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[Vol.30 (2018)] Originality from Cultural Boundary: Assimilation and Reconstruction of Music Education in Korea
Author : PARK, Sojeong
Date : 19.02.19
Page : 105-128
Keyword : Music education, King Sejong, Joseon, Korea, Confucian philosophy, Ritual music
Abstract :

Since Confucian ritual music was reconstructed and rejuvenated in the reign of King Sejong of Joseon 世宗 (r. 1418-1450), Koreans have continued a long-standing tradition of Confucian musical education. King Sejong’s enterprising work, however, was not a mere restoration of the original Confucian ritual music, but a gallant reinterpretation of traditional Confucian values. I argue that the veritably successful reconstruction was a result of Korean self-awareness of its culture own marginalized status in the Chinese cultural sphere. The substantial divide in language and culture between China and Korea propelled Joseon Korea away from an uncritical assimilation of mainstream Chinese Confucian culture. These factors also drove King Sejong to develop a new notation system for tunes indigenous to Korea, which was previously deemed as vulgar, and subsequently bringing the newly composed ritual music to the court. Incidentally, the awareness of Korean musical culture turned out to be an ideal way to embody the essence of Confucian music education - the cultivation of musical sensibility and the enjoyment of such music with the people, which had been long-forgotten in the acknowledged history.

The ambivalent nature of Joseon court music is closely related to the development of Neo-Confucian scholarship from Goryeo (918-1392) to Joseon (1392-1987) Korea. With the emergence of the new Joseon dynasty, the continued assimilation and internalization of Confucian values developed into the most influential moral foundation of the new kingdom, from the ruling class down to the common people. A similar originality of cultural boundaries occurred again during the westernization period of early modern Korea, and continued until current contemporary music education in Korea. I will develop the idea of originality from cultural boundary to explore how the reconstructed ideals of Confucian ritual music work in contemporary music education, especially Gugak, i.e. Korean traditional music. 

Attachments : vol.30 PARK Sojeong.pdf


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