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Korean Traditional Music Style: Pansori

Essay By: samdaman
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I'm in an advanced choir class and we learned about the Korean traditional music style called, "Pansori". This essay briefly talks about what Pansori is.


Submitted:Dec 4, 2012    Reads: 228    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   


Pansori and Western Music

In many different cultures, music is very unique in many ways. In the Korean culture, there is a very old music style called Pan so li. Pansori is very unique because the singer uses a variety of techniques. It can be very unique by comparing with Western style music. Pansori and Western music there are some similarities and many differences between these two styles.

Pansori and Western music are very similar in some ways. First of all, Pansori and Western Music both are entertainments for the people for both cultures. The entertainment could be performed in special occasions or celebrations. These two styles are also very similar because they both have very clear notes. Although in Pansori, it may sound as if the notes are too different, they have an exact note for every technique they use. They can also both be very sad and really show suffering. For Pansori, it tells the audience Korean's suffering, while in Western music is tells a classical yearning or sadness. The two styles of music also have been past down for centuries and has become a traditional part of their country's culture.

Pansori and Western music are very different in many ways. First of all, the vocal techniques are very different. Pansori has a very unique technique called "sigimsae," which is freely singing. This allows the vocalist to freely go up and down notes dramatically and quickly. Although the notes are quick, it is exact and has a purpose. These are the reasons why Pansori is so unique. On the other hand, Western music is very different. Unlike Pansori, Western music has a set scale that the vocalist follows. Pansori drastically changes notes, but Western music, opera, for example has a set scale that it follows. This is what makes Western music very unique too.

The two unique styles also have different themes in their music. For Pansori, it has the theme of suffering. Pansori was mainly used to express Korean's suffering during wars and captivity. A interesting thing about the Pansori vocalists is that they purposefully make their voice rough by straining their throat to help emphasize the idea of suffering to the audience's ears. But by straining their vocal chords, they can really damage their throat and actually grow nodules, which makes a person's voice very rough. In Western music, straining throats is not an option. Western music has a classical theme, which soothes the audience. If operas strained their voice, it wouldn't sound so soothing to the audience's ears. Another difference is that the teacher who teaches Pansori has all the authority. The student must obey what the teacher has to say. In Western culture, it is also the same, but not as strict as Korean culture.

Pansori and Western music really make their country colorful and different. It makes people happy, sad and constantly entertained. Although they both have some similarities and many differences, they both contribute a lot to their culture. They both can show different vocal techniques and various ways to show their expression. Pansori can use the sigimsae to help the audience be attracted to the music and Western music can entertain the audience with great emphasis on each note on a set scale. Both of these styles really shows what is Western culture and what Korean culture really is.


Works Cited

"Korean Pansori (판소리) Documentary [ENGLISH]." 소리미. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Oct. 2012. .





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