A Study of "Suite No. 1, Seven Korean Folksongs for Violin (Or Violoncello) and Piano" (1958) by Min-Jong Park.

Duc Hee Lee, Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College


This monograph is a study of the Suite No. 1, 7 Korean Folksongs for Violin (or Violoncello) and Piano (1958) by Min-jong Park. In 1958, the Korean composer and violinist Min-jong Park (b. 1918) composed the suite while he studied in Paris. This work, based on seven popular folksongs of Korea, combines Korean traditional folk material with Western compositional style. The melodies are basically adapted from the original folksongs but are highly embellished. The rhythm in the accompaniment generally follows the characteristic dance-like traditional rhythmic patterns of Korea, such as kutkori and semachi. The harmonic language used in the Suite No. 1 is based on the 19th century Western style, with a strong suggestion of French impressionistic harmony. The form of each song (or movement) is also in the traditional Western style, somewhat modified. For background material this writer includes a short chronological survey of Korean music and six of the most popular traditional instruments of Korea with some detail. For a better understanding of the Suite No. 1 the writer also includes a description of the original folksongs according to scale, tonal center, range, interval content, cadence formula, meter, rhythmic pattern of the accompaniment, formal structure, and contour. The Suite No. 1, which combines Eastern and Western musical elements, is highly recommended for the repertory of either violinist or cellist regardless of his or her nationality.