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Korean Drumming

Debora Esayas- Gotta

Period 2
According to antiquealive.com, “Samulnori (사물 놀이)is a style of Korean
drumming featuring four percussion instruments.” The literal definition
of samulnori is 4 & play, hence the name. The first instrument is the buk, a
korean drum. The second instrument is the jjangu, an hourglass shaped
drum. The third instrument is the jing otherwise known as the gong. And
last but certainly not least there is kkwaenggwari, small version of the
gong. Its music and style derives from folklore and church music. This
music style was invented back in 1978 by Kim Duk Soo. “ The principle of
Samulnori is the fluctuation between tension and relaxation”
(antiquealive.com). The music style has since developed and have become
an international phenomena. The Samulnori is mainly based on the
principles of yin and yang.
According to wikipedia.org, buk(북) is a traditional korean drum. Even
though they are all drums, buk is used to refer to the drums of the
pictures below. The instrument is made from leather. It also is used for
folk music. The appearance in the buk sometimes changes based on the
occasion and the location where it is (was) being played. For instance,
when it was played in the courts, one was able to see the nails on the rim.
However, when it was used for folks music the leather is usually tied up.
The way it was played also differed as performers in the court used a drum
stick (북채) while performers in folks music just used their right hand. This
instrument has been in use for a long time dating back to the three
kingdoms back in 668 AD. With time, it has evolved to become the most basic
and popular drum in its category.
According to wikipedia.org, KKwaenggwari is a small flat gong
that is mainly used in folks music. It is made up of brass and is
played with a hard stick. The makeup and material of the drum
make for a metallic and high pitched sound. This instrument
performer is essential when performing samulnori, for instance,
as they are the leader of the entire band.When instructor’s teach
one how to play this instrument the sounds and rhythmic made
are called gaeng gaeng (꽹꽹).The music produced from this drum can
be collaborated and combined with multiple different activities like
dancing. The stick used to make the sound is a mallet. This creates the
distinct sharp sound synonymous to kkwaengwari. This instrument goes
by different depending on the area or who one iAdditionally, hitting the
Kkwaenggwari at a slant produces better sounds.
The Jing is one of the biggest drums from the drum I chose to
present. It can go by several names like “Geum,” and “Geum-jing. Because
of its rather simplistic sounds many see it as the lazy performer/drum.
Even though, it plays only a few sounds, the Jing has an important sound.
Performers can use the sound it makes to pace and measure themselves.
This drum is used as the indicator of the first beat of each jangdan, or
rhythm (koreanmusic.org). A stick must be used to create the loud noises
of the jing. The stick itself has a mallet wrapped in cloth. This allows the
drum to make deep and soft sounds while making them echo and linger.
This drum is not native or exclusive to korea(한국) as it is used in Buddhist
music and royal ancestral music to name a few.
Origins of Korean Drumming
According to wikipedia.org, Korean drumming became especially popular
during the Joseon period. The Joseon period was marked with the
integration of Chinese Confucianism in Korean society. It was founded by
Yi Seong Gye and was active from July 1392 to October 1897, an impressive
five century reign. During this time period, korean norms and culture was
developed significantly. For instance, etiquette and societal attitudes
were heavily shaped under the Joseon (조선) dynasty. The drums were used
for royal court music. The drums used for this music were more likely
than not janggu, jwago, yonggo, gyobanggo, jingo, jeolgo, and nogo. Fun
fact, the janggu was also used for folk tale music. This diversified use of
the instrument led to the communization of said drum in korean Music.
Modern Korean society would not be the same without the Joseon
Origins of Korean Drumming
It is said that before korean drumming was played for the royals, it had
humble beginnings. It was played in fields by farmers. The development and
growth of this music style was during the Joseon Dynasty, as was
mentioned in the earlier slide. The farmer’s recreational music was
eventually moved into mainstream Korean society. This led to the
adaptation of Korean drumming all over the kingdom of Korea. With its
evolvement came the incorporation of dancing and singing into Korean
drumming. With it now becoming a staple of Korean culture, certain
traditional outfits are associated with certain korean drums and music.
For instance, Samulnori requires one to wear a hanbok with a certain
outerwear and ribbon attached around the torso. This invention of
farmers from back several centuries has now become an activity of both
formal and informal competition and celebration. Many now purposely
try to learn drums and specialize in certain instruments.
Drumming Rhythms: Jajinmori
The Jajinmori is based on four simple beats. Each four beat has 3
components. This adds up to 12 different beats in total. This music
is usually accompanied with some vocal singing. These two basic
partnerships make for a tremendous number of music(음악)
varieties. In other words, this music can be adapted into a variety
of ways. For instance, a certain beat could be emphasized or
played longer while the others are kept short and sweet.
However, sometimes some beats are omitted so that a different
version of the song is played. Yet the basic Jajinmori rhythm is kept
and many different music pieces are created from it. The
simpleness of Jajinmori could be the reason for its popularity and
Drumming Rhythms: Jangdan
The rhythm is the pattern strong, regular, and repeated pattern of
movement and sound. The rhythms in Korean drumming are as diverse as
the drums themselves. It can follow an either soft or firm rhythm with
irregular or regular intervals. The literal translation of Jangdan is also
rhythm in Korean. According to merriam webster, “A tempo is defined as
the speed at which a passage of music is or should be played.” The basic
tempos are as follows: jinnyang, jungmori, jungjungmori, and jajinmori.
These tempos reflect the various emotions experienced by human beings.
This includes but is not limited to: happiness, sadness, anger etc. The
occurrence and situation the are played in also impacts the tempo and
the rhythm. For example, a graduation (눈금) would have a different
rhythm than a funeral.
Goals & Expectations
Korean drumming is an activity I (나는) thoroughly enjoy. I had an
amazing experience the past two times I played Samulnori for
both my korean I & Korean II class. Every year, I have seen the
korean level above us play nanta. I personally believe that Nanta
is the cool kids drum. The rhythm, the movement of the players,
and the sound make for an exciting and dramatic experience. I
expect to have a lot of fun this year, as it is my last korean class
(수업)meaning that a lot things that i do are lasts like korean
(한국어) drumming. I actually also want to be in the front row
when we perform so that my classmates can see me. This will
require a lot of training and knowledge of the song. I have never
played buk before so it will be a fun learning experience. I am
truly excited.
● https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_drum
● https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseon
● https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kkwaenggwari
● https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jing_(instrument)
● https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janggu
● https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buk_(drum)
● http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/program/program_tmusic_deta
● http://www.koreamusic.org/LangEn/TextDetailView.aspx?Menu
● https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rhythm