Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Samulnori - Traditional Korean Drums

Today I took the first (of two) classes on samulnori tonight. It was a lot of fun and a little tiring! (My poor arms!) The class was held a little bit off of campus in a random basement.

Our 선생님 (Sohn sang neem / teacher) was this little woman. One you could hardly picture carrying around drums, but she knew her stuff.

Samulnori is comprised of four instruments, which is where it gets it's name. (Sa = 4 in Korean) I played a double drum (pictured in front of 선생님 on a stand). The guys played a smaller, deeper drum, which, essentially, kept a bass beat. 선생님 led us with a metal plate-looking thing. It had a sound similar to a small gong. The fourth instrument is the hanging gong pictured.

Each instrument is suppose to sound like something different. Once again, I didn't take notes, but I think it was something like this: deep drum = clouds, double drum = rain, mini gong = thunder and big gong = lightening. I might have mixed up the gongs...

The double drum had two drum sticks: one that had a little ball on the end and the other that looked like a scrap piece of a 2 x 4. Our "sheet music" consisted of 선생님 writing the sounds of each stick on the board. For example, "kong" "kong" "cheep" "tong" meant both, both, small stick, big stick.

We actually made some really cool music. We learned one song that lasted about two or three minutes. I'm not going to lie, it felt really good to smack the drums with all of my might. Good stress relief!
Yep, thought you would enjoy another action shot.

Nothing else is too new. It rained super hard all day. It makes for a wet walk to class. And I feel like my feet have been wet for the past two days. Oh well, only three more weeks of monsoon season. Then we get to move on to the hot and humid month. Joy.

The course work is really picking up, so everyone is just a little bit stressed. But we are all holding onto the end goal: a trip to Songnisan this Friday. Songnisan is a secluded Buddhist village. Boy, I can't wait to relax!


  1. Yo Kristin! The girl in the middle picture in the far upper-left corner. Yeah. She looks EXACTLY like you. From behind, I wouldn't be able to tell the difference. Just sayin.

  2. hahah thanks for a shot of the rain

  3. Sound like a lot of fun! I never got to try those drums. I don't even know anybody who owned one of those. Enjoy!

  4. Hahaha, Megan. Awkward, I know. But seriously, you don't understand. The rain here is redic. It rains hard, nonstop everyday for four weeks (that's what she said.).