ISSN : 1229-0076
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.