The Changgu is the fundamental instrument in Korean traditional classic
The originally-named Puk was used to accompany vocal music such as P'ansori.
However, because of its flexible nature and its agility with complex rhythm,
the Changgu is now classified as the basic instrument accompanist in any performances
to cheer up the audience.
The Taegum is a transverse bamboo flute. A major solo wind instrument, it
has been played in almost all types of music since the Shilla
This long flute with a large blowhole covered by a very thin reed membrance
has great flexibility and is very difficult to play. It is different from either the
Western flute, which has a small blowhole, or from the transverse flute of
China and Japan.
As the largest of the transverse wind instruments, the Taegum puoduces a
full, rich tone.
The Pak is a set of six wooden slabs shaped like a folding fan, loosely tied
together at one end by a thong made of deerskin.
The loose ends are thicker than the bound ends. This instrument has been in
use since the days of the Unified Shilla period.
Upon a signal from the conductor of the court orchestra, one clap of the Pak
starts the music:three claps bring it to a close.
In the court dance, it is also employed to signal a change both in dance
movement and the musical accompaniment.
In the farmers' festival music, the lead player(Sang-soe) of this small gong
produces tones that are both loud and high in register while the sounds that
emanate from the second small gong player are softer by comparison.
The mallet that is used to strike the large gong is made of wood and tipped
with cloth or deerskin.
The mallet used for the small gong is thinner and
longer in size, usually made of bamboo or other wood and lacks the cloth or
deerskin wrapping, causing a shrill sound by comparison.
The Ching is struck with a mallet, the tip of which is wrapped in cloth or
deerskin. It is held in the left hand by a gandle suspended by a cord running
through two holes at the top and struck with the right hand.
In the past, the Puk, known to be the oldest folk instrument, was used to
accompany all genres of Korean music.
Because of its dynamic resonance, the Puk's sound has been compared to the
pounding of the earth.
In practice, the Pak is usually placed on the ground
when performed. However, in the case of Samul Nori, the Puk is placed on
The Kayagum is a 12-stringed plucked zither with movable bridges and the
most preferred and representative of all Korean string instruments.
There are two types of Kayagum, that differs in size, construction, and use.
The larger instrument is associated with court and classical ensembels:among
such musical styles are Popkum and Pungyu Kayagum. The body of the
instrument is made from a single piece of paulownia wood with a slightly
convex front :a large rectangular opening allows the soundbox to be
hollowed out from behind.
Stylized "ram's horns" made from a harder wood such as red sandalwood
decorate the lower end of the instrument.
The twelve strings, which are of wound raw silk, run from pegs beneath the
top end of the instrument over low fixed bridge curved to match the body,
across individual movable bridges made from hard wood, to looped cords.
The smaller instrument is belived to have evolved in the 19th century to
accommodate rapid flurries of notes in folk music genres such as Sanjo,
hence it is often called Sanjo Kayagum.
- In use since 371 A.D. the Komungo is an instrument with six strings of
twisted silk that are stertched over a soundboard made of paulownia wood.
The backboard is constructed of hard chestnut wood. The second, third and
fourth strings rest on sixteen graduated frets, the first of which also acts as
a bridge, while the first, tifth and sixth strings are supported by movable
bridges shaped like a crane's foot. The fine tuning of the strings is executed
by round wooden pegs at the base of the instrument, just below the string
holder. The first, fifth and sixth may additionally be tuned by shifting the
movable bridges to the left or light.
The player sits cross-legged and supports the instrument with his right knee
from below and left knee from behind. The body of the instrument streches
away to the player's left.
The strings are struck in both a forward and backward motion with a small
bamboo rod at the upper right end of instrument, the soundboard of the
Komungo is noble and profound. Compared with that of the Kayagum, which
is somewhat feminine in timbre, the tone of the komungo has been described
as masculine in character.
A small drum with a handle, the Sogo is played with a small stick.
It is frequently used in the farmers' dancd and sometimes in the
accompaniment of folk songs.
In farmer's music and dance, the Sogo is struck on the first beat of each
rhythmic cycle, namely, the fundamental beat. Also, when a number of folk
singers are grouped into lead singer and chorus, the leader strikes the Sogo
on the fundamental beat, the chorus follows with the basic rhythmic pattern.
- The Taepyungso stands apart from the rest of the wind instruments
because of its metal body. It has eight holes, two of which is on the
back of the instrument, and produces a sound with a small double reed piece.
Its big, high pitch sound is utilized in louder music such as military music.
Samul Nori(Four instruments play)
| Four percussive instruments of farmer's festival music Kkwenggwari(small gong),
Ching(large gong), Puk(drum), and the Changgu(hourglass drum) were brought indoors
to create a new gener of music that organized various rhythmic gestures into
music the Samul Nori.
The role of the leader varies according to different regions
of Korea in the Kyungki, Choonchong regin the Kkwenggwari leads the group while
the Changgr leads in Southern region.
Once the music begins, the dynamic rhythmic harmony carries this percussion
ensemble into a spiritual high.
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