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date: 15 November 2019

T’ŭkchonglocked

  • Robert C. Provine

Extract

Bronze bell, suspended in a wooden frame, of Korea (t’ŭk: ‘special’; chong: ‘bell’). It is a survival of one historical type of the Chinese tezhong. In the Korean version the highly decorated frame is about 72 cm tall and 56 cm wide, mounted on two stands of wooden lions, much as in the case of the set of bells p’yŏnjong. The bell itself is about 52 cm tall and 31 cm in diameter at the rim; near the rim there is a raised circle which is struck with a mallet of animal horn, giving the pitch c.

The t’ŭkchong has been made in Korea since the 15th century, but it is considered a purely Chinese instrument and is used only in the ritual music (aak) played in the tungga (‘terrace ensemble’) at the twice-yearly Sacrifice to Confucius in Seoul. Two strokes on the bell form part of the signal for the ensemble to begin playing; the instrument has no other musical function....

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