Music, School of


Date of this Version

January 1993


Namdaemun is the great South gate of Seoul, Korea. First constructed in 1398 during the Yi Dynasty, Namdaemun is today one of Korea’s most imposing monuments as well as the site for one of the largest open air markets in the world. It has been designated National Treasure No. 1 by the South Korean government. This work attempts to suggest the colorful and variegated processions that have passed under the Namdaemun over the years - a cavalcade of kings, aristocrats, Buddhist monks, merchants, farmers, shamans and slaves, all accompanied by their own unique music: the slow, solemn heterophony of “Aak” of the court tradition, and the uninhibited folk style "Shinawi", featuring jazz – like improvisation by the soprano sax and trumpet. The Korean minor “Kyemyomjo” mode is used throughout.

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