Korean Folk Songs

The music of Korea is over 1000 years old. Isang Yun – a musician teaching in Berlin included Korean songs in his course which was later brought back to Korea. Like all other strong influences, war definitely had its impact on Korean music. Korean music is mostly influenced by shamanistic and Buddhist thoughts. The dance, drum and the sinawi dance music is clearly evident in folk music.

The Dongbu folk songs are unique in various areas and are typical about the styles. The songs from the Jeolla and chungcheong area are known as Namdo folk songs. They are full of drama and the collections are tasteful. The Pansori and the Sanjo were created out of Namdo music. The music of Jeju from Jeju Island is simple and rich in their compositions. The Pansori is actually a one man show which involves dialogues, enactment, dance and a drummer assists with the rhythm for the singer. The Pansori is done at a stretch for eight hours. It is actually required to make the voice hoarse by shouting, so as to become a Pansori singer. The props include a handkerchief and fan.

A troupe of thirty musicians performs the Nongak. The Sanjo is a tempo based playing which accelerates and moves to a high tempo. The musical instruments of Korea include Kayagum which can be played in the solo style, duet and as a group of three. The instrument has to be placed on the lap with the tail on the ground level. Tanso is the wind instrument and played along with the flute. The original bamboo of Tanso is now replaced by resin. The sound produced is pure melody. Yanggum is made of bamboo and is a string instrument almost as big as a piano. The fourteen keys which is now increased to the count of twenty six keys. Most of the string instruments of Korea in the contemporary folk times are made of silken threads.

There are bowed, plucked and struck varieties in the folk string instruments that encompass the Geum, Bipa, Sohaegeum and Yangguem. There are flutes, horns and oboes and mouth organs and also the jeok, so, Hwa, Dae piri and Nagak in the wind instrument folk variety. There are other chimes, gongs and cymbals of various varieties in the percussion musical instruments. Folk songs are still evident in the villages. Rituals, ceremonies and festivals mark the occasion with traditional Korean folk’s songs. Though a evolution is also seen in the making of musical instruments, traditional Korean folk songs bring pure melody.