Hwang Byungki: Traditional Music and the Contemporary Composer in the Republic of Korea  book cover
1st Edition

Hwang Byungki: Traditional Music and the Contemporary Composer in the Republic of Korea

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ISBN 9781409420309
Published September 13, 2013 by Routledge
256 Pages

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Book Description

Anyone who knows anything of Korean music probably knows something of Hwang Byungki. As a composer, performer, scholar, and administrator, Hwang has had an exceptional influence on the world of Korean traditional music for over half a century. During that time, Western-style music (both classical and popular) has become the main form of musical expression for most Koreans, while traditional music has taken on a special role as a powerful emblem of national identity. Through analysis of Hwang's life and works, this book addresses the broader question of traditional music's place in a rapidly modernizing yet intensely nationalistic society, as well as the issues faced by a composer working in an idiom in which the very concept of the individual composer was not traditionally recognized. It explores how new music for traditional instruments can provide a means of negotiating between a local identity and the modern world order. This is the first book in English about an Asian composer who writes primarily for traditional instruments. Following a thematic rather than a rigidly chronological approach, each chapter focuses on a particular area of interest or activity-such as Hwang's unique position in the traditional genre kayagum sanjo, his enduring interest in Buddhist culture and a meditative aesthetic, and his adoption of extended techniques and approaches from Western avant-garde music-and includes in-depth analysis of selected works, excerpts from which are provided on downloadable resources. The book draws on 25 years of personal acquaintance and study with Hwang Byungki as well as experience in playing his music.

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Introduction; Hwang Byungki as traditional musician: Kayagum Sanjo; Finding a voice: Hwang Byungki’s compositions of the 1960s; Buddhism, Taoism, and the meditative aesthetic; Broadening horizons: diversity of sound and unity of approach in Hwang Byungki’s compositions; North Korea, before and after: new developments in Hwang Byungki’s music since the 1980s; Conclusion: Hwang Byungki in the 21st century; Appendices; Glossary; Bibliography; Discography; Index.

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Andrew Killick is Senior Lecturer in ethnomusicology at the University of Sheffield, past co-editor of the journal Ethnomusicology Forum, and associate editor and substantial contributor to the East Asia volume of the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. His writings on Korean music have appeared in such journals as Ethnomusicology, Asian Music, and Korean Studies, and he also wrote the notes to Hwang Byungki's most recent CD at the composer's request.