Sustaining an Emerging Korean Percussion Tradition

What music should be sustained? Global efforts to preserve “traditional” music tend to reflect performance practices that survive among aging musicians or in archived recordings, photographs, and other documents.  Keith Howard is the Emeritus Professor of Music at SOAS, University of London. Keith Howard’s research on Korean music began with the aim to discover how people used music at a time of rapid change: his doctoral work was on the folk music of a geographically isolated island, and its preservation. He learnt to perform percussion and melodic instruments, working with celebrated musicians, and this led to two books exploring the construction, repertoire, and pedagogy of musical instruments. Work on shamanism and ‘comfort women’ led to further books, cementing his reputation as an anthropologist as well as an ethnomusicologist. More recently, he has worked extensively in North Korea as well as South Korea, and has published on composition, pop music, political ideology, and historical aspects.

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