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Pomp'ae and Ritual Music in Korea


In addition to the Chong-ak and Misogak styles, there are several other important traditional music genres such as the Buddhist Pomp'ae, ritual music and Chongmyo ceremonial music. Pomp'ae, with its long, drawn-out notes, is occasionally played at Buddhist ceremonies, but is rarely performed at concerts. As a result, the group of musicians able to perform Pomp'ae is limited to a few monks. 

Ritual music includes that which is played during rites honoring confucian sages as well as during Chongmyo ceremonial music during rites honoring Choson Dynasty kings. The former is known as Eng-anjiak while the latter consists of two repertoires known as Pot'aep'yong and Chongdaeop. Pot'aep'yong, the music played especially during the Chongmyo ritual, has a mysterious and inspirational quality. 

 

When performed for the solemn rites at the Chongmyo complex (a unique architectural masterpiece that has been registered on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List), Pot'aep'yong music evokes a feeling of tremendous artistic purity. The harmonious quality of the music is remarkable in itself; yet, even more amazing is the meticulous use of instrumental arrangement to symbolize the East Asian philosophy of Cum-yang and the five elements.

 


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