The Korea Stamps Society (KSS) is pleased to the present the third article of Stewart Steres’ Series South Korea’s Commemorative Booklets. This article is about Korean musical Instruments (NOTE: The album says 1975 although the stamps inside were all issued in 1974).
Korean traditional music
Korean traditional music is also known as Gugak (national music). The first evidence of Korean music appeared in the extant text of Samguk sagi (History of the three kingdoms) in 1145, which described two string-like instruments; Gayageum and Geomungo. Traditional Korean music was brought to heights of excellence under the Lee kings of the Joseon Dynasty (Chosun Dynasty) between 1392-1897. There were two forms of music: Jeongak (court music) and Minsokak (folk music). Jeongak was the music category that the Yangban listened to for enjoyment and was played during state rituals like banquets, military processions, etc. However, Minsokak and Nongak (farmer’s music) dominated among the common people. The different types of folk music were: Pansori, Pungmulnori, and Minyo (folk songs). Pansori became definite in the seventeenth century and gained respect over time. It is now considered as the ideal traditional music in Contemporary South Korea. Pansori requires a solo singer as well as a drummer. Folk songs were not specific; as in, the features varied among different regions. The most famous folk song of South- and North Korea is “Arirang”.