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Music of Asia

This guide is designed to help get students started on research on the musical traditions of Asian peoples


Use this page to get started or find contextual information for music in Korea. This page includes resources about music in Korea, prominent Korean composers, traditional music in Korea, and Korean musical instruments.

Make sure to use the general resources in the Getting Started page as well.

Music of Korea

Folk, National, and Traditional Korean Music

Contemporary Korean Composers

Douglass Library has access to many scores by Korean composers. The most prominent include: 

A list of other classical Korean composers can be found here.

K-Pop and Popular Music of Korea

Books on K-Pop and Popular Music in Korea

The Cambridge Companion to K-Pop

How did Korea with a relatively small-scale music industry come to create a vibrant pop culture scene that would enthrall not only young Asian fans but also global audiences from diverse racial and generational backgrounds? From idol training to fan engagement, from studio recording to mastering choreographic sequences, what are the steps that go into the actual production and promotion of K-pop? And how can we account for K-pop's global presence within the rapidly changing media environment and consumerist culture in the new millennium? As an informed guide for finding answers to these questions, The Cambridge Companion to K-Pop probes the complexities of K-pop as both a music industry and a transnational cultural scene. It investigates the meteoric ascent of K-pop against the backdrop of increasing global connectivity wherein a distinctive model of production and consumption is closely associated with creativity and futurity.


South Korean K-pop bands like BTS, EXO, and Black Pink are breaking music industry records on the pop charts, in the concert halls, and on social media websites. K-Pop discusses what today's musicians are doing, how they attract a following, and what they are saying through their music.

K-POP Now!: The Modern Music Revolution

"This is the book on K-pop everybody has been waiting for....A must-read!" --Charlotte Naudin, PR Manager, Torpedo Productions K-Pop Now! examines Korea's high-energy pop music and is written for its growing legions of fans. Pop culture expert Mark Russell features the most famous groups and singers and takes an insider's look at how they have made it to the top. In 2012, Psy's song and music video "Gangnam Style" took the world by storm. But K-Pop, the music of Psy's homeland of Korea, has been winning fans with its infectious melodies and high-energy fun since long before that. Featuring talented singers and eye-catching visuals, K-Pop is the music of the moment. Although K-Pop is a relatively new phenomenon in the West, it is rapidly gaining traction and reaching much larger audiences --thanks in large part to social media like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram -- the Girls Generation single "Gee" has almost three hundred million views! K-Pop Now! includes: Profiles of current K-Pop artists and their hits. A look at Seoul's trendiest hangout spots. Interviews with top artists like Kevin from Ze:A and Brian Joo from Fly to the Sky. A look at the K-Pop idols of tomorrow. You'll meet the biggest record producers, the hosts of the insanely popular "Eat Your Kimchi" website, and K-Pop groups like Big Bang, TVXQ, 2NE1, Girls Generation, HOT, SES, FinKL Busker Busker, and The Koxx. The book also includes a guide for fans who plan to visit Seoul to explore K-Pop up close. Join the K-Pop revolution today!

K-Pop: Korea's Musical Explosion

Featuring quirky horse-riding dance moves and an infectious electronic beat, an unlikely music video and its leading man made history in 2012. In December of that year, "Gangnam Style" reached one billion hits on YouTube--the most views ever. Seemingly overnight, the South Korean pop star behind the hit--Psy (Park Jae-sang)--became a household name. But Psy is just part of the story. Other South Korean pop sensations such as Girls' Generation, 2NE1, and BigBang are part of a global sensation called Hallyu, or the Korean Wave. South Korean bands are performing to sold out arenas all over the world, and fans can't get enough of South Korean music, films, television, food, and manhwa (cartoons). K-Pop: Korea's Musical Explosion traces the journey of South Korean pop music, from the early influences of American rock 'n' roll in the 1950s to the success of a tiger-eyed sensation called Rain, who wowed American audiences in the early 2000s. Discover how this Korean Justin Timberlake, and those who came after him, rose through South Korea's star-making system through grueling hard work to seduce international audiences with their tight choreographies, irresistible beats, outrageous outfits, and exciting stage shows. You'll become part of the K-Pop fandom world too!

K-Pop - the International Rise of the Korean Music Industry

K-pop, described by Time Magazine in 2012 as "South Korea's greatest export", has rapidly achieved a large worldwide audience of devoted fans largely through distribution over the Internet. This book examines the phenomenon, and discusses the reasons for its success. It considers the national and transnational conditions that have played a role in K-pop's ascendancy, and explores how they relate to post-colonial modernisation, post-Cold War politics in East Asia, connections with the Korean diaspora, and the state-initiated campaign to accumulate soft power. As it is particularly concerned with fandom and cultural agency, it analyses fan practices, discourses, and underlying psychologies within their local habitus as well as in expanding topographies of online networks. Overall, the book addresses the question of how far "Asian culture" can be global in a truly meaningful way, and how popular culture from a "marginal" nation has become a global phenomenon.

Made in Korea: Studies in Popular Music

Made in Korea: Studies in Popular Music serves as a comprehensive and thorough introduction to the history, sociology, and musicology of contemporary Korean popular music. Each essay covers the major figures, styles, and social contexts of pop music in Korea, first presenting a general description of the history and background of popular music in Korea, followed by essays, written by leading scholars of Korean music, that are organized into thematic sections: History, Institution, Ideology; Genres and Styles; Artists; and Issues.

Traditional Music Scores and Transcriptions

Korean Instruments


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