What the Hell is a Gayageum? Hendrix Re-Imagined

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If you don’t know the answer or even if you do, I implore you to take a look at this fantastic video!

As regular visitors of my site may know I love to feature unique instruments and sounds not often heard in popular culture, so todays weird and wonderful instrument is a traditional Korean instrument believed to have been developed in the 6th century and later improved into the more common Sanjo Gayageum.

The video featured in this article is of Luna Lee playing Voodoo Chile, a re-imagining of Jimmy Hendrix already incredible classic Voodoo Child. What Luna produces out of her Gayageum is rather unexpected:

“The gayageum or kayagum is a traditional Koreanzither-like string instrument, with 12 strings, though some more recent variants have 21 or other numbers of strings. It is probably the best known traditional Korean musical instrument.[1] It is related to other Asian instruments, including the Chinese guzheng, the Japanese koto, the Mongolian yatga, and the Vietnamese đàn tranh

The sanjo gayageum is believed to have evolved in the 19th century with the emergence of sanjo music—which literally means scattered melodies, a musical form that involves fast temos and some improvisation. The sanjo gayageum version of the instrument has closer string spacing and a shorter length to let musicians play the faster passages required for sanjo (Choi 2005). The sanjo gayageum is now the most wide spread form of gayageum.(KCMPC 2001). All traditional gayageum use silk strings, though, since the late 20th century, some musicians use nylon.” Source

Hope you enjoyed today’s post. I love reading and responding to everyone’s comments, so feel free to leave a comment of your own.

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