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date: 21 August 2019


  • Robert C. Provine


Korean generic term for ‘drum’, but usually used more specifically to refer to an undecorated shallow double-headed barrel drum used in folk music. It has two tacked cowskin heads, roughly 35 to 40 cm in diameter, and a body about 20 to 25 cm deep. Essentially the same instrument, decorated with coloured dragon motifs and referred to as yonggo (‘dragon drum’), is also used in court music. The history of this drum is not well documented, but it resembles two instruments (taego: ‘large drum’; and sogo: ‘small drum’) described in the treatise Akhak kwebǒm (1493).

The decorated yonggo is now used in military processional music (taech’wit’a): it is suspended, one skin upwards, by a shoulder sash attached to two metal rings on the drum body; the standing player strikes it with two large padded mallets. The undecorated puk now appears mainly in two roles: as the only accompaniment for professionalized folk narrative singing (...

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