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Hanguk Eumak refers to the Korean Music. There are two categories in Korean Music. One is meditative and calm, which was enjoyed by the court and the literati, and the other category is exciting and leads a merry mood, which was enjoyed by the common people.
The typical instance of the former is Jongmyojeryeak played at religious ceremonies of Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), and the instances of the latter are Samulnori (music played on 4 different percussion instruments) and Pansori (Korean Opera).
Jongmyojerye is a religious ceremony to honor the ancestral tablets of kings and queens of Joseon Dynasty(1392 – 1910). The music played during the ceremony is called Jongmyojeryeak. It was designated as the UNESCO Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity on 18th May, 2001.
Samulnori is a music or a play performed on the four percussion instruments; Buk(drum), Janggu(double-headed drum), Jing(gong), and Kkwaenggwari(a pair of small gongs). Samul, which means four objects, originally included Beopgo, Unpan, Mogeo, Beomjong, the four instruments played at the Buddhist ceremony in temples, but they have been changed to the four instruments above and played at common plays. Samulnori was first introduced in 1978, and has been widely known to the whole nation and even to the world.
Pansori is a branch of Hanguk Eumak, and its origin can be found in Namdo (Jeollanamdo) after the middle years of Joseon Dynasty(1392-1910). A Sorikkun (performer) stands alone chanting and speaking with gesture. A Gosu(tambour) beats a drum and adds to the amusement.
Hanguk-eumak can be defined as the music made by Koreans with traditional musical instruments. Korean traditional musical instruments handed down to present times are Gayageum, Geomungo, Daegeum, Danso, Ggwenggwari, and more, roughly 60 kinds of instruments. Their materials all come from nature, so the sound quality is usually soft and quiet.
1. Geomungo is a stringed instrument and is also called HyeonGeum. It has a long body made of a paulownia tree and a chestnut tree. It makes the sound by hitting the 6 strings made of the twisted silk with suldae (a plectrum). Because of its deep and grand sound, it was called as a "Baek-ak-ji-jang" which means having one hundred of sounds. Wangsanak, a musician of later Goguryeo(37 B.C.- A.D.668), made Geomungo and played 100 pieces of music, and then a black crane flew in, thus the instrument became to be called Hyeonhakgeum(black crane instrument) in Samguksagi(a history book written about the period of the Tree States)
2. Gayageum is belonged to a stringed instrument. It makes the sound by touching the twelve strings on the board made of a paulownia tree with hands. It was named after the Gaya Kingdom(100~1B.C –A.D.562), and it has been played during over last 2000 years. Its figure and the size were much bigger than now.
3. Haegeum, or Hyegeum is also belonged to a stringed instrument. It is widely used in both court music and folk music. It makes sound by rubbing with the bow made of horsehair between the inner and the outer strings. Haegeum is necessarily organized in the pipe music concert even though it’s a stringed instrument, and in modern times, it has displayed its true worth by being played alone in a new tune.