Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sangmo and a Performance

April 12th, 2011
I went to 전통국악사 Traditional Korean Music Store and to 고려국악사 Goryeo Korean Music Store and picked up more ribbon for my sangmo and a fan for practicing the part of grandmother in 봉산탈춤 Bongsan Talchum.

In the evening, as usual, I had 상모 sangmo class. Hyeonseok, Rimhan and I were the only students in class and Rimhan was late. I didn't have quite as good a rehearsal as the previous week, I think that the difference was not setting things up enough. Basically 이종휘 Yi Jonghui's line for the day was that he'd taught us all the steps, this step, that step, etc. and we should just run through them as we spun. Except we were spinning 바른사 counter-clockwise circles and 반대사 clockwise circles instead of doing 사사 1 ¾ circle left 1 ¾ circle right. It was harder doing counter-clockwise and very hard doing clockwise, Rimhan could barely do anything clockwise as his clockwise spin isn't there yet. Even counter-clockwise I find the transition into one step very hard and another step almost impossible to maintain (although I can do it with circles on both sides). At the end of class I video-taped Jonghui giving a mini-lesson in the basics. I'll put it up on my video section soon, but I won't make it publicly accessible link because it's not like he prepared to give a perfect lesson, it's just an on the spot thing.

Here is the video excerpt of me, I'll upload Yi Jonghui later.

April 13th, 2011
I worked at home and at Chans Bros.

In the evening we went to a concert at the 국악원 National Gugak (Korean Music) Center. The concert had been billed as being a new way to introduce Korean traditional music, and of course I wanted to see how they'd do it and if it would be effective to reach the audience. The article I'd seen had not mentioned it was particularly targeted at families, but apparently it was, as the audience was mostly families.

There were two distinctly different things that they did: they had an announcer that was a "scientist" complete with an Einstein wig. He did little magic tricks and spoke in a very funny and affected manner. He did things like introduce all the instruments in funny and memorable ways. For example he introduced the 해금 haegeum and next when he introduced the 아쟁 ajaeng he said it was the haegeum on steroids, the haegeum's big brother (both are bowed, but the haegeum is like a little 2 string violin in size and the ajaeng is 5 feet long with multiple strings). Each instrument played a little snippet designed to capture the audience attention. Most were children's songs or pop songs or Western songs, not Korean traditional songs. The other thing they did was they had three compositions which they introduced through a Korean genre painting and a poetic/story of historic Korea. The announcer for those had one of those perfect radio classical music DJ voices. There were a total of 3 ensemble pieces (one was the first piece then the two last pieces were ensemble) and they were introduced by Einstein and in the middle were three compositions for between 2 and 4 instruments. All the pieces were new compositions, not traditional music. The best part was the amazing 거문고 geomungo player. 


  1. I see what you mean about turning your head farther to the side (whenever you have to turn your head to the side) but aside from that (pwahhhh 'aside'~~~! OK, sorry for that silly pun stuff), it seemed - from my observations - that the others were also turning their heads to the side while they were spinning. I observed that immediately after your comment in the video that you were appalled at yourself.

    Then again, I have to admit that you'd know more about what is being done correctly or not than I would, but this is all a preface to my comment that:

    It was fun to see you do Sangmo, and it does look fun to do! yay!! Thanks for sharing!!!

  2. You need to turn to the side then the other side. I turn like 80 degrees. then 10 more. so it's like turn-n instead of just turn. Ah well....