S-Space College of Music (음악대학) Dept. of Music (음악과) Dept. of Korean Music (국악과) Journal Papers (저널논문_국악과)
The Sonic Habitus of Silk and Wood: Gugak's 21st Century Terrain
- Finchum-Sung, Hilary V.
- Issue Date
- SYDNEY CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC, SCHOOL OF ORIENTAL AND AFRICAN STUDIES. SYDNEY KOREAN CULTURAL CENTER (한국문화원)
- PRESENCE THROUGH SOUND, pp. 6
- Transformations in Korean traditional music’s social and cultural capital echo the Republic of Korea’s breathtakingly rapid contemporary developments. Mid-20th century, the country’s traditional music faced a conundrum: selective resuscitation within a restrictive space of ‘tradition.’ Since then, many musicians and composers have extended the boundaries of tradition, manipulating the success of cultural trends to build new platforms for gugak in contemporary Korea. Yet, gugak remains subject to long-standing cultural prejudice, placing it in an underdog position within the music market. Underscoring gugak’s contributions to a core Korean aesthetic serves as one apparatus in fighting such prejudice. This aesthetic celebrates nature and collective emotion, as well as gugak’s precious fragility in the contemporary music market.
Inspired by the researcher’s ongoing research on conceptual and visual communication in performance, the paper considers use of physical space as a mark of distinction and status in Korean traditional music performance. The paper examines the restoration of acoustic space in contemporary performance, from the concert stage to the refurbished hanok, as crucial to gugak’s developing 21st century sonic identity. Far from an unbiased and detached physical realm, the acoustic space becomes meaningful in the act of performance just as it lends meaning to a musical event. Debates regarding amplification, or absence thereof, in addition to ideal stage materials and design, relate closely to contemporary ideals of gugak’s authentic sound. The act of performance draws performers and audience alike into an interpretive performance space, reinforcing the moment’s contributions to a Korean socio-historic sonic experience.
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