• Entangled Modernities in the Culture of Korean Music Publishing:Challenges in Establishing A Contemporary Korean Art Music Archive
English Abstract

Western musicology has traditionally treated musical source material—manuscripts, autograph scores, writings, early editions—as an essential component of scholarly investigation. However, scores and other music-related material from contemporary Korean composers, absent any central archiving institution, tend to accumulate only on an individual basis. Recently, South Korean governmental institutions have begun to promote and fund individuals seeking to establish a comprehensive archive for contemporary Korean music; nonetheless, many challenges remain due to the complex nature of music documentation and publishing culture in South Korea.

In this article, I suggest that this situation derives from the complex history of the reception of Western music in Korea. I first investigate how the publishing and archival culture of South Korea in general differs from that of Western countries. Further, while emphasising the significance of the preservation of musical source materials in Korea, I critically reflect on the parameters defining musical sources of art music in Western culture that do not quite apply to Korean music archival culture. I also explore what alternative concepts of music should be considered to encourage the assessment and collection of scattered source material. By thus positioning Korea's situation as an example of "entangled modernities" in the music field of a non-Western country, I attempt to mediate the regional situation of Korea's music publishing and archival culture to a "global" discussion of music documentation.

French Abstract

La musicologie occidentale a traditionnellement considéré les sources musicales–manuscrits autographes, écrits, éditions anciennes–comme des composants essentiels dans la recherche académique. Cependant, les matériels musicaux issus de compositeurs coréens contemporains, absents de toutes archives institutionnelles, tendent à s'accumuler de manière individuelle. Récemment, des institutions gouvernementales de Corée du Sud ont commencé à promouvoir et à financer des recherches individuelles afin de constituer des archives de musique contemporaine coréenne. Néanmoins, de nombreux défis demeurent, qui sont liés à la nature complexe de la documentation musicale en Corée du Sud.

Dans cet article, je montre que cette situation est liée à la complexité de l'histoire de la réception de la musique occidentale en Corée. Premièrement, je cherche à savoir comment l'édition et les archives culturelles en Corée du Sud en général, diffèrent des pays occidentaux. Ensuite, tout en soulignant l'importance de la conservation des ressources musicales en Corée, j'apporte un regard critique sur les paramètres qui définissent les sources musicales dans la culture occidentale, et qui ne s'appliquent pas aux archives culturelles de Corée. Enfin, j'explore les concepts alternatifs qui doi-vent être pris en compte pour encourager la valorisation et la collection des ressources, aujourd'hui éparpillées. En tenant compte de la situation en Corée, comme un exemple de "modernités emmêlées" dans le champ d'un pays non-occidental, je tente d'arbitrer la situation régionale de l'édition musicale et des archives culturelles pour aboutir à une discussion "globale" sur la documentation musicale.

German Abstract

In der westlichen Musikwissenschaft werden seit jeher Quellen–Handschriften, autographe Noten, Schriften, Erstausgaben–als essentielle Bestandteile der Forschungsarbeit betrachtet. In Korea hingegen werden Noten und andere Musikmaterialien zeitgenössischer koreanischer Komponisten eher auf individueller Ebene gesammelt, da es dort kein zentrales Archiv dafür gibt. In jüngster Zeit hat die südkoreanische Regierung begonnen, Bürger zu unterstützen und zu fördern, die ein umfassendes Archiv für zeitgenössische Musik einrichten wollen; trotzdem gilt es, viele Heraus-forderungen zu meistern, die aufgrund des komplexen Charakters von Musikdokumentation und Verlagskultur in Südkorea bestehen.

In diesem Artikel gehe ich davon aus, dass dieser Zustand aufgrund der komplizierten Geschichte der Rezeption westlicher Musik in Korea besteht. Zunächst untersuche ich, wie die Verlags- und Archivkultur Südkoreas sich allgemein von der westlicher Länder unterscheidet. Während ich im Folgenden die Bedeutung der Erhaltung musikalischen Quellenmaterials in Korea hervorhebe, beleuchte ich die Parameter kritisch, die musikalische Quellen von Kunstmusik in der westlichen Kultur ausmachen, sind diese doch auf die koreanische Musikarchivkultur nicht so recht anwendbar. Ich untersuche zudem, welche anderen Musikkonzepte berücksichtigt werden müssen, um die Einordnung und Sammlung von verstreutem Quellenmaterial zu unterstützen. Damit wird die Situation Koreas als ein Beispiel "verwobener Modernität" in Bezug auf die Musik eines nicht-westlichen Landes dargestellt, so dass ich die regionale Situation von Koreas Musik-verlagswesen und Archivkultur in Bezug setzen kann zu einer "globalen" Diskussion über Musikdokumentation.

As a musicologist trained in historical musicology, I have always taught and been taught that "the four Rs" of music bibliographic projects—RISM, RIdIM, RILM, RIPM—were the most important reference sources when initially seeking out a research topic. Korean students, however, especially those who are interested in music presently performed, composed, and studied in Korea, did not seem to make much use of these resources, due largely to the limited coverage of Korean material. Furthermore, when asked about South Korea's music preservation system and status, I found it very difficult to answer, as I could not provide any information about libraries or archival systems exclusively devoted to music. Although now eagerly participating in and organising the country's committees for some bibliographic projects1, South Korean involvement with these only began in the twenty-first century. Likewise, although many efforts have been made to preserve music materials in the past decade, recognition of the significance of music materials remains low in South Korea.

In comparison with Western countries, the state of music preservation in South Korea looks distinctly underdeveloped: I cannot think of a major organisation or institute for music materials, and have no idea where to find source materials written by contemporary Korean composers. I know that sources of Korean traditional music would be available at certain institutes in South Korea, but do not know where to find music source materials produced since Western music was first imported to and became dominant in Korean society in the early-twentieth century. I asked some Korean composers how they preserve their own material, and whether they consider them important potential resources for future musicological research; the answer was that such material is entirely personal, collected and maintained by themselves, and that they did not have much interest in making these sources open to the public for any purpose. [End Page 215]

Four years ago, my then-colleagues at Ewha Womans University in South Korea and I organised an international conference, "Keeping Music Alive: Innovative Approaches to Music Research". This pioneering event called attention to the need for preservation of music source materials, inviting prestigious music librarians from major international music institutions to speak. At that conference, I presented a paper that surveyed how music source materials have been treated in Korea since Western classical music was first imported, and considered sources that might also be musicological research tools, besides those materials traditionally considered significant in Eurocentric music archival cultures. I found that the differences did not derive from archival culture in general, but from changes in the national concept of music due to the spread of Western classical music in Korea2. My aim in that paper was to show that Korea has its own strong archival culture, not inferior to that of Western countries, explaining the past lack of attempts to archive music by pointing to Korea's specific historical situation. However, it seemed that I only exposed the inconvenient truth about the current situation of Korean music archives. While Korean traditional music documents enjoy relatively good preservation through the government-supported National Gugak Center, materials related to music using Western idioms remains privately held; absent any central archiving institution, scores and other music-related material from contemporary Korean composers tend to accumulate purely on an individual basis. While I intended to argue for bridging the differences in music archival culture between South Korea and the West—considering South Korea's modern music archiving culture—few systematic attempts to preserve contemporary Korean music and music literature in South Korea has been made, despite the long-held national interest in archiving historical sources in general. Ultimately, music materials receive relatively limited attention in South Korea in terms of their archival value, compared with many other historical, social, or political documents, as Koreans have different perspectives on the treatment of specifically musical source materials.

To explain this situation, I thought I should investigate the history of Western music in modern Korea, and this naturally led me to think about the notion of modernity; as a historical musicologist, I am interested in figuring out why this archival situation exists, and finding further grounds for my observations about the musical culture of modern Korea. Yet rather than merely describing differences in music archival cultures, I elaborate on the situation by examining several interesting phenomena of South Korea's music publishing culture. In doing so, I believe I can shed light on the positive aspects of non-Western music archival cultures. [End Page 216]

Theoretical Background: Göran Therborn's "Entangled Modernities"

While contemplating the gaps in the treatment of music source materials in Korea, it occurred to me that perhaps my criticism of the relative lack of archival attempts for Korean art music risked a strong orientation towards the perspectives of the Western world, where priority is given to written sources and published editions. Reflecting once again on my position as a Korean musicologist, I chose to look into phenomena present in the music publishing culture of South Korea—and to uncover their meaning in their own right.

To formulate their history, I felt the need for a broader perspective. Likewise, to grasp the present music archiving situation as a part of Korea's music history, I needed to observe the various notions of modernity as manifested in Korea's music publishing field. While searching for a theoretical background for this investigation, my colleagues and I, involved in Aksang, a private musicological study group, found a very interesting article by Göran Therborn in the European Journal of Social Theory, "Entangled Modernities," published in 2003. The concept of "entangled modernities" is to provide "a focus of reflection, investigation, and analysis, from different angles, with different eyes, and with open-ended, expectably variable outcomes"3.

The first point in this article is the necessity for a non-Western oriented framework to explain social phenomena—in particular, to explain modernity in modern society. Therborn states, "It [this theory of "entangled modernities"] emerges out of a profound dissatisfaction, first of all with Eurocentrism and after the Second World War, North Atlanticist West-centrism of mainstream nineteenth- and twentieth-century views of the contemporary world and its history, but also with prevailing idealistic notions—either of positive ideals or of dangerous or vicious ideals—of modernity and with straightened outlines of its history"4. Given this philosophical environment, he suggests the purpose of his theory: "Like most discourses on modernity, the interest in entangled modernities is an attempt to grasp the present as history with a wide interdisciplinary grip, relating cultures and social institutions and social conflicts"5.

The ramifications of the theory are far-reaching: "entangled modernities is then part of two broader intellectual efforts, towards a global scholarship and towards a new historical self-conception"6. Its purpose well serves my intention to investigate and reassess the meaning of music publishing culture in South Korea in its own right. Beyond merely pointing out the current lack of a distinctive musical archive or database system for music, I am seeking a historical narrative that can be adapted to explain this specific culture.

In this vein, the most intriguing point of Therborn's theory is that he provides a solid foundation on which one can grasp notions of modernity not as a discourse overcoming something, but as entanglements of complex conflicts. The following portion of this article positions Korea's music archival situation as an example of 'entangled modernities' in a music-related field of a non-Western country. This approach attempts to mediate between the regional situation of Korea's music publishing and archival culture and a 'global' discussion of music documentation. [End Page 217]

"Entangled Modernities" in Korean Music Publishing Culture

Of the two kinds of entanglements suggested by Therborn—'constitutive' and 'geo-historical'—the more obvious aspect for interpreting Korea's music archival culture is the latter, although the two kinds are not mutually exclusive. Ever since the importation of Western music to Korea, the concept of music in the country has changed greatly. For a while, Western music—mostly transmitted by American missionaries and the colonial Japanese government—and Korean traditional music coexisted, and new genres of music synthesising the elements of these distinct musical cultures developed in turn. Iwangjig'a'agbu, a Japanese department responsible for supplying music for imperial events, took over the same role in the Joseon Dynasty; unfortunately, while preserving musical source materials, this also resulted in a furtive efflux of important Korean cultural assets to Japan.

While Korean traditional music had a primary institute for the collection and transmission of oral history and written musical source materials, musicians studying and performing Western music had limited access to music editions, which were mainly imported through Japan; and Korean composers lacked a clear occupational precedent for the concept of an institute where their music could be preserved. The first publication of a Korean composer's work is likely Nanpa Hong's 1924 editions of his own works7, establishing a pattern wherein score publication has been an important activity for composers. Until the 1945 Liberation from Japanese Rule, only a few Italian art song compilations and pieces of newly composed music—most of which were gagok (Korean art song) or dongyo (children's song)—were published, the latter also in the format of song collections8. Few publishing companies specialised in music, and most publications related to music were textbooks for elementary and secondary schools9. It is important to point out that modern school education had begun under the Japanese Occupation; as a result, the basic components of music textbooks derived from those of the Japanese, even though those text-books [End Page 218] were written by Korean musicians such as Keum Su-hyun, Yi Seung-hag, Kim Sung-tae, and Na Un-yeong10. Moreover, these textbook author–musicians were educated and received professional training in Japan, or at least under a Japanese school system during the Occupation.

Some musical scores for Christian hymns existed as well, for use at missionary schools, a clear example of American influence on Western music culture in Korea. In this case, as with the Japanese-based textbooks, the influx of Western music to Korea was not directly from European countries, but through mediating agents. Likewise, most music publishers after the Korean War worked as printing agencies, reprinting editions of Western music scores imported primarily through Japan—what might be considered pirated editions today. Consequently, what might be understood as 'modern' music publication in Korea for much of the twentieth century was strongly oriented to the perspectives of Japan and the United States. This geo-historical background is essential to approaching the entanglement of modern Korean music publishing culture.

"Grasping Modernities in the Plural" in Korea's Music Publishing

Therborn further suggests some concepts for outlining a global topography of modernity11. Through these, we can look into modern phenomena appearing in music publishing in Korea, endowing those phenomena with social implications in terms of modernities as a plural concept. At issue is the imperative to avoid understanding the history of something as manifesting modernity as a singular concept; to this end, Therborn discerns four major master narratives, all relying on past-future contrasts, typically used to define a field or society in terms of modernity12. Therborn's brief descriptions of these past-future contrasts seen in Table 1 work as meaningful frames for interpreting changes in Korea's music publishing industry in terms of modernities.

How those four narratives—not necessarily mutually exclusive—can be used in explaining Korea's publishing situation by the 1970s is exemplified in a group discussion among three representatives of major music publishing companies and a music journal editor, published in Weolgan'eum'ag (Music Monthly) in 1973.

Their discussion begins with past music publishing history from the Japanese colonial period, and moves on to the present, then the future. Their major frame for developing the discussion follows this temporal construct, while the master narrative in assessing the current situation is their progress through those periods. The first and second narratives come to the fore in terms of the positive notions of modernity that have become evident in publishing culture since Korea's liberation from Japanese rule. In the past—during Japanese rule—no publishers specialised in music; furthermore, newly composed music did not have much market value. Nonetheless, music publishers were making progress on their own terms, most critically in the development of a new transcription method in 194813.

Similarly, these narratives underscore the importance of changes in printing methods. Initially, music publishers usually made a photocopy edition of the score available in the Western world, imported via Japan; following the end of colonial rule, publishers printed [End Page 219] from the note-engraved seal. This is particularly significant in that a seal is widely used to present oneself instead of a personal signature in Korea. Using highly trained seal engravers, music publishers could produce a newly transcribed edition from the existing one; furthermore, the transcribers' skill at engraving seals was widely known, to the extent that Korean publishers claimed to receive orders to transcribe and print from Western countries15. This use of seals, which can be read as proclaiming a merit-based differentiation of score quality deriving from the association of personal quality with a seal, is also illuminated through the perspective of the third narrative, in which the present overcomes the past's different preconditions.

Table 1. Master Narratives of Modernity: Major Past—Future Contrasts.
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Table 1.

Master Narratives of Modernity: Major Past—Future Contrasts.14

The development of this process is also notable in the efforts of such publishers to make indigenous editions, even when Korea was not yet enrolled in the International Association of Copyright. In the discussion, one publisher recounted his shame at discovering that a book had been printed without the editing and deletion of Japanese annotations, and that a score was printed without the realisation—or acknowledgment—that it is a Japanese tune16. While this episode reveals early music publishers' heavy reliance on sources from Japan, it also highlights the importance later publishers placed on dismantling and expunging that reliance. Their efforts to do so contribute to identifying modernity in terms of the fourth narrative, which emphasises a creative new community.

That community proved essential in navigating the constitutive aspect of entanglement. Many Korean publishers specialising in music started business during the Korean War17. The most important obstacle to the growth of music publishing was the small market size; only music textbooks had a reliable number of consumers. The piano boom in the 1970s led to the publication of many piano textbooks, with Czerny's textbook being the most authoritative (due again to Japanese influence). Gil-man Bu, a scholar who has researched the history of the publishing industry in South Korea, pinpoints the major trend in the 1960s and '70s of publishing a set of book series, which allowed publishing companies a longer-term selling income on an installment basis18. The 1970s also saw the growing popularity of the pocket-size publication, which introduced short but popular literature by both Western and Korean authors to a wider readership19. Reflecting these major trends, [End Page 220] music publishers such as Sekwang (est. 1953), Hyundai (est. 1951)20, and Taerim (est. 1972) produced their editions of major works by Western masters in the form of series; likewise, related to the piano boom, collections of short musical pieces gained popularity among amateur musicians and general music lovers.

While publishers were establishing their business by selling more editions imported for both professional and amateur performers, the first two of these publishers, among several others, were also making a meaningful effort to publish newly composed works by contemporary composers. Sumundang, Weolgan'eum'ag Chulpanbu (Music Monthly Publishing Department), and Gugmin'eum'agyeonguhoe (Kukmin Music Study Group), were notable publishers of contemporary South Korean compositions in the Western style.

Following from the colonial-era publication of Italian art song compilations and the occasional gagok collection, still, the most popular type of score edition until the 1980s was the Korean art song collection. The participants in the 1973 interview testified that they expected, at best, 1,000 to 3,000 copies per imprint of music publications of all kinds to sell21. Thus, musical scores had very low market value. In a 1990 survey by Hanguk Chulpan Yeonguso (Research Institute for Publishing in Korea), the percentage of publications in the 'music' category is still low—only 2.7 percent22—and only a small portion of that can be assumed as scores of new compositions. Today, publishers contract an author for general music books, not scores, to reach more readers; yet the basis for print is merely 2,000 copies, and few music books get a second printing. Another hindrance was the detrimental custom of publishers giving commissions to teachers who adopted their textbooks. Very few music publishers could survive financially in this competitive atmosphere. As a result, while the production and use of music textbooks, popularity of gagok collections, and the piano boom all presented a picture of modern life in Korea, publishers claimed that they could not make ends meet through music publications alone.

Music publishers since the 1970s were also competing with another phenomenon of modernity: the introduction and prioritisation of original editions by the growing number of music teachers who had studied in the Western world. This pursuit of the "original" was important to modernity in Korea. As the Urtext edition was introduced by music teachers, students majoring in music wanted to buy the "original" directly imported from European publishers; in place of Korean music publishing companies, Daehan'eum'agsa (Daihan Music), a store that directly imported and sold music scores established in 1962 in Seoul, enjoyed a monopoly on such works until the end of the twentieth century23. Yet both publishers and importing agencies faced decline as transnational exchange became more active in the 1990s, due to both the government act liberalising oversea travel in 1989 and the rapid growth of the Internet in the 1990s. The enactment of a new copyright law in 1995 also contributed to the desire of music score consumers for legitimate original scores, instead of photocopied editions24. Maintaining the music publishing business thus became even more demanding throughout the 1990s, and the possibilities for official [End Page 221] publication of newly composed works correspondingly decreased. By the 2000s, university presses (which are relatively less profit oriented), independent music publishers specialising in new music, and music publishers supported or operated by Christian church foundations had become the major institutions for publishing newly composed music.

Challenges to Establishing a Contemporary Korean Art Music Archive

Recall Therborn's statement: "[t]he emphasis on entangled modernities is meant to highlight, not just the co-existence of different modernities but also their interrelations, current as well as historical". It is difficult to show concrete interrelations in different modernities in Korean music publishing culture; however, I may elaborate on how the pursuit of different modernities in music publishing culture resulted in Korea's current lack of a contemporary art music archive.

As mentioned earlier, there are several related phenomena unique to in Korea. First, many editions in most music schools had been photocopied from Japanese editions. The publishers in the discussion complained of the lack of attention to copyright among music teachers; indeed, teachers who studied abroad typically made use of materials they had copied in other countries, transmitting those materials as a major resource in teaching. This phenomenon extended from musical scores to music research books as well. Because this involves tricky copyright issues between countries, I will not elaborate on this in detail; however, I am sure this Xeroxing culture in the past contributes to the decline of specialised publishing in general. Certainly, very few music publishers are willing to publish newly composed art music because of its weak market value.

Only a small number of Korean composers have access to publication, courtesy of good relationships with a publisher; even then, their music will see minimum numbers of copies, and they will not enjoy strict contracts regarding copyright. Publication of a score means only that the piece was officially and professionally transcribed and printed by the publisher, and does not involve an official contract for future distribution. Most copies of a published score are therefore privately owned. The academicasation of composition has changed this situation somewhat; as most distinguished South Korean composers were hired by university music schools, collegiate music libraries gradually became an important repository for numerous modern published scores.

Professional score publication itself has fallen off since the 1990s, when Finale and Sibelius appeared as tools for transcription and composition; subsequently, fewer compositions are published through music publishers, because the computer transcription is much clearer than the handwritten or handcrafted transcription. In these cases, most newly composed scores are held solely by the composers as computer files.

Although I mentioned the recent pursuit of 'original' as an important element to the modernities of current Korean music archival culture, recognition of and interest in the significance of musical source materials such as sketches and autograph scores produced by composers remains low—even among composers themselves. I asked a famous Korean composer active throughout the second half of the twentieth century, who had some music published in Germany and South Korea, about preserving his work; he said that the meaning and concept of publishing a score is quite different from one country to the next. Another contemporary Korean composer built a private record database of his works and is working with his assistant on making all his works into electronic transcription files; he is now disposing of all the materials in physical format, as he believes they [End Page 222] will be treated as garbage after his death. Once I visited a personal archive maintained by the son of a famous composer, who compiled a catalogue of his deceased father's works and collection of music books, scores, and recordings, preserving them in a storage-style room. His archiving was criticised by a preservation expert from the National Museum, who recommended that he donate the materials to an institute where they would receive professional care; nonetheless, he has not determined where he can ensure that the materials will be treated as invaluable sources rather than useless antiques.

I suspect that this situation is also related to the status of musicological research in Korea. The musicology major was first established in 1981 under the Composition Department at Seoul National University; since then, the growing number of people involved in scholarly music research has firmly established the discipline in Korea. Many of these scholars and composers have called for the systematic cataloguing of Korean composers' works as necessary to establish Korea's Western music history. To date, however, Korean scholars have little access to source materials, and are still in the process of convincing composers, musicians, publishers, and others that such materials are essential25.

Now I again feel like I am revealing an uncomfortable truth about Korea's archival situation. However, I also see new possibilities and progress in music archiving, both in terms of the development of Korean archival culture and in the global sense. Through the support of information technology, the government and other institutions have recently done much work in archiving music, and the field is growing very quickly: the National Memory Heritage Service26, Korean Historical Information Portal27, and the National Archives of Korea28, though not wholly devoted to music, all demonstrate a drive to record and archive historical materials in South Korea. The Korean National Archives of Arts29 has begun establishing a database for oral history from living artists (including musicians); the National Memory Heritage Service, Korean Historical Information Portal, and the Museum of Performing Arts at the National Theater of Korea,30 are also creating meaningful archives, respectively cataloguing and archiving extensive video recordings, programs, posters, and pamphlets for arts performances held in South Korea. Most significantly, the Korean Composers Association is starting a project to collect and post live performances of new art music compositions in Korea on their Youtube channel31. Since 2014, audio and/or video files, and some scores in PDF format, have been archived under [End Page 223] the title of Newly Composed Music Archive (Changjag'eum'ag Aka'ibeu) as a part of the DA-Arts (Digital Archive of Arts) project in Korea, supported and executed by the Korean National Archives of Arts and the Korean Composers Association32. Projects for establishing a physical document-based database are likely to be funded by the Korean Research Foundation: The "Korea SP Record", a project created by researchers at Dong-guk Uni ver sity, has collected, archived, and databased all SP records and related mate rials produced in Korea between 1899 and 194833. A few years ago, the Korean National Archives of Arts announced the creation of a fund to support selected proposals for establishing an extensive database under the umbrella of Korean modern arts.

While it is apparent that the current direction of music archiving in South Korea is not oriented towards the written document, all these efforts can be read as potential solutions in a uniquely Korean situation—indeed, they may be explained as inevitable by-products of Korea's entangled modernities. Recalling Therborn's argument once more, "we may say that a major effect of the various entanglements is a fascinating set of hybrid modernities"34. The characteristics of the current music archiving efforts—not oriented towards scores, but more towards records of performance; heavily relying on or initiated by governmental support; mainly propelled as a temporal and special project; and rapidly reflecting the development of information technology—potentially reflect such hybrid modernities.

As a closing note, while I see all these efforts as positive steps, I maintain that Korean musicologists, librarians, or institutions should pay attention to the onus of archiving and databasing modern and contemporary Korean music; the responsibility should not be placed on individuals. To embark on writing the music history of modern Korea, a centralised, systematic, collective effort towards the preservation of musical source materials from modern Korean composers is critical. As Korean musicians gain global prominence, the significance of Korean musical source materials will increasingly be emphasized, both among Koreans and non-Koreans interested in music in South Korea. I propose that professional, expert care and the establishment of a workforce solely devoted to musical source materials are urgently needed.

Here, I seem to reach the same conclusion as in my earlier work, once again noting challenges to establishing contemporary music archives in Korea; but by looking at Korea's music publishing culture as a field of "entangled modernities", I believe that I have given a reasonable explanation for the situation in which new archival projects in South Korea are more performance and digital-based, and that those projects are an important first step. If I can only see Korea's situation in terms of traditional Eurocentric archival perspective, contemporary Korean art music is nowhere. However, Korean scholars and individuals interested in the preservation of music are eager to find alternative ways of promoting musical source materials. Perhaps that is not even an alternative, but the most appropriate way to approach the substance of contemporary Korean art music. [End Page 224] As such, I hope this article has provided perspective for understanding a case study in a non-Western country's music archival culture, adding historical context, and a non-Western-centric approach to the current state of any archival attempt made in South Korea. [End Page 225]

Meebae Lee

Meebae Lee is an assistant professor in the music department at Chonbuk National University in South Korea. She received her Ph.D. in historical musicology from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Building on her doctoral dissertation, "Rewriting the Past, Composing the Future: Schumann and the Rediscovery of Bach", her recent work concerns J. S. Bach's latent legacy in Robert Schumann's music. She also uses sociological perspectives to interpret the unique art music scenes in South Korea. Since 2005, she has been an assistant editor at RILM, adding Korean material; she is currently the sole operator of RILM's Korean national committee and a member of the IAML National Branch in South Korea. This article is a revised version of the paper presented at the IAML/IMS Congress New York in 2015, and supported by research funds for newly appointed professors at Chonbuk National University in 2015.


1. As an assistant editor at RILM for the past decade, I have added quite a large amount of citations and abstracts of journal articles published in Korea, thus improving the utility of Korean materials through RILM; the Ewha Music Institute is also active as a work group for RISM, adding sources for modern Korean music. The Korean national committee of IAML was first established in 2015.

2. In that paper, I overviewed Korea's archival culture in general and music archival culture since ancient dynasties from a historical perspective. Among other sources, I identified Uigwe, a vast collection of approximately 3,895 books recording the royal rituals and ceremonies of the Joseon Dynasty, containing highly detailed information about the music performed for events. Furthermore, the predecessors of modern Korea had theoretical books on music such as Aghaggwebeom, and developed a music notation system called jeongganbo during the reign of King Sejong, considered the first mensural notation in Asian countries. Given this history, I pointed out that the music archival culture has drastically changed during Korea's modernisation period. I also argued that a number of musical items designated Intangible Cultural Heritage in South Korea shows that Korean music is more appropriately treated in the context of performance rather than specific documents or notations. This reveals Korea's distinct concept of music as something to be performed and thus perpetually changing and developing during performance.

3. Göran Therborn, "Entangled Modernities", European Journal of Social Theory 6, no. 3 (2003): 293–305, at 293.

4. Ibid., 293.

5. Ibid., 294.

6. Ibid., 293.

7. Kyung-chan Min made a comprehensive catalogue of published works (composed in the Western style) by Korean composers, in 1991, in which the chronological first edition is four individual works by Nanpa Hong dated to 1924. This catalogue was published as a part of a musicological journal, Nangman Eum'ag (Nangman Quarterly); see Kyung-chan Min "Gugnae'eseo chulpandoen jaggogjib mogrog" (Catalogue of Domestic Publication of New Compositions), Nangman Eum'ag (Nangman Quarterly) 3, no. 3 (1991): 223–242. Min acknowledged its incompleteness, as he had failed to enter materials at hand and the names of some publishers were not identified, although scores were in print. He suggested that a revised catalogue would follow, but this never took place. Furthermore, the catalogue only contains information about works written before 1991. Despite these shortcomings, however, the catalogue is the sole source—and thus highly valuable—with which to identify the status and history of music publishing for new compositions in Korea. The total number of works listed in the catalogue is 243, and dates of publication range from 1924 to 1990. The catalogue of new compositions "in Korean traditional music style," from 1941 to 1995, was published by the National Gugak Center in 1996 as a monograph titled Hangug'eum'ag Changjaggog Jagpummogrogjib: 1941–1995 (Gugribgug'agweon, 1996). I follow the system of ISO standard for Roman transliteration of Korean language hereafter, adding English translation in parenthesis, with the exception of personal and publishers' names.

8. "Eum'ag chulpan halmal manhda" (Discussing Music Publishing), an interview published in Weolgan'eum'ag (Music Monthly), 34 (August 1973): 74–78, at 74. According to Min's 1991 catalogue, there were twenty-four publications of newly composed music in Korea by the 1945 Liberation, by six publishers.

9. Several collections of changa (school songs, spread by the Japanese colonial school system) were also considered major music publications during the Japanese Occupation, for example, Teugbyeol Mugunghwa Changajib by Kang Yi-yeong, Bang'ataryeong Changga Choesinyuhaeng by Kang Ha-yeong, and Joseon haengj-ingog Changgajib by Kim Jae-deok. All of which were later banned, as they were claimed to breach public security; see Gil-man Bu, Hangug Chulpan Yeogsa (A History of Publishing in Korea), (Keomyunikeisyeonbugseu, 2013), 58.

10. "Eum'ag chulpan halmal manhda" (Discussing Music Publishing), Weolgan'eum'ag (Music Monthly), 34 (August 1973): 75.

11. Therborn, "Entangled Modernities", 297.

12. Ibid., 298.

13. "Eum'ag chulpan halmal manhda" (Discussing Music Publishing), Weolgan'eum'ag (Music Monthly), 34 (August 1973): 75.

14. Cited from Therborn, "Entangled Modernities", 298.

15. Ibid.

16. Ibid.

17. Ibid. Some music publishers' names and the years they were established are also mentioned in the interview, as follows: Weolgwansa (1946), Eum'ageyesul (1956), Sekwang (1953), Sekwang Classic (1962), Hyundai'agbo (1954), Kugmin'eum'ag (1948), and Ho'agsa (1954). Sekwang Music Publisher is perhaps the most important music publishing company, publishing both newly composed music and photocopy editions of Western masters. The Web site for the publisher is at https://www.sekwang.co.kr:8013/, accessed 30 June 2017.

18. Gil-man Bu, Hangug Chulpan Yeogsa (A History of Publishing in Korea), (Keomyunike'isyeonbugseu, 2013), 74–75.

19. Ibid., 84.

20. The aforementioned interview notes Hyundai Music Publisher as established in 1954, but the publisher claims it was established in 1951.

21. "Eum'ag chulpan halmal manhda" (Discussing Music Publishing), Weolgan'eum'ag (Music Monthly), 34 (August 1973): 76.

22. Hanguk Chulpan Yeonguso, Hangugchulpan'eobsiltaejosayeongu (Hanguk Chulpan Yeonguso, 1990), 113.

23. The company remains a store for music professionals, and operates two more branch stores, one of which is located in the Seoul Arts Center.

24. Seok-wan Kim, "Gukjejeog sujunyi eum'agchulpansa yugseong'eul . . . ", Arts Council Korea's Web zine (May 1996), http://www.arko.or.kr/zine/artspaper96_05/19960505.htm, accessed 30 June 2017.

25. Personally, I have encountered several problems due to the current state of archives. Asked if I knew the location of the score for the opera The Wedding (Giorno di Nozze), by Gian Carlo Menotti, I could not find any record within government search portals on which organisation holds the score—despite the opera having been commissioned by the Korean government to celebrate the opening of the 1988 Seoul Olympics. In the composer's posthumous bio-bibliography, this work is listed as a Schirmer edition, with the comment "largely ignored by the press". Given the opera's connection to the South Korean government, information regarding its existence and location of the materials should at least be accessible through government records. Yet the recording of the premiere has not been preserved in any form, not even in the Korea National Archives of Arts; my only clue to its existence is in the form of a video at the Korean National Archive of Arts, of a new production of the opera by the Daejeon Opera Company in 1993. I can only hope that the score has been preserved by the Seoul Metropolitan Opera, where the work premiered.

26. http://www.memorykorea.go.kr/, accessed 30 June 2017.

27. http://www.koreanhistory.or.kr/, accessed 30 June 2017.

28. http://archives.go.kr, accessed 30 June 2017.

29. http://knaa.or.kr, accessed 30 June 2017.

30. http://archive.ntok.go.kr, accessed 30 June 2017.

32. http://www.daarts.or.kr/creation-music, accessed 30 June 2017. As this digital archive has relatively recently been established, new compositions by a younger generation of composers (in their thirties and forties) who keep abreast of digital archiving trends are more often uploaded; thus the number of works composed since 2001 is the largest. More sources of works from the 1945 Liberation to 2000 should be compiled and uploaded to enhance the archive.

33. Korea Record Archive, http://sparchive.dgu.edu/v2/index.php, accessed 30 June 2017.

34. Therborn, "Entangled Modernities", 302.

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