum of Music of Barcelona
Bulgyo eumak
Buddhist rituals include music in different situations. The chants have a central place, both the simple and repetitive recitation of sutras, yembul, and especially the complex melismatic chants, beompae, of great solemnity and performed by specialist monks. Both are accompanied by moktak or hand jong bells. In certain celebrations the monks perform a series of ritual dances, jakbeop.
Seungmu, National Gugak Center, From the collection of: Museum of Music of Barcelona
Seungmu
Literally "monks' dance", this secularized busita dance is characterized by the figures created by the sleeves of the tunic "jangsam". Considered one of the most beautiful dances of this culture, it is catalogued as intangible heritage of Korea.
Shaman, Simon Mills, From the collection of: Museum of Music of Barcelona
Shaman
A troupe of seseummu, hereditary shamans, performing a large-scale ritual (gut).
Daechwita, National Gugak Center, From the collection of: Museum of Music of Barcelona
Daechwita
Daechwita 대취타. A music practice that emerged towards the end of the Joseon dynasty (1392-1897) to accompany royal processions. Literally translated as "great blowing and hitting", it is played on wind instruments: nabal, nagak, taepyeongso; and percussion: jabara, jing, yonggo and the ulla, which has fallen into disuse today. The Republic of Korea Army currently uses daechwita for the changing of the guard at Seoul's Gyeongbok and Deoksu palaces.

This "lotus flower dance" was performed together with hakmu, "crane dance", at cutting banquets by two little dancers emerging from lotus flowers.

Aesthetic, Sara Guasteví, 2017, From the collection of: Museum of Music of Barcelona

AESTHETIC

The ambit groups the practices whose main purpose is related to the aesthetic enjoyment of music and its codes.

Gungjung eumak, National Gugak Center, From the collection of: Museum of Music of Barcelona
Gungjung eumak
Gungjung eumak궁중음악. Instrumental accompaniment pieces for song and dance (song is no longer used today) for court banquets and celebrations. Those that originated in China, dangak당악, are distinguished from those of Korean origin, hyangak향악. Of great solemnity and big format, the instruments used include the ajaeng, bak, daegeum, piri, haegeum, janggu, jwago, pyeongyeong, pyeonjong, and the sogeum, among others.
Pungnyu eumak, National Gugak Center, From the collection of: Museum of Music of Barcelona
Pungnyu eumak
Pungnyu eumak 풍류음악. Literally translated as "wind and flow", this is the name given to music enjoyed by comfortably-off, aristocratic classes. Possessing an elegant and carefully-crafted style, includes both instrumental suits and vocal music based on higly valued poetry by male or female soloists. Among the first kind the most representative piece isYeongsanhoesang 영산회상 suite. The most elaborated and ornamented vocal styles are gagok 가곡, including orchestral accompaniment, the more simple sijo 시조 and gasa 가사 which includes the singing of long narration.
Sanjo, Horacio Curti, 2017, From the collection of: Museum of Music of Barcelona
Sanjo
Sanjo 산조. Musical practice involving a solo melodic instrument accompanied by the janggu. The melodic element comes from folk music, influenced by pansori and shamanic music. It was originally created for the gayageum, and is today practised on instruments such as the ajaeng, daegeum, danso, geomungo, haegeum and the piri. While sanjo literally means “scattered melodies”, its structure consists of an uninterrupted progression of melodies over a chain of rhythmical patterns configured from greater to lesser complexity, and from slower to faster tempo, a complete performance could take up to a full hour.
Pansori, Horacio Curti, 2017, From the collection of: Museum of Music of Barcelona
Pansori
Pansori 판소리. Epic stories narrated in song (sori) by a male or female soloist, that emerged in the 18th century in popular meeting places (pan). The soloist conveys the story through song (sori), spoken narration, gesticulation, and the help of a handkerchief or fan. The singer is accompanied by a soribuk performer, who marks out the songs' rhythmic patterns and interacts, as does the audience, through vocal expressions of approval and support such as by shouting "eolssigu!" (얼씨구!) The soloist employs a huge variety of vocal techniques to achieve a broad tonal spectrum, and a hoarse, rough voice is a typical feature. Five of the traditional repertoire's twelve original pieces are currently preserved.
Samulnori, Sara Guasteví, 2017, From the collection of: Museum of Music of Barcelona
Samulnori
Samulnori 사물놀이. In 1978, four folk company musicians led by Kim Deoksu brought the rural rhythms of nongak / pungmul to a Seoul stage. This was called Samulnori, “performance of four objects”, since it used the four basic pungmulnori instruments: the buk, janggu, jing, and kkwaenggwari. Differing from its initial danced performance, this interpretation was played seated on the floor, a new format that proved highly popular, especially among young urban audiences. New groups were formed, both in varied Korean locations and internationally, all maintaining the name samulnori, which became a genre in itself. The five canonic samulnori pieces, created by the original group, embrace the rhythms of different Korean regions with great virtuosity.
Interaction, Sara Guasteví, 2017, From the collection of: Museum of Music of Barcelona

INTERACTION

The ambit groups the practices whose main purpose is related to the interaction between all those who take part in the music making.

Pungmulnori, Sara Guasteví, 2017, From the collection of: Museum of Music of Barcelona
Pungmulnori
Pungmulnori 풍물놀이. Also known as nongak 농악, “peasant music”, this is the summation of musical practices that were associated with land work, ritual, and entertainment. Essentially rhythmical, with its main components being percussion and dance, it may also include elements of theatre and song. Originally, the peasant themselves, attired in brightly-coloured dress and showy hats, performed on the buk, janggu, jing, kkwaenggwari , and sogo while dancing, accompanied on the taepyongso. A more recreational current practice, pangut 판굿, has been developed in urban settings performed by semi-professional players.
Minyo, Sara Guasteví, 2017, From the collection of: Museum of Music of Barcelona
Minyo
Minyo 민요. A folk-song practice that explores themes reflecting the lifestyles of its practitioners. It relates directly to emotions, such as a sense of nostalgia and resignation denoted by the concept of han. A good example is Korea's most popular song, Arirang. Minyo is considered to have five broad stylistic variants, which are based on their regional origin: Gyeonggi, Namdo, Seodo, Dongbu, and Jeju. Each style is defined by certain scales and modes, as well as a characteristic vocal projection in which vibrato fulfils an important expressive role. The most used instruments include: the janggu, sogo, hyangpiri, daegeum and gayageum.
Korean music instruments donated to the Museu de la Música de Barcelona, Esther Fernández, 2019, From the collection of: Museum of Music of Barcelona

Korean instruments donated to the Museu de la Música in Barcelona.

Museu de la Musica de Barcelona
Credits: Story

Virtual exhibition:
Sara Guasteví

Texts:
Rafael Caro Repetto
Horacio Curti

Videos:
Ariadna Pujol

Acknowledgment::
National Gugak Center
Simon Mills
Korea Foundation

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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