Taoist Music by Korean Pop Artist You Seng-yupRecently,Taoism has become the recent theme of choice for professor Kim Yong-ok's popular TV lectures. A unique new album shares this new vogue highlighting the sounds of the ocarina, a oval-shaped clay pipe and one of the oldest instrument existing. This album titled 'The Four Seasons of Taoism' written and performed by the composer You Seng-yup who chose to make this soothing and mysterious instrument the focus of his work.
Using the four seasons and Taoism's classic use of these seasons to underline the logic of nature and the naturalness of the passing of time, You, a pop musician, had each piece of music feature four ocarinas in different registers eliciting a "restful atmosphere" like a mountain temple, a complete departure from present Korean digital pop blanketing the airwaves. You's music is a form of Buddhist meditation, a quiet, new age music Asian-style.
The performance methods used in the album also is an echo of Taoist dual principle of the negative and the positive. Low notes of one lone ocarina in the beginning of the piece represent the negative, and the high notes in the third piece represent the positive. Eventually, the two ocarinas meet and intermingle in the fourth piece showing the harmony of negative and positive. The Korean traditional instrument known as the Ahjeng also finds its way onto the album unifying the whole with this characteristic sound from Korean classical music.
Mr.You says that the ocarina is such a "sensitive instrument that you might play the wrong note by blowing it just the slightest bit wrong. Because it's made of clay, I believe it sound to be very natural sounding, soothing people surrounded by digital sounds."
by Gang Chan-ho