The Korean Singer of Tales / Edition 1

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P'ansori, the traditional oral narrative of Korea, is sung by a highly trained soloist to the accompaniment of complex drumming. The singer both narrates the story and dramatizes ... all the characters, male and female. Performances require as long as six hours and make extraordinary vocal demands. In the first book-length treatment in English of this remarkable art form, Pihl traces the history of p'ansori from its roots in shamanism and folktales through its nineteenth-century heyday under highly acclaimed masters and discusses its evolution in the twentieth century. After examining the place of p'ansori in popular entertainment and its textual tradition, he analyzes the nature of texts in the repertoire and explains the vocal and rhythmic techniques required to perform them. Read more Show Less

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Overview

P'ansori, the traditional oral narrative of Korea, is sung by a highly trained soloist to the accompaniment of complex drumming. The singer both narrates the story and dramatizes all the characters, male and female. Performances require as long as six hours and make extraordinary vocal demands. In the first book-length treatment in English of this remarkable art form, Pihl traces the history of p'ansori from its roots in shamanism and folktales through its nineteenth-century heyday under highly acclaimed masters and discusses its evolution in the twentieth century. After examining the place of p'ansori in popular entertainment and its textual tradition, he analyzes the nature of texts in the repertoire and explains the vocal and rhythmic techniques required to perform them.

Pihl's superb translation of the alternately touching and comic "Song of Shim Ch'ong"--the first annotated English translation of a full p'ansori performance text--illustrates the emotional range, narrative variety, and technical complexity of p'ansori literature. The Korean Singer of Tales will interest not only Korean specialists, but also students of comparative literature, folklore, anthropology, and music.

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Editorial Reviews

Asian Affairs

This book is a welcome addition to the slowly growing number of monographs on Korean culture. "P'ansori," a form of Korean vocal narrative, is an ancient tradition which has received considerable attention recently…this book is an excellent monograph on an aspect of Korean musical culture and is to be recommended to…anyone who is interested in East Asian culture and music.
— James H. Grayson

Asian Affairs - James H. Grayson
This book is a welcome addition to the slowly growing number of monographs on Korean culture. "P'ansori," a form of Korean vocal narrative, is an ancient tradition which has received considerable attention recently…this book is an excellent monograph on an aspect of Korean musical culture and is to be recommended to…anyone who is interested in East Asian culture and music.
Asian Affairs
This book is a welcome addition to the slowly growing number of monographs on Korean culture. "P'ansori," a form of Korean vocal narrative, is an ancient tradition which has received considerable attention recently…this book is an excellent monograph on an aspect of Korean musical culture and is to be recommended to…anyone who is interested in East Asian culture and music.
— James H. Grayson
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674012745
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 10/30/2003
  • Series: Harvard-Yenching Institute Monograph Series , #37
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 307
  • Product dimensions: 5.92 (w) x 9.38 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Marshall Pihl is Associate Professor of Korean Literature at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Note on Romanizations
Introduction: Of Singers and Tales 3
Structure of the Story 4
Social Aspects of Pansori 6
Shaman Background 8
From Mat to Proscenium 10
1 Where Did the Kwangdae Come From? 15
Hwarang Tradition and Shaman Culture 16
The Choson Court and Its Popular Entertainers 21
Players on Their Own 27
2 The Kwangdae's Nineteenth-Century Heyday 31
Five Professional Generations 32
National Association of Performers 36
3 Singers in the Twentieth Century 41
Somber Seoul Becomes a Theater Town 44
Putting Pansori on the Stage 47
Heyday of Singing Drama 50
4 How Did Pansori Evolve? 57
Shaman Culture as Pansori Seedbed 60
From Twelve Madang to Five Songs 63
5 The Nature of the Text 69
Core and Realization 69
Structural Organization 75
6 Music, Theory, and Transmission 89
Music of Pansori 90
Critical History and Performance Theory 93
Training and Transmission 104
7 Pansori on Paper 113
Extant Texts of the "Song of Shim Chong" 114
The Translators Wanpan Text 117
8 The Song of Shim Chong 123
Notes 237
Bibliography 273
Indices 281
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