This paper focused on Joseon court music in light of cultural history and symbolic aspects. The court music was primarily performed for oryeui, or the five state rituals, and thus it is important to understand it in connection with rituals. Therefore, this paper provided an understanding of court music in cultural history by exploring its symbols and their meanings.This paper classified court music into two—sacrificial and ceremonial ones—and provided details of them. It explained the use and characteristics of royal ensembles and introduced musical pieces played by them as well as dance performers. Moreover, it also described how the performance tradition of the Joseon court music has been transmitted today.The symbols and their meanings of the court music were explored by being divided into several topics. Instead of covering all about them, this paper singled out some major types of court music for this subject, which include as follows: sacrificial rituals and music that signified royal legitimacy and authority; ceremonial music that represented the hierarchical order and friendly relations with neighboring countries; saak, or music bestowed by the king; daesaryeo and music, a symbol of military leadership; the policy of sadaegyorin(served the great and keep good relations with neighbors) and music; state funerals and soundless music; and music as a symbol of a vassal country and wonguak (music for the rite to heaven) as an imperial symbol. These topics will help understand the court music as part of royal culture of Joseon. To promote studies of the Joseon court music and overall traditional Korean music in both domestic and foreign scholarship, it is important to provide information on related historical sources. Thus, this paper presented them in the final chapter.This paper focused on Joseon court music in cultural aspects and thus academic achievements, though having been produced in various areas, were not covered. It is hoped that this paper will help scholars abroad have basic understandings of the Joseon court music and inspire their academic passion for this field.
This paper discusses the characteristics of court and private music as well as their notational systems shown in Korea’s old music scores written during the fifteenth to nineteenth century. Most of the music printed in Sejongsillokakbo, where the oldest extant Korean music score was preserved, was newly composed during the time of King Sejong’s reign. Thus, the score documents the reality of court rites at the time of the publication and reveals the authority of royal descendants and the rightness of nation building. Detailed prescription was required for the musicians affiliated in the Royal Music Institution, Jangakwon, so that they could make the song and music precisely. King Sejong let the splendid beauty and creativity of new style indigenous music be informed well by inventing new notational system appropriate for court music. In about the sixteenth century, upper class elite and middle class literati who experienced pungnyu music outside the court, such as gagok and “Yeongsanhoesang,” published scores for their own sake. The literati trained geomungo by themselves for self-disciplining and tried to affirm their love and legitimacy of music by pursuing saints’ ideology and practice. The music began to be notated in hapja, and thus the literati should be able to identify the written letters while at the same time making the music in reliance on the musical imagination (musicality). However, no matter how the amateur musician was capable, their performance could not help but being insufficient comparing to those of professional musicians. Other than pungnyu music, some folk vocal genres like japga and minyo, were printed in yukbo (oral sound notation) in a few private scores published in the nineteenth century. At the time of publication, yukbo was not only a notational system understood intuitionally but also technical instruction, so the skillful musicians could play the instrument on singing the melody.
This paper examines the trend of performing and enjoying the major pieces of gagok, a genre of sijo poems sung to the tunes of “Mandaeyeop,” “Jungdaeyeop,” and “Sakdaeyeop.” The three songs employ a slow, a moderate, and a fast tempo respectively. Together, the three established the tripartite framework of the gagok repertoire. From the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, people loved the various songs which had been passed along even up till now. In the sixteenth century, in the literati tradition of learning to play the geomungo, “Mandaeyeop” was performed with the geomungo. This can be evidenced in books of geomungo scores compiled by literati, such as Hyeongeum dongmun yugi (1620) and Geumhapjabo (1572). The seventeenth century saw major social and economic changes with the emergence of the jungin class. The professional singers from this new class sang “Jungdaeyeop” and “Sakdaeyeop” which led to the development of gagok performance culture. Since the seventeenth century, the literati, geomungo musicians, and professional singers have been the main players in performing the gagok genre. They took a scholarly interest in learning and playing the geomungo. They loved “Jungdaeyeop,” composed sijo poems, and compiled geomungo scores. Geomungo musicians composed new songs which were primarily derived from “Jungdaeyeop” and “Sakdaeyeop.” The major musicians were Kim Seonggi and Han Rip. Professional singers also composed new songs as they associated with geomungo musicians. Kim Cheontaek was a prominent singer and published Cheonggu yeongeon in 1728. The work is a compilation of 580 songs which were in circulation and sung at that time. Since the early eighteenth century, professional singers have created and sung many derivative songs of “Sakdaeyeop.” The form of the gagok ensemble was also established. The gagok was now sung accompanied by wind and string instruments in a professional singers’ club. Since the early nineteenth century, the present form of a full gagok cycle composed of derivative songs of “Sakdaeyeop” has been taken shape.
Female Masculinity, as discussed by Judith Halberstam (1998), comments on the cultural anxiety at the prospect of manly women and asserts that “heroic masculinity” is dependent on the subordination of alternative masculinity, masculinity mapped on other than male bodies. Although there are musical traditions in which men take on female roles, such Japanese kabuki and Chinese jingju, the opposite presentation, women taking on male roles, is much less common with the exception of “pants roles” in Western opera. In Korean cultural history the female shaman, mudang, often took on a male persona, and in the masked dance, talchum, males play female roles. At the beginning of the early 20th century, gisaeng, the female entertainers, began to perform changgeuk, an operatic version of pansori, which had a tradition of male performers up to that time. By post-colonial Korea in the late 1940s, another version of changgeuk was created by women with only female singers. This all-female theatrical cast genre is known as yeoseong gukgeuk. The legacy of gisaeng, already dismantled in the 1930s, was re-interpreted and yeoseong gukgeuk developed, gaining enormous popularity among mostly female audience members. Seeing women in male roles and through this “alternative masculinity” lifted Korean women out of their own oppression. In this article I examine how the construct of gender roles in musical performance in Korea in the 1950s was re-interpreted by female performers, thus disrupting social and cultural heroic masculinity. The performers presented an idealistic reality, along with sexual fantasies, that were appealing to a female audience. This paper concludes that yeoseong gukgeuk emerged at a specific time in Korean history for a limited period and addressed issues of masculinity before mass media gained control of sexual images and their promotion.
This article examines the claim that Korea’s ancient culture was formed by a melange of the northern nomadic and southern marine culture. To verify it, the foundation myth, which is an observable element reflecting cultural archetype, has been investigated. As a result, this paper confirms the theory as valid. However, a widely-known premise that the heavenly descent motif originated in northern Asia and the oviparous birth motif in southern Asia needs to be reconsidered. Rather than being divided by the geographic scheme of the North and South, the mythological motifs in Asia were determined by people’s perception of cultural identity. For example, the egg-birth story of progenitor in Korean myths is not linked to the Southeast Asian motif but to Korean autochthonic sense of identity.
Cotton manufacturing in Korea is known to have started with Mun Ik-jeom (1329-1398), who brought cottonseeds from China during the last days of the Goryeo dynasty. Despite the great achievement of Mun’s introduction of cottonseeds, by focusing exclusively on Mun or a few historic figures, we tend to disregard the more crucial agencies to have made this great social transformation possible. To complement existing scholarship, the paper address the agency of Hoseung Hongwon 胡僧弘願in social transformation of medieval Korea. Starting with the introduction contextualizing the spread of cotton in a wider perspective, it consists of three main sections: firstly, which identifies the presence and role of the foreign monk in the official narratives of Goryeo and Joseon; secondly, which examines the actual significance of his contribution—ginning and carding (also known as bucking or batting)—to the distribution of cotton cloth making; and lastly to suggest his presumed Tibetan or Inner Asian origin in connection to its long cotton culture tradition and to Buddhist trade network on the Silk Road and to scrutinize the trajectory of how his story was treated and forgotten over the course of the time. The research shows that the Korean cotton manufacturing process was not an isolated event made by a heroic effort of a single person, but an outcome of the connected world of the period.
This article examines the dreams recorded by O Huimun (1539-1613) during the period of the Japanese invasion of Joseon in the lunar year 1592 to gain an insight into the interior life of a member of the yangban class in sixteenth-century Joseon. The largest category of these dreams concern people who were absent through death or separation due to the war, particularly members of his own family, such as his elderly mother, wife, children, and his deceased father. O Huimun’s dreams of people almost invariably invoke heartfelt sadness in the diary’s author and frequently result in the reported shedding of tears. Other dreams were interpreted by the author as being more symbolic in nature, and in these cases, O Huimun would often attempt his own interpretation or even record the opinions of other members of his refugee household and acquaintances. This article will examine a broad selection of the dreams recorded in “Imjin namhaeng illok” and “Imjin illok,” which comprise the first volume of Swaemirok (Record of a Refugee) covering the lunar year 1592, and categorize them in accordance with the traditional dream categories outlined in the Zhou li (Rites of Zhou 周禮) in order to demonstrate how dreams and dream interpretation functioned as a form of psychological support for a Joseon yangban steeped in Neo-Confucian rationalism.