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date: 19 October 2019


  • Robert C. Provine


Large transverse bamboo flute of Korea (tae: ‘large’; gŭm: ‘flute’). It is also called chŏ or chŏttae. The standard taegŭm is about 80 cm long and has six finger-holes plus the blowing-hole and a membrane-covered hole. It gives the pitch b♭ with all finger-holes stopped and has a range of over two octaves. Folk instruments, generally pitched a tone higher, are somewhat shorter.

Since the blowing-hole is large, the performer can obtain gradations of pitch by varying air pressure and by altering the angle of embouchure; the wide vibrato characteristic of Korean music is produced by simultaneously bobbing the head up and down and rotating the instrument slightly. The finger-holes are also large and nearly equidistant. Between the blowing-hole and the first finger-hole is an aperture covered with a thin, fragile reed membrane; a curved metal plate laced to the instrument can be slid over the membrane hole for protection. Towards the far end of the flute are two to five unstopped holes which define the maximum sounding length and decorate the instrument. Owing to its large size the ...

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