The instrument featured in this video is from the woodwind family. It is called a Taegum. It looks similar to the flutes we use in western music, but it is much bigger and sounds a bit different. Can you tell what this flute is made out of? Click here to find out! Also notice the drummer who accompanies her. He plays a special type of drum called a Changgo.
This instrument, another from the string family, looks a little like a violin or a cello but it sounds very different. It is called a Haegum. Notice that this soloist also has a Changgo player as an accompanist. Notice also that the player uses a wide bow which she holds vertically using her entire hand. Some string bass players in western orchestras use a bow that looks similar called a German bow. Listen carefully and see if you like the sound the bow makes on the strings or if you prefer the sound of plucked strings like the Kayagum we explored in the first video.
“Traditional Taegum Sanjo”
Performed by: Hyelim Kim
Welcome to our Lifelong Listening Center!
In honor of the upcoming winter Olympics in South Korea, we will spend this winter season exploring some traditional Korean instruments and music. We will explore examples of instruments being played in the traditional Korean style, and one example of how a modern composer uses her own take on traditional music in her compositions. Enjoy the winter Olympics and happy listening!
The first traditional Korean instrument we will explore is the Kayagum. It is an instrument in the string family with 12 strings which are plucked by the fingers of the player’s right hand. The left hand is used to push or pull the strings to change the sound. Notice how fast he plays! It takes years of practice to master the coordination required to play this instrument.
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use worksheets #1 and #2
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“Traditional Kayagum Sanjo Solo”
Performed by: Hwang Byungki
“Electric Komungo Solo”
Performed/Written by: Jin Hi Kim
“Traditional Haegum Sanjo”
Here we explore an example of how modern composers are reinterpreting traditional Korean music. Jin Hi Kim is an expert player of the Komungo, the instrument you see in this video. At first glance, it looks similar to the first instrument we explored, the kayagum. However, the Komungo only has 6 strings instead of 12, and it is played with a bamboo stick rather than plucked with the fingers. Another thing to notice is that this instrument is no ordinary Komungo, it is actually electric! Jin Hi Kim is also a composer and she invented this electric version of the Komungo, which she often uses in her unique compositions. If you listen carefully, you will notice sound effects that can only be achieved by using an electronic instrument. (Use worksheet 1 & worksheet 2)