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Nat'l Gugak Center lets people hear traditional North Korean music in Seoul Updated: 2020-08-10 17:05:29 KST

By reading music written hundreds of years ago and listening to historical performances you can travel back in time on the third floor of the National Gugak Center.
"Gong-gan E-um" or "connecting spaces" is an open archive of some 83-thousand pieces of traditional Korean music.
And part of that archive that's seeing a lot of attention is the previously unrevealed materials on North Korean music.

"The exhibition that starts off “Gong-gan E-um” is the first ever large-scale collection of North Korean music. Visitors can experience the history and characteristics of North Korea’s music along with some 5-thousand items open to the public."

As North Korea has used music to unify people and stir up popular feelings of passion, music has been more of a movement than art itself.
The reproduced stage of Chunhyangjeon, the largest opera in the North, shows how it dazzled North Koreans with its 40-meter-long real time moving stage.
Dance moves were notated in order to be distributed and repeated easily to strengthen ideological bonds.
Its instruments also became more Westernized to cover a wider range of pitches.

"Research on the North's music is important in understanding the root of ethnic identity and will be an essential asset to society in the future."

To celebrate the opening of the museum, musicians recreated North Korean music.
Using Korean traditional instruments with the North's reformed ones, a song composed 70 years ago was brought to life.

"Playing North Korean music with the South's instruments is difficult. But by doing the impossible, we hope to make cultural exchanges and bring out the togetherness of our history."

Along with the other stages, a lecture series on understanding North Korean musical heritage will be held every Saturday for 10 weeks starting this week.
The exhibition is open to anyone and runs until December 6th.
Choi Jeong-yoon, Arirang News.
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