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TA-RYONG IV

(The reverse side of post-modernism)

Solo for Percussion(1991)



Otto Kolleritsch, director of the Institut für Wertungsforschung (Institute for evaluation and research) of the University of music and theatre Graz, asked me to make a contribution to the Symposium "Wiederaneignung und Neubestimmung - der Fall Postmorderne in der Musik" ("Relearning and Redefining: Postmodernism in Music"). Instead of a lecture, I decided to compose a short solo, in the hope that it might provide the listener with food for thought.

Our modern society, even within the artistic community, seems persistently conscious only of the first world, as if no other side even existed. A concept such as "postmodernism" can only be conceived in the minds of a select and satiated few - a minority even in the first world. Strictly speaking, it is a sign of neo-colonial behaviour if a musician believes that everything that our world and our history have brought forth is at his disposal, to be used at his pleasure. Without respect for cultural identity, this leads to the thinking that "anything goes", which in turn leads towards a new, comprehensive cultural power play: "we take it over".

My music is based on Korean musical perception, but at the same time, I am attempting to share and stimulate reflection on the European contemporary music development. I strive to comprehend the relationship between repetition and the search for and discovery of new and clearer idioms. In this piece, I have attempted to focus on some of the archaic, rhythmic elements of our traditional Korean music - shamanic rituals, for example, play a role in our culture.

TA-RYONG is one of the most familiar concepts of Korean music. We use the word TA-RYONG to describe a basic, repetitive rhythm. The fascinating aspect of TA-RYONG is the nearly infinite number of variations possible using this rhythm.

With respect and love for this music, I have attempted to present an enlightened explanation of this complex reality. I found it helpful to use some of the contemporary forms of musical notation, as it is of great importance to me to record the music in such a way that the subtleties of our musical tradition are not distorted.

Younghi Pagh-Paan (1991)



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