Gayageum: Living Culture
Go Heung-gon was occupied with slowing down strings to make a cluster of 12 that he would requirement for the “gayageum” or 12-stringed Korean zither. He worked always, even as he addressed the telephone, got visitors and talked at his workshop in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. At the point when more nylon-wrapped steel and metal strings are utilized as a part of cutting edge gayageum, Go continues to the customary system. “The (silk) strings are in charge of the agreeable sound,” he said. Since he worked non-stop, one is commonly attracted to watch his hands that have done this assignment for 40 or more years; and you recognize one hand is generally as large as his face. When you specify this, he goes, “Ah…because I figure I accomplished such a great deal with my hands,” laughing a bit.
Go, 63, is Important Intangible Cultural Asset No. 42 in conventional music instrument making. He’s the expert of string instruments — the gayageum; “geomungo,” a six-string zither; and “haegeum” a two-stringed violin-like instrument. The Korean gayageum goes once more to around the sixth century. His customers incorporate huge names, for example, eminent gayageum player Hwang Byeong-gi. Be that as it may his customers are additionally understudies of customary Korean music whom at this point of the year hurry all at once to Go to have their strings tuned. As a kid, living beside the late customary musical instrument artisan Kim Gwang-ju in Jinju, South Gyeongsang Province, he would take wood from his neighbor to make sleighs. “I didn’t realize that the wood was so critical,” Go said.
A few decades later, he knows its significance, which is critical to deciding the sound. Additionally as an artisan devoted to succeeding in the customary strategy for delivering conventional Korean instruments, he goes to additional lengths to secure material. “In conventional Korean instruments, the body (produced using the Paulowinia tree) decides the sound. Making these instruments is really managing the specialty of sound,” Go said. “The magnificence of Korean string instruments is that they are the sound of nature,” he said.
In this manner, he lives up to expectations through a system to secure the best Paulowinia trees, after which he cuts them up and gives them a chance to air dry for a long time before he utilizes it. “We need to let the fiber recede,” he said. He said the best woods are the dim ones. The silk strings are harder to acquire nowadays on the grounds that silkworms are utilized as wellbeing supplements. Luckily, he has a supplier in Jeonju, South Jeolla Province.
Images from Goryeong.kr