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Samulnori
an Exciting Combination of Traditional Percussion

S
amulnori is based on Pungmul, one of the Korean traditional games, and it is created for people to perform on a stage. "Pungmul" consists of "Kkwaenggri" a small gong, "Jing" a big gong, and "Buk" a drum, and this is usually accompanied by horn instruments. Also, "Pungmul" means a form of which dancing, singing, music and play together. And the origin of "Pungmul" is everything that makes a sound from pre-historic age. This traditional play was usually performed by the whole village on New Year's Day or Chusok.

From outdoor Music to Indoor Music
Samulnori is a percussion ensemble played only by Kkwaenggari, Jing, Janggu and Buk which was originated and developed from "Pungmul". Despite the fact that Pungmul was usually performed outdoor. Samulnori has become an indoor music as it was developed with its own format. It is called "Samulnori" because it consists of four objects, namely four instruments.
Each of these four instruments has its own meaning and such as Kkwaenggari, Janggu, Buk and Jing represent star, human, moon and sun respectively. In addition, the sound of each instrument can be compared with lightning, rain, cloud and wind. Kkwaenggari means 365days, Jing means 1 year, Buk symbolizes 4 seasons, and Janggu implies 12 months.

The Harmony of Four Instruments
Kkwaenggari is made of brass and its diameter usually ranges around 20-25cm and 3.5-4cm in height. As a leading instrument among the four, it chooses and controls rhythm, speed and movements. Jing is also made of brass whose diameter is 36cm, height is 10cm and thickness is 3mm. This instrument provides beats and supports other instruments. Also, it makes a roaring sound and such that it embraces the atmosphere of performance. Buk is the oldest instrument and often used at ceremony and during the war. This Buk in Samulnori is carved out from either empress tree or poplar and threads connect leathers of each end. The diameter is about 60cm and width is 30cm.
Janggu's left side produces a thick and low sound as it is made of cowhide or deer skin whereas its right side makes a light and high sound as it is made of horse or dog skin. This is a basic instrument for the Korean traditional music beginners and Janggu alone makes a perfect instrument for the rhythm practice.

Samulnori, the World's Music
Samulnori has gained international popularity as it continues to deliver the superb Korean music throughout the world. Not only does Samulnori express the rhythm of percussion but more importantly it is based on the principle of "excitement and relaxation" and "harmony of music notes". It is the mystery of Samulnori that when the beats get slow, it becomes extremely slow and when it reaches the end, the play gets incredibly fast. This slow and fast rhythm of Samulnori is due to the Korean music principle "excitement and relaxation".


(Sourced from WHAT'S ON SEOUL)








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