Korean Traditional Musical Instruments

Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) has an extensive collection of Asian traditional musical instruments. It includes musical instruments from China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Philippines and Thailand. This entry is about Korean traditional musical instruments.

Cultural Center of the Philippines collection of Korean Traditional Musical Instruments

Cultural Center of the Philippines collection of Korean Traditional Musical Instruments

Ching is basically a large gong made from iron and played with a drum-stick wrapped in cloth. Ching instrument was originally used in the military. Presently, it is widely used in a variety of music including chi’wit’a (band music for royal processions), nong-ak (farmers’ music), musok music (shamantic ritual music), and Buddhist music.

Ching

Ching

Kkwaenggari is a small gong or hand gong. Unlike the ching, it is played with an unwrapped drumstick. This creates a much clearer and high-pitched sound. This instrument us used in nong-ak (farmers’ music) and musok music (shamantic ritual music).

T’aep’yongso was imported from China in the late 14th century, during the late Koryo or early Choson Dynasty. With eight finger holes. The t’aep’yongso is played by inserting a reed in the blowhole while blowing. This instrument is also called a conical oboe. It is mostly used in nong-ak (farmers’ music).

Kkwaengggari and T’aep’yangso

Kkwaengggari and T’aep’yangso

Kayagum dates back to the Kingdom of Kaya in the 6th century. It has 12 strings of twisted silk and all strings are rested on movable bridges carved in the shape of a crane’s foot. It also has a soundboard made of paulownia wood and a backboard made of chestnut wood. In playing the kayagum the strings are pressed downward to obtain such things as vibrato and microtonal shading. The player of the kayagum uses no rod or plectrum, but obtains the fundamental tone only by plucking or flicking motion of fingers. 

Kayagum

Kayagum

Komun’go has six strings of twisted silk over a soundboard made of paulownia wood and a blackboard of hard chestnut woo. The strings are struck in both a forward ang backward motion with a small bamboo rod at the upper right end of the instrument. Primitive forms were discovered inside ancient Korguryo tombs in various locations. It is used to accompany lyric songs, as well as in chamber music and sanjo (solo music with percussion accompaniment).

Komun’go

Komun’go

Ajaeng is similar to komun’go and kayagum but it differs in that it has seven strings resting on seven movable bridgers shaped in the foot of a crane. That ajaeng is played with a bow of bare rosined forsythia wood producing a rasping sound which prompted the Chinese to dub this instrument as a “scratch zither”.

Ajaeng

Ajaeng

Changgo has a wooden body with leather drumheads. The changgo is played by banging the drumheads with two sticks, one in each hand. It is most used in nong-ak (farmers’ music) and also as accompaniment to folk songs and chapka (semi-art songs).

Changgo

Changgo

Buk is a shallow double-headed barrel drum, with both sides covered with leather. This instrument is played by banging the drumheads with a stick made from hardwood. Buk is played by hanging Buk is mostly used in nong-ak (farmers’ music).

Buk

Buk

Sogo, meaning “a small drum”, is the smallest type of drum with or without handle. Female dog skin is used for both sides of the drum. Sogo is played with a knob attached to a drum rim consisting of leather covered with a small thin cloth. This instrument is used for farmers’ music and folk music. Dancers often carry and play them while they dance. 

Sogo

Sogo

Other Korean Traditional Musical Instruments

Other Korean Traditional Musical Instruments

 

To read more, please read Philippines Traditional Musical Instruments, Chinese TMI, Indian TMI, Indonesian TMI, and Japanese and Thai TMI.

Where: Asian Traditional Musical Instruments, 4th Floor, CCP Main Building, Pedro Bukaneg Street, CCP Complex, Manila

When: Asian Traditional Musical is open from Tuesdays to Sundays, 10am to 6pm.

How: From Vito Cruz Station of LRT Line 1, walk to Pablo Ocampo Street. Turn right on Pablo Ocampo Street and walk straight. In 2-5 minutes, you will arrive at the jeepney station of orange jeepneys that will take you to the CCP Complex.

How much: Asian Traditional Musical Instruments entrance fee: Students, P20 (US $ 0.44) and non-students, P30 (US $0.66), which is inclusive in the fee for Museo ng Kalinangan Pilipino (Museum of Philippine Culture).

 

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