Korean Traditional String Instrument

‘Gayageum’ - ‘Geomungo’ - 'Ajaeng' 

(Korean Traditional String Instrument)


First of all, these tree instruments have a similar appearance and have the same instrument material and have multiple strings.


Although they look alike, the tree instruments are clearly different. First of all, ‘Gayageum’ is 12 strings, ‘Geomungo’ is 6 strings and Ajaeng' is 7 strings.

If you look at these outward features and how to play, ‘Gayageum’ uses only his fingers to rip and bounce, but ‘Geomungo’ holds a bamboo stick in his right hand and uses it to swipe and slap it and ‘Ajaeng’ use seven strings scraped with a bow.

The sound features of the instrument indicate that the ‘Gayageum’ is feminine and the ‘Geomungo’ is masculine, which is probably why the ‘Geomungo’ string is thicker than the ‘Gayageum’ string, and the method of playing it using the stick gives it a more rigid feel. The sound of ‘Ajaeng’ is deep, slightly rough and crude


‘Gayageum’ (dynasty 'Gaya' and 'Silla') and ‘Geomungo’ (dynasty 'Goguryeo') has a history of more than 1500 years.

‘Ajaeng’(dynasty 'Goryeo') has a history of more than 1000 years.


Traditional ‘Gayageum’ has hit the limits of the tide, and there have been problems with not being free in musical expression.  In the position of a band that wanted to make a wide range of performances in line with the composition of the orchestra and the globalization of music, it felt the urgency of an improved instrument. In March 1995, the Improved Musical Instrument Demonstration Concert showed the potential for development by playing a variety of songs that were not traditional music.

After this, a 25 strings ‘Gayageum’ appeared, which was a little more complementary to the bass and increased by 3 strings, and various performances were attempted by increasing the number of performance groups using the 25 strings, and many new works were created.  Currently, the use of  25 strings is more active than 22 strings.

'Geomungo' and 'Ajaeng' are also being improved to make a wide range of performances and to fit modern music.

Feel the difference in the sound of the three instruments!




4)Quintet : ‘Gayageum’ + ‘Geomungo’ + 'Ajaeng' 

+ 'Janggu' + 'Daegeum'