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«A Dissertation Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College in partial fulfillment of ...»

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34 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Haegeum#mediaviewer/File:Haegeum_at_National_Museu m_of_Korea.jpg. Wikimedia Commons. Accessed 3 November 2014.

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The Gayageum is the most popular string instrument and is used in almost any genre of Korean traditional music. According to Samgugsaki (1145), the Gayageum was firstmade by King Gasil of the Gaya Dynasty and it belongs to a Hyangaki. It was developed by Wooreuk, who was court musician in the Gaya and Silla Dynasties. 35 The name of the Gayageum is a combination of two words: “Gaya” points to its origins in the Gaya confederacy (c.42-532C.E.) and “geum” means “stringed instrument” in Chinese.

The Gayageum is divided into two types by size, register, shape and purpose: Chung-ak Gayageum, also called Beopgeum or Poongryu Gayageum, and Sanjo Gayageum. 36 The Chungak Gayageum is usually used for full orchestras or ensembles, and its characteristics are a wide register and gaps between strings. According to the development of folk song in the late Choseon Dynasty (1392-1897), Sanjo Gayageum for solo performance thrived because of its smaller body and a narrower register, which facilitated playing the fast passages of folk music for which it is primarily used.

The Gayageum consists of Paulownia wood, a tree native to East Asia, twelve zither strings, and a movable bridge. The method of playing Chung-ak Gayageum is pushing and flicking the string with the fingers, while Sanjo Gayageum is performed by finger plucking and flicking. Furthermore, twelve strings help to produce a variety of vibrato and ornaments by staying loose when the player pulls and presses the string with the left hand and plucks the strings with the fingers of the right hand. The register of the Chung-ak Gayageum is from Eb2 to

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light and beautiful, it is referred to as the more feminine instrument. 37 Recently more modernized Gayageums 38 are also used, with the two traditional types of Gayageum, in order to obtain various tone colors and a wider register. Through the modernizing, it is able to make use of Western techniques and has more capabilities. 39 Figure 2-10 shows Sanjo Gayageum.

Figure. 2-10 Sanjo Gayageum 40 IV. Gomungo The Gomungo is a representative Korean traditional instrument from Koguryo (B.C 37A.D. 668). According to the Samgusaki (1145), someone from the Qin Dynasty in China (B.C 37 Lee 2004, 226.

38 Modernized Gayageums made in order to use of contemporary Korean music with seventeen or twentyone strings.

39 Keith Howard. “Contemporary Genres,” in Robert C. Provine, Yosihiko Tokumaru,and J. Lawrence Witzleben, ed., The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music vol.7 East Asia: China, Japan, and Korea. New York and London: Routledge, 2002: 830.

40 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Gayageum#mediaviewer/File:Sanjo_gayageum.jpg.

Wikimedia Commons. Accessed 3 November 2014.

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Koguryo and Wang-Sanak. 41 Koguryo musicians produced the new instrument the Gomungo, to fit with Koguryo music, keeping the original shape of chilhyungeum.

As shown in figure 2-11, Gomungo has six strings made of twisted silk thread and a short bamboo stick. Like the Gayageum, the body of Gomungo also is made of Paulownia wood. The method of Gomungo performance is plucking strings with a stick, producing a fast string sound.

Another performance method is pushing the strings with the fingers and then shaking them to express Nong-hyun or vibrato. Through the microtones that are generated by tension of the left hand on the strings, it produces a deep and heavy sound. Because of these tone colors, Gomungo is referred to as the masculine instrument. 42 Gomungo is primarily used in full orchestra and small chamber ensembles as a lower pitched instrument, and its range is from Bb2 to Bb5.

Figure. 2-11 Goumngo 43 41 He was maker and performer of Gomungo in Koguryo.

42 Lee 2004, 227.

43 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Geomungo#mediaviewer/File:Geomungo.jpg. Wikimedia Commons. Accessed 3 November 2014.

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As shown in figure. 2-12, the Yanggeum, which has a trapezoid shape, is divided into three parts: left, right and center, with two bridges as a center that supports strings. It consists of fourteen sets of four steel wires. Clear and light tone colors are characteristic features of the Yanggeum. 44 Because the player produces sound by hitting the tightly fixed strings with two sticks, it cannot express Nong-hyun. Thus, a tremolo technique produced by rolling the sticks is notable performance technique. 45 The Yanggeum is usually played in a small ensemble or duet with a Danso, which is one of the Korean traditional woodwind instruments, since the volume is very soft. The register of the Yanggeum is from E3b to Ab5.

Figure. 2-12 Yanggeum 46

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This chapter explores two of Park’s compositions, selected from the violin works Suite No. 1 and Impromptus Pentatoniques for violin solo. These two works are representative of his works for violin. In this chapter, I will examine and explain how Park uses Korean traditional elements and changes to imitate Korean musical timbres for violin through performance techniques provided in the previous chapter.

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Min-Chong Park’s Suite No. 1 is a collection of seven songs based on Korean traditional folksongs. It was composed in 1958, and the composer performed it when he was in Europe. In this chapter, I will provide general information for each original folksong, since every movement is based on folksongs and he applied folk elements. Also, I will provide comments on performance methodology for performers who want to play this piece.

I. Chant de Cultivateur (Nongbooga) The Nongbooga (Farmer’s song) is a work-related folk song from Jeonrado (a province of southwest Korea) and the most famous one Park used. While simple, naïve, and plain are the general characteristics of a farmer’s song, the farmer’s song of Jeonrado is dance-like, pleasant, and refined. There are two types of farmer’s songs according to the tempo: Nongbooga (slow) with the Joongmori rhythmic pattern, and JajinNongbooga (fast), with the Kootguri rhythmic pattern. Park used the Jajin Nongbooga, thus it is charming and dance-like in character. Also, Nongbooga is usually formed by call-and-response, and it is strophic. The most distinguished feature of this song is the use of the semi–tone pentatonic scale, containing the pitches A, B, C,

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to be mostly a pentatonic system because F is used only once with a short duration.

The first movement of this suite, Nongbooga contains four sections and is a modified variation form. It begins with twelve bars of introduction. In the introduction, Park established a strong rhythmic profile, and the other three sections are variations of the folksong. Park made this song more energetic and lively compared to simple original folksongs by using Western music techniques such as staccati, arpeggiated figures, artificial harmonics, more accents, and sudden change from pizzicato to arco.

As shown in example 3-1, this movement is entirely based on the strongly accented Kootguri rhythmic pattern in both piano and violin parts, and thus the dance-like feeling is one of its most important features. Usually, the first beat has a strong accent in Korean traditional music, and Kootguri is especially dance-like, therefore performers have to emphasize the first note and even sustain it a little longer.

Example 3-1 Suite No. 1 movement I: mm. 21-24, strong Kootguri rhythmic pattern and traditional Kootguri rhythmic patterns (Figure. 2-6f)

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dotted notes, which resemble the traditional accompaniment of Janggo. Therefore, the pianist should express the features of Janggo, which produces a dry and penetrating sound by beating the right side of the head of the Janggo with a wooden stick.

Generally, a syncopated rhythmic pattern is one of the common features in Korean traditional music, and Park used strong off-beat accents on the second and fifth beats in several places and example 3-2a and b show places of strong off-beat accents.

Example. 3-2a Suite No. 1 movement I: mm. 12, mm. 59 and mm.60, strong off-beat accent on the second beat Example. 3-2b Suite No.1 movement I: mm. 47 and mm. 54-55, strong off-beat accent on the fifth beat He also applied the pizzicato technique in many instances, and it should be similar to the sound of Gayageum. As I mentioned before, Gayageum is played by using the fingers, without

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whole step. Thus, I would recommend vibrating wider and faster, but less than a whole step in range, and playing close to the bridge in order to imitate the sound of the Gayageum. Park also used harmonics in m. 42 to 47, attempting to express the sound of laborers whistling when at work.

II. L’Oiseau bleu (Parang-sae) The Parang-sae (blue bird), a simple song for children, is originated in an important historical event of Korea. In 1894, the Dong-Hak 47 Peasant Revolution started, by believers and farmers, with the goal of dislodging the Japanese army and corrupt officials. 48 Although the exact date of composition is unknown, this song, a chamyo, or political folksong of the Revolution is most notable for praising Bong-Jun Jeong, a leader of the Dong-Hak revolution. 49 This is usually sung without accompaniment and is based on a three-tone scale: G, C, and D. Its use of 5/4 meter is rare in Korean folksongs.

Park arranged this song by applying various embellishing methods, such as harmonics, pizzicatos with grace notes, and rapid sixteenth- and thirty-second notes. As I mentioned in Chapter 2, the use of ornaments is one of the crucial techniques of Korean traditional music.

Many notes are often surrounded by various embellishing gestures that can be understood as Sigimsae in Korean music. Example 3-3 shows Sigimsae in the second movement of his Suite no.1.

47 In 1860s, Je-Woo Choi established Dong-Hak, new religion in Korea. It is a combination of folk religion, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism.

48 Kyu-Jin Ham. 108 gajikyuljung [the 108 choic]. Seoul: Paper Road, 2008: 303.


Joon-Man Kang. Hankookgeundaesasanchak [Korean Modern History]. Seoul: InmulguaSasangsa, 2007:


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Park also imitates the sound of the Gayageum and Janggo by using musical gestures idiomatic to these instruments. One of them is typical for Gayageum performance, and is the technique for embellishing by adding a single or double grace note. As shown example 3-3, the pizzicatos of the violin part are embellished with quick grace notes and a type of Nong-hyun technique, which sounds like a portamento, used after the suffix Sigimsae. The eighth-note figure in the piano part, mm. 23-26, alternates the left and right hands, imitating the Janggo sound of striking the left and right sides of the drum heads. Thus, I would be best for the accompanist to play this section short and dry, to sound like a percussion instrument.

While the original folksong is in 5/4, Park’s arrangement is combination of 5/4 and 4/4.

By combining the 4/4 meter with the original 5/4 meter, in an alternating pattern, the internal accents form metrical groups of 3 beats, followed by 2 beats, followed by 4 beats. The resulting rhythmical pattern, together with the missing beat in 4/4 bars, and the sixteenth rest, make the phrase shorter. All these aspects in turn create the feeling that the music is constantly pushing ahead, keeping it alive.

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The Yang-san-do, a favorite folksong in central Korea, is an example of Kyunggiminyo (folksong of Kyunggi the central province of Korea). The joyful and optimistic Kyunggiminyo contains the areas of Seoul, Kyunggi, and part of Chungchungdo (middle province of Korea).

Since most of Kyunggiminyos have a melody in the Pyong-jo scale, which is similar to the scale

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Kyunggiminyo, it is one of the work songs that are composed using call-and response. This popular song is still sung frequently by modern Koreans. It is based on a pentatonic scale consisting of E, G, A, C, and D.

The third movement of this suite consists of two sections, and it is through-composed.

Although the rhythmic pattern of this movement is based on the traditional Korean rhythmic pattern Semachi in 9/8, Park applied rhythmic changes to the original folksong: as shown in example 3-4, he used the Semachi rhythmic pattern only twice in mm. 4-5 of the violin part, and in mm. 12-13 of the piano part in the introduction. Moreover, he often employed off-beat accents on the eighth-note alone, or on the second and eighth beats, while the accents of the Semachi rhythmic pattern are primarily located on the first and eighth beats. Park attempted to strengthen the lively and light dance-like mood of this song through frequent use of accents on the off-beats in the Semachi rhythmic pattern.

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imitating the Gummungo, which has a dark and sorrowful sound. Thus, performers should consider making a heavy sound with a very wide vibrato. As shown in example 3-5, Park applied many kinds of ornaments, or Sigimsae. As already mentioned, Korean traditional music is based on the melody rather than on harmonic structures or counterpoint, so embellishments are essential in Korean traditional music.

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IV. La Rivière Fatale (NodulKangbyun) Generally, Shin-minyo (new folksong) is a song that borrows the format of a much older song. The indigenous new song is in the style and form of original folksongs; Korean people refer to these new songs, mainly composed between 1920 and 1930, as folksongs (minyo). 51 Nodul Kangbyun is one of the Shin-minyo, and it is a lyrical song about the Han River. The first theme of this song is similar to the beginning of Arirang. Among the seven original folksongs, this is the longest one and has a rondo-like structure. This song is based on the anhemitonic pentatonic scale of G, A, C, D, and E and on the Semachi rhythmic pattern.


Kyu-Jin Choi. Geundaereulbonunchang 20 [the twenty windows that watch modern history]. Seoul:

SeohaeMoongip, 2007: 224.

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