National Musical Instruments of Korea


In the world every nation has its unique musical instruments.

Diversity of national instruments and their development are closely related to the development of the national music.

The Korean national musical instruments have developed in the long period of history according to the sentiments and emotion of the Korean people.

The Korean national instruments are characterized by clear and soft resonance and rich and delicate expression.

The national musical instruments of Korea were incessantly improved on a modern basis according to the ideological sentiments and emotion of the Korean people in the present era and in the course, new ones came into being.


Ri Jong Ok, Bandmaster of the National Instrumental Group of the National Folk Art Troupe, says “Guiding the national instrumental group of an art organization in the early 1970s, the great leader Kim Jong Il gave a task to improve a national musical instrument of Korea with a long history to be laid for performance like the kayagum.

Later, when an instrument made on an experimental basis was turned out, he listened to its performance and told on the spot about the shortcomings which had not been found out even by its manufacturers.

And he said: The principle to be observed in improving a musical instrument is not to lose the unique characteristics of the original one. It would be good to make a deeper study of the musical instrument so that it could do tremolo as well.

When the new national instrument was completed, he named it ‘Okryugum’.”


Afterwards, too, an active work to improve national musical instruments was done in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea amid the deep concern of the leader. In the course a number of national instruments such as the kayagum, haegum, flute and tanso were improved in conformity with the aesthetic sense of the times, overcoming the past shortcomings.

Their volumes became much louder, ranges were widened and performing efficiency and expression powers increased.

With many national instruments improved, the national music of Korea could be further developed on a new height.


Today those national musical instruments constitute important components in arranging musical instruments of major art troupes of Korea and their vitality is fully demonstrated.

Especially the Juche-based mixed orchestra of Korea combining national and Western instruments strikes the world people with admiration for its unique timbre.

The national musical instruments of Korea representing the excellent culture and tradition of the nation and associated with the leadership of the peerlessly great man Kim Jong Il are the eternal treasure and pride of the Korean nation.

Categories: Culture, Narrated

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