Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Asian Studies

First Advisor

Jennifer Matsue




Korea, music, modernization, original works


After the period of Japanese colonization and the Korean War in early 20th century, Korea rapidly adapted to Western influences as it recovered from the nationwide political and economic turbulence. As Western culture quickly traditional Korean cultures, Korean recognized the importance to conserve their authentic characteristics. Music played an important role during this cultural revival/ Korean musicians began to internalize the imported Western music to create a new traditional music, through which Korea sought to re-establish its national identities. However, this manipulation of traditional music to conform to the Westernizing society has led to dilution of the unique musical qualities reflecting the original works of Korea. 25-stringed Korean zither, gayageum, is often used as a failed revival of the traditional music due to the loss of the traditional qualities of gayageum. Instead of applying Western values to suit the instrument, gayageum has been extensively modified in order to employ Western musical elements. This thesis will explore the history of Korean music and the hybridization of Western and the Korean traditional music that has created the new traditional music in the 20th century.