October 1999

• From the President
• SEM 1999 Meeting
• News and Announcements
• Paper Abstracts -- SEM 1999
• News from AKMR Members
• AKMR Information

YouYoung Kang, Editor
506 Towne Avenue #3
Claremont, CA 91711
U. S. A.

From the President
At the 1999 Society for Ethnomusicology meeting in Austin, there will be a panel organized by Andrew Killick for AKMR, as well as a number of other papers on Korean music. This shows a healthy state of affairs for studies of our favorite subject, and I hope that the AKMR session and other papers will be as well attended this year as Korea papers were in Bloomington last year. A special note of thanks to Andrew for his hard work on the panel.

I remind members that the mega-meeting to take place in Toronto, 1-5 November 2000, presents a terrific opportunity for papers on Korean music to reach a much wider audience than is possible at the normal SEM conferences. Papers on theoretical aspects can reach the music theorists, papers on history can reach historical musicologists, and so forth. Abstracts are due by 1 February 2000, so warm up your word processors!

While activities in Korean music scholarship continue actively and impressively, AKMR itself could be doing considerably more. We get a good number of hits on the AKMR web site, but there is still precious little of the materials I had hoped could be available there. An enlarged general bibliography or specialized subject bibliographies (perhaps moving into Korean-language materials), concise summaries of genres, a basic overview of Korean music, a short history of Korean music, and more could be there, if only members would put their minds to it. Surely the theses the younger members are writing can easily produce bibliographic materials, and someone who can write 300 pages on, say, sanjo, can painlessly produce an authoritative two-page summary of the genre. The idea is to produce materials for high school and college world music courses, creating more interest in our field. Please contribute!

The promised AKMR discussion list is now up and running. Anyone wishing to join should write to for further information. The list system is Majordomo and very easy to use. I will be keeping rather close track of who joins, in order to prevent spams and viruses, but until someone makes it necessary to act otherwise, messages to the list will not be moderated.

I'm grateful to YouYoung Kang for continuing to produce an excellent Newsletter despite her obligations to her PhD thesis. And Okon Hwang manages to remember everything and to keep everyone in touch; thanks to her as well.

Robert C. Provine
October, 1999

SEM 1999 Meeting: Austin, November 17-21
Friday, 5:00-6:30 pm
PAPERS ON KOREAN MUSIC (click on author's name to see abstract)
AKMR Panel: Meaning and Emotion in Korean Music
Convener: Andrew P. Killick
Papers by: Keith Howard, Um Hae-Kyung, Lee Byong Won, Jocelyn Clark, and Sheen Dae-Cheol
Thursday, 11:00am-1:00pm

Paper: "From 'the Other' to 'the Self'?: Western Music in Korea and Nationalist Intellectual Discourse"
Okon Hwang
Saturday, 9:00am

Paper: "Amateur Music-Making as a Site for Negotiating Musical Aesthetics: the Korean Case"
Inok Paek
Panel: Chinese and Japanese Music in Transnational Contexts
Thursday, 8:30-10:30am

Panel: Theorizing Asian American Musics: Identity, Negotiations, Multiplicity
Friday, 11:00am-1:00pm

Concert: Western/Asian Hybridity in Art music Composition
Jonathan Kramer and Christopher Adler
Friday, 1:00-2:30pm

Paper: "Writing Down and Writing Up: The Possibilities of On-Site Ethnography"
Andrew P. Killick
Saturday, 9:30am
(See below for abstracts of papers on the AKMR panel and of the other papers listed above.)

News and Announcements
KTPAA 1999 CONCERT: Harmony of East and West
The Korean Traditional Performing Arts Association (KTPAA) of New York presents its annual concert on Thursday, October 28, 1999, 8:00 pm at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center. The program includes:
Samdo Suhl-changgo (percussion ensemble)
Ip-ch'um (Traditional Folk Dance)
Puch'ae-ch'um (Fan Dance)
Kayagum Duet Sinawi
Drums of Ecstasy (Drum Dance)
Harmony of East and West (Sinawi Ensemble)
For tickets, call (212) 875-5050 or the KTPAA at (212) 921-9344.
For discount student tickets, email Gloria Lee: 

Leiden, August 23-27, 2000
"Audiences, Patrons, and Performers in the Performing Arts of Asia"
During August 23-27, 2000, Leiden University will host the conference 'Audiences, Patrons and Performers in the Performing Arts of Asia', a joint initiative of the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS), CHIME (the European Foundation for Chinese Music Research) and the Department of Cultural and Social Studies of Leiden University. In this conference we look beyond performance as a 'self-contained act' towards what performance essentially constitutes: an on-going and dynamic interaction with the environment. We emphasize the role of the environment: the audiences who attend, the patrons who protect, and the people who organize and support, politically or otherwise, the arts.

The theme at the heart of this conference is how they influence performances and performers, and are in turn influenced by them. Whatever singers, story-tellers, puppeteers, actors, ritual specialists or musicians in Asia have on offer for their audiences -- in terms of entertainment, ritual, or re-enactment of social relationships and dilemmas -- for the viability of their art they depend on more than just one-way communication. How do they cope with the many different -- often contradictory -- voices and expectations that emerge from different groups in society, each with their own norms and values? This theme will be tackled from a number of angles. Sub-themes include: 'Hybrid theatres', 'Art criticism', 'Creativity', 'Asian diaspora' and 'Liveness'. For more information about the themes, accommodation, registration, etc. write to one of the addresses below or consult the agenda on the IIAS site: OR

Deadline for abstracts: March 1, 2000. Contact persons: Dr. Wim van Zanten and Frank Kouwenhoven. Abstracts can be sent to Dr. Wim van Zanten, Institute of Cultural and Social Studies, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9555, 2300 RB Leiden, The Netherlands, tel: +31 (0)71 527-3465, -3474, or -3469; fax: +31 (0)71 527-3619; e-mail: Zanten@fsw.LeidenUniv.NL or IIAS@rullet.LeidenUniv.NL; OR to Frank Kouwenhoven, CHIME Foundation, P.O.Box 11092, 2301 EB Leiden, The Netherlands, tel: +31 (0)71 5133-974; fax: +31 (0)71 5123-183; e-mail:

Available on CD-ROM, it contains references to almost 50,000 articles and over 4,000 book sections, 17,000 books, 7,000 theses, and 4,000 reviews: about 83,000 publications in all (about 130 megabytes of information). The majority of these are English language works, but the Bibliography also lists works in over twenty other languages whose script systems are based on the Latin alphabet. One fourth of all references in the database come with abstracts. Furthermore, although it is devoted to academic sources, the bibliography contains numerous references to translations of Korean literature. The Bibliography was compiled by Frank Hoffmann, with Matthew J. Christensen and Kirk W. Larsen; it is published by the Asia Center of Harvard University and distributed by Harvard University Press. Further information is available at 

Academy of Korean Studies
The Korean Culture Program is organized for the benefit of overseas scholars and professional involved in Korea and Korean studies. This program is designed to introduce them to various aspects of Korean history and culture, and furthermore to provide a forum for exchange with other schoalrs and professionals working in similar fields.

Dates: The third Monday of July to the first Saturday of August (four weeks)
Location: The Academy of Korean Studies, Pundang-gu, Songnam-si, Kyonggi-do, Republic of Korea
Application Deadline: End of January. Applications received after the deadline will be considered for the following year's program.
Financial Support: The Academy of Korean Studies will cover the cost of enrollment, course fees, accommodation, and meals during the period of the program, as well as expenses related to outings included in the schedule of the program. Participants should provide for their own travel expenses to and from Korea.
Address for applications: Director, Korean Culture Program, Graduate School, The Academy of Korean Studies, 50 Unjung-dong, Pundang-gu, Songnam-si, Kyonggi-do, 463-791, Republic of Korea; e-mail:; fax +82 (342) 709-9946.
For further information and to download an application form, check the homepage for the Academy of Korean Studies:

Paper Abstracts -- SEM 1999
Convener: Andrew P. Killick (Florida State University)
The conference theme "Theories of Music and Emotion" promises to yield much when illuminated by instances from Korea, where both music and the discourse surrounding it are often highly emotive. Recognizing that the emotions attached to music arise in part from the meanings attributed to it, and that theories of emotion in music must account for those meanings as a source of emotional responses, this panel focuses on "meaning and emotion" in a variety of contexts representing some of the ways in which Koreans, past and present, have engaged with their music -- and also struggled to define what music is properly 'theirs'. Beginning with two wide-ranging studies of the emotional meanings attached to Korean music in general, we proceed with more specific examinations of particular emotional meanings as they appear on every level from the individual musical tone to the overarching ideology governing musical activity.
• "'It's In the Air We Breathe': Korean Perceptions of Korean Music"
Keith Howard (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London)
"I breathe Korean air, I drink Korean water, therefore my music is Korean." So remarked the South Korean composer, Byungdong Paik (b.1936). Since the late 1970s, there has been much debate within Korea about what constitutes Korean music. At one level, this defines compositions for Western instruments by Korean composers as Korean, as well as new works for traditional Korean instruments. From a nationalistic perspective, and mixing in politics, attempts are made to define all musics performed in Korea as Korean.

My paper considers the debate, looking at the emergence of new aesthetic understandings that have in the last two decades allowed scholars and musicians to claim a local identity in the music they study and perform.

Data I collected in two questionnaire surveys carried out at performance venues and through an arts magazine suggests a different picture: respondents clearly separated Korean music from Western music. The former was considered an emotional experience, felt within the soul by listeners, full of collective national history, and perfectly suited to the Korean psyche. The latter was understood in terms of structures, something that needed to be learnt and studied to be enjoyed. What conclusions can we draw?
• "Imagining Music: The Construction of Meaning and Emotion in the Music of Korea and the Korean Diasporas of the Former Soviet Union and China"
Um Hae-Kyung (International Institute for Asian Studies, Leiden)
This paper examines the ways in which meaning and emotion in Korean music are variously constructed, mediated and reinterpreted in Korea and the Korean diasporas of the former Soviet Union and China. This process of 'imagining music' will be described and analysed comparatively using three different forms of Korean music, namely, the traditional musical drama p'ansori; the group of folksongs known as 'Arirang', and the contemporary percussion ensemble Samulnori. Meaning and emotion in a particular piece of Korean music are socially mediated and culturally and historically constructed by different individuals and groups through the process of imagining music. 

Meaning and emotion for the Korean diasporas add yet another dimension. For these displaced peoples Korean music establishes cultural links with both their homeland and other Korean communities. However, the migrant experience and cultural and political life in their respective host countries also gives shape to their perceptions of meaning and emotion in the musics from home. Additionally and importantly, these Korean migrant communities have also created their own musical forms, aesthetics and associated personal and public discourse all of which feed into the process of imagining music that is Soviet Korean or Chinese Korean. All these complexities combine to create a unique experience of meaning and emotion in the musical imagination of each individual who, none the less, is connected to those with whom they share common elements of musical heritage and experience.
• "Tension and Release as Physical and Auditory Signs of Affect in Korean Music"
Lee Byong Won (University of Hawaii)
A common aesthetic feature of much musical performance is the continuous alternation of tension and release as building elements of the music. This alternation may be present not only in the sonic design of the music, but also in the conditions by which the sound is produced, such as performance postures and some characteristic organological structures.

This paper examines three specific modes of tension and release esthetics in Korean traditional music. First, in real-time performance, certain melodic cells and tones are often made more tense by expanding the length through the insertion of a break in the middle of the cell or a momentary pause in the middle of the sustained tone. Second, the simultaneous performance of changdan and mujangdan in p'ansori and sanjo performances always creates a high degree of tension which requires an equally high degree of release. Third, the kinaesthetic aspects of some of the idiosyncratic performance postures are often understood as visible signs of the tension-release pattern. Performance on the taegûm and changgo illustrates this aspect vividly. An examination of such patterns can shed light on processes that generate emotion and meaning in music, inasmuch as tension and release are in themselves emotional states as well as auditory and kinaesthetic ones, and as such are affected by the manifold elements and circumstances that surround the production of musical sound.
• "Emotion and Meaning in the Early Chosôn Period: The Debate Over Yôak"
Jocelyn Clark (Harvard University)
The gentlemen of the early Chosôn, interpreting Zhu Xi's observation that, "If one is mindful one's desires will be few and principles will be clear. If one reduces one's desires and then reduces them yet further until a condition in which they are totally absent is approached, then in quiet [one's mind and heart] will be empty [of self-centered impulses] and in activity [one's conduct] will be correct...," resorted to removing their desires externally by removing women from the public sphere of life in order to "make illustrious virtue manifest."

The practice of using female entertainers in the court for banquets, the system of yôak, a potent combination of wee-hours, alcohol, music, dance, and female beauty (combined later with the beauty of adolescent boys), especially agitated the seven emotions and created impurities in the gentlemens' psychophysical constitution which in turn was, or had potential to be, harmful to the state. The debate over the use of yôak waged for centuries. It is this system which engendered it, and the emotional debate that surrounded it during the early Chosôn period that I will discuss.
• "Meaning and Emotion in North Korean 'National Music'"
Sheen Dae-Cheol (Kangnung National University, Korea)
Music based on traditional sources is known in North Korea as 'national music' (minjok ûmak). Though this term is also used occasionally in South Korea, the meaning of tradition, music, and 'national music' in particular are quite different between the two Koreas. The works which are recognised as masterpieces of 'national music' in the North are exclusively those which support a socialistic revolutionary agenda.

Ever since Kim Il-Sung emerged as the all-powerful leader of North Korea in 1945, 'national music' in the North could be created only on the basis of his juche (self-reliance) ideology, a version of socialist realism. This doctrine is codified in the two most authoritative North Korean books on music, Kim Il-Sung's Juche Ideology on Culture and Art and his son and successor Kim Jong-Il's Essay on Music. It is also reproduced in numerous other books published in North Korea, which never deviate from the prescriptions of the two Kims. From these published sources, it appears that the authors lay great stress on the importance of emotion in 'national music', but there is also an apparent contradiction in the emotional qualities that are desired. Revolutionary opera, in particular, requires a stirring, heroic emotional tone, yet the melodies are expected to be gentle and melancholy -- qualities typically associated with traditional Korean music.

It is hoped that a better understanding of these processes in North Korean music can contibute to a cultural dialogue between the two Koreas in the interest of their ultimate unification.

• "From 'the Other' to 'the Self'?: Western Music in Korea and Nationalist Intellectual Discourse"
Okon Hwang (Eastern Connecticut State University)
Since Western music was introduced to Korea about one hundred years ago, Koreans have treated this imported cultural activity with respect, equating it with cultural sophistication and prestige. Western music has been embraced to the point that it dominates music curricula in public and private schools, and it even led to a situation that Korean students are now heavily represented in most major music conservatories in Europe and the U.S. However, an examination of the presence of Western music in Korea in an academic manner did not become significant until the nationalist discourse advocated by a few music critics and social scientists started to form a major intellectual trend in the 1980s.

This paper examines the discourse on Western music in Korea in relation to the overall nationalist debate. After briefly surveying the history of Western music in Korea, the paper will describe two factors which eventually brought it to prominence as one of the main subjects of inquiry: 1) the work of Lee Kang-sook (a music critic and educator) and 2) the discourse of the 1980s. It will then describe the impact of this development on the general musical world in Korea. The paper will conclude with an account of the change in direction that took place during the early 1990s and will attempt to theorize the internalization process that changed Koreans' perception of Western music from "the West as the Other" to "the West as a part of the Holistic Self."
• "Amateur Music-Making as a Site for Negotiating Musical Aesthetics: the Korean Case"
Inok Paek (Queen's University of Belfast)
The growing 'official' interest in the promotion of traditional music (kugak) in Korea needs to be understood in the political, social and cultural climates of Korea in the 1960s which were marked by the notion of 'self-reliance'. Although the Korean government initially poured all available resources into rescuing the staggering economy, attention was soon redirected towards overall national development, including the revitalization of traditional culture which had suffered under industrialization and north American cultural and economic domination. This new focus on self-reliance provided a direct challenge to previously held assumptions of the desirability of Westernization and subsequently inevitable abandoning of tradition.

With this social background in mind, this paper aims to discuss two specific areas concerning the public perception of kugak. The first part considers reasons for continuing widespread negative attitudes towards traditional music and musicians. The second part discusses the motivations of amateur musicians, particularly housewives in the context of emerging middle-class audiences, and younger urban generations participating in nationalistically inspired musical activities.

The paper's conclusion is that the growing motivation to learn traditional music reflects the on-going social revaluing of traditional music. The increasing interest in traditional music-making also mirrors the changing economic and political climate of modern Korea. Moreover, amateur music-making is the site where the diverse motivations of course organizers, professional and amateur musicians and wider society come to merge with the mutual role of constructing a new Korean identity.
• "Writing Down and Writing Up: The Possibilities of On-Site Ethnography"
Andrew P. Killick (Florida State University)
Despite an extensive re-thinking of the practices of fieldwork in both ethnomusicology and anthropology in recent years, it remains an almost unquestioned assumption that finished ethnographic writing will be produced away from the field. While the importance of on-site 'fieldnotes' has been recognised in a broadening of the concept to include impressions, emotions, and reflections as well as more narrowly 'scientific' kinds of data, these notes are still largely conceived as 'writing down' what one is discovering, which will be 'written up' for presentation to one's scholarly peers only after leaving the site of research.

My own experience, however, calls this assumption into question in that both my master's thesis and doctoral dissertation were written without leaving the site of my research (Seoul, Korea) and only defended and revised after returning to my degree-granting institutions. In the light of this experience, I wish to examine some of the implications and possibilities of an option that seems rarely to have been considered. In particular, I will stress how modern communications technologies, available in many field sites today, facilitate both continual revision of writing (without a radical disjuncture between 'down' and 'up' phases) and instant long-distance communication with colleagues and advisors; how continued access to informants while writing facilitates checking of one's findings and especially of the musical skills one has learned, as well as 'dialogic editing'; and how such a practice, though obviously not suitable for every fieldwork situation, might offer one fruitful response to the postcolonial critique of ethnography.

News from AKMR Members
Jocelyn Clark (Harvard Univ.) received a Fulbright fellowship for dissertation field work in Korea.

Hillary Finchum (University of Indiana) received a grant from the Korea Foundation for dissertation field work in Korea.

Nathan Hesselink has accepted the position of Lecturer in World Music and General Education at Illinois State University.

Keith Howard has just completed a new CD discography of Korean music. It will be published by the National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts.

Okon Hwang is currently doing research as Visiting Fellow at the Academy of Korean Music Research. She is taking a sabbatical leave from Eastern Connecticut State University.

Andrew Killick has accepted a tenure-track position as Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at Florida State University, where he hopes to introduce courses on Korean music and to lead a Korean ensemble.

Gloria Lee (NYU) played kayagûm in an Asian American Arts Alliance production of a Korean-American play, "Centipede Woman" at the 78th Street Theatre Lab in New York during May 12-23, 1999.


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The Association for Korean Music Research is dedicated to the advancement of the research and study of Korean music. Individual members of AKMR receive the AKMR Newsletter and may vote and participate in the activities of AKMR. Membership dues are $10 (US). All inquiries about membership and payment of membership dues (payable to "AKMR") should be addressed to:

Dr. Okon Hwang
Fine Arts Department
Shafer Hall 4
Eastern Connecticut State University
Willimantic, CT 06226

AKMR Officers
Robert C. Provine, President
Okon Hwang, Secretary/Treasurer
YouYoung Kang, Newsletter Editor
Keith Howard, Member-at-Large
Andrew P. Killick, Member-at-Large
Charles Starrett, Member-at-Large