Korean folk music is varied and complex, but all forms maintain a set of rhythms (called Jangdan) and a loosely defined set of melodic modes.
Because the folk songs of various areas are categorized under Dongbu folk songs, their vocal styles and modes are limited. Therefore, currently scholars are attempting to categorize the Dongbu folk songs further based on different musical features. These songs are mostly simple and bright. Namdo folk songs are those of Jeolla Province and a part of Chungcheong Province.
While the folk songs of other regions are mostly musically simple, the folk songs of the Namdo region, where the famous musical genres pansori and sanjo were created, are rich and dramatic. Some Namdo folk songs are used in pansori or developed by professional singers and are included as part of their repertories. Jeju folk songs are sung on the Jeju Island. They are more abundant in number than any other regional folk songs, and approximately 1600 songs are transmitted today. Jeju folk songs are characterized by their simple and unique melodic lines and rich texts.
Is a long vocal and percussive music played by one singer and one drummer. The lyrics tell one of five different stories, but is individualized by each performer, often with updated jokes and audience participation. One of the most famous pansori singers is Pak Tongjin .
Is a Korean folk music tradition that is a form of percussion music includes drumming, dancing, and singing. Most performances are outside, with dozens of players, all in constant motion. Samul Nori , originally the name of a group founded in 1978, has become popular as a genre, even overseas. It is based on Pungmul musical rhythmic patterns and uses the same instruments, but it faster and usually played while sitting down.
Korean court music preserved to date can be traced to the beginning of the Choson Dynasty in 1392. It is now rare, except for government-sponsored organizations like the The National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts .
There are three types of court music.
One is called Aak, and is an imported form of Chinese ritual music, and another is a pure Korean form called Hyang-ak; the last is a combination of Chinese and Korean influences, and is called Dang-ak.
was brought to Korea in 1116 and was very popular for a time before dying out. It was revived in 1430, based on a reconstruction of older melodies. The music is now highly specialized and uses just two different surviving melodies. Aak is played only at certain very rare concerts, such as the Sacrifice to Confucius in Seoul .