LTEA 142 Chapter Notes - Chapter 5: Korean Wave, Pansori, Yangban

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27 May 2018
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Final Readings: What is the K in K-pop? South Korean Popular Music, the Culture Industry, and National
Identity, John Lie
Introduction
Early 2010s: popularity of South Korean popular music
Spread to Japan and Taiwan and to Europe
Cultures of Choson Korea
The elite culture was dominated by Chinese-influenced, Confucian-drenched monarchy
and the yangban ruling class. The Sinocentric worldview valorized classical Chinese
civilization, conveniently summarized in this period as being Confucian, with its stress on
respecting the elders and ancestors, hierarchy and patriarchy, and tradition and order.
In contrast, in spite of its regional variations, the culture of the masses or the peasantry
tended to be much more egalitarian and disorderly. To put it in a shorthand form, then,
the Confucian rituals of the elite all quiet and orderly contrasted with the
shamanistic rites of the masses emotional and expressive. In terms of music, the
courtly performances of Chinese-derived instruments stood in sharp contrast to the
popular performances of folk tunes and drums. The former seemed to be all about
harmony and order; the latter appeared to exemplify energy and chaos.
Apollonian vs. Dionysian
Pansori: recitation accompanied by a drum
The Advent of the Modern
In the realm of music, the simple reading captures the dominant trend: traditional music
gave way to Japanese and Western genres. The popular that had been equivalent to the
folk reeded as the e popular usi, itself ore a produt of the ulture idustry
rather than an emergent expression of the people, reverberated throughout the
peninsula.
The brute reality of power politics meant the predominance of Japan until the end of
the colonial period.
The period of Japanese dominance gave way to the U.S. dominance in South Korea after
Liberation. The U.S. occupation and its aftermath brought popular American music: not
only jazz and blues but also pop and rock via the U.S. Armed Forces radio and television,
U.S. military camptown bars and dance halls, and movie theaters that largely showcased
Hollywood films. The era of American cultural dominance the 1950s and 1960s
affected an ever larger population. Rapid and compressed urbanization brought South
Koreans in close proximity to imported cultural products, which in turn disseminated by
means of modern communication technologies: radio, movies, and television
Cho Yong-pil is a consensus superstar of South Korean popular music in the 1970s and
1980s. Although he dabbled in several musical styles, including his early infatuation with
rok usi, his iitial popularity oed to trot that he sag i traditioal, pasori style.
Suggestively, he claims to have mimicked the traditional training of pansori singers,
hih etailed destroyig oe’s oal hords y sigig loudly and repeatedly in the
woods (See Cho, 1984). Suggesting the persistent proximity of Japanese and Korean
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Document Summary

South korean popular music, the culture industry, and national. Early 2010s: popularity of south korean popular music. Spread to japan and taiwan and to europe. The elite culture was dominated by chinese-influenced, confucian-drenched monarchy and the yangban ruling class. The sinocentric worldview valorized classical chinese civilization, conveniently summarized in this period as being confucian, with its stress on respecting the elders and ancestors, hierarchy and patriarchy, and tradition and order. In contrast, in spite of its regional variations, the culture of the masses or the peasantry tended to be much more egalitarian and disorderly. To put it in a shorthand form, then, the confucian rituals of the elite all quiet and orderly contrasted with the shamanistic rites of the masses emotional and expressive. In terms of music, the courtly performances of chinese-derived instruments stood in sharp contrast to the popular performances of folk tunes and drums.

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