Information on traditional Korean instruments taken from a section Performing arts in Korean Insights

  • P'iri: Traditional double-reed aerophone

  • Like the Western oboe, the p'iri sound comes from a vibrating reed. During the
    Koguryo  Kingdom (37 B.C.-A.D. 668), there were several kinds of p'iri--sop'illyul,
    taep'illyul and top'ip'illyul--but only two--the tangp'iri and hyangp'iri--have
    been used since the Koryo Dynasty. The p'iri carries the main melody in many 
    traditional musical genres. 

  • Taegum: Large transverse bamboo aerophone

    This large transverse flute dates to seventh-century Shilla. It was one of three
    transverse flutes,which together with the komun'go, kayagum and hyangbip'a, made 
    up Shilla's 'Three Strings and Three Bamboo Flutes'(samhyon samchuk). The taegum
    was the largest of the three,followed by the chunggum ('middle' flute) and the
    sogum ('small' flute). The chunggum is no longer used but the taegum and sogum 
    are played in court and folk music.
    According to A Guide to the Study of Music (Akhak kwebom) compiled by the Choson
    scholar Song Hyon in 1493, this instrument was made of aged yellow bamboo. Today,
    however, the best taegum are made of thick, strong bamboo.
    The taegum is over two feet long and has one mouth hole, six finger holes and an
    extra hole covered with a thin membrane, which produces the flute's distinctive
    buzzing sound. The taegum has a broad range of over two octaves. 

  • Chong-gan-bo: Traditional Korean Notation System

  • notation
  • ornamentation