S-Space College of Music (음악대학) Asian Music Research Institute (동양음악연구소) Journal of the Asian Music Research Institute (동양음악) 민족음악학 Volume 15 (1993)
Where did the Old Music go?: The "improved" musical instruments of North Korea
- Howard, Keith
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 음악대학 동양음악연구소
- 민족음악학, Vol.15, pp. 122-151
- Since the 1960s, the socialist regime of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) under Kim II-Sung has sponsored a musical instrument institute known as the Minjok akki kaeryang saopkwa to revise chont'ong akki (traditional instruments) and enable them to match soyang akki (western instruments). The resultant hybrids are known as kaeryang akki ("improved" instruments), a term in use in both the southern and northern states. Complex instruments are, by their very nature, élitist, yet kaeryang akki are required to respect socialist dogma; the resultant conflicts between state and art, potential or real, are nothing new. In this paper, after discussing background unique to North Korea, I explore how development is justified. Kaeryang akki are meant to retain old sound timbres and hence to reflect the Korean heritage, for this is what juche, the state philosophy of self-reliance, demands.
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