I’m not joking when I said I fall in love with this art folks called ‘Pansori’ that I watch at Arirang TV several years ago.


A popular form in Korea during the 19th century, pansori featured satires and love stories. A full story, madang (Korean: 마당), is so long that it usually takes hours to complete. One example is the “Song of Chunhyang” which takes over eight hours to perform, without a break. A madang consists of certain alterations of aniris (Korean: 아니리, descriptive speech) and changs (Korean: 창, song).

Only five of the original twelve pansori madangs survive today. Those five are Heungbuga, Simcheongga, Chunhyangga, Jeokbyeokga and Sugungga.

In a pansori performance, the kwangdae sings, standing with a folding fan held in one hand. The fan is waved to emphasize the singer’s motions and unfolded to announce changes of scene. The gosu gives rhythm not only by beats but also by chuimsae (Korean: 추임새), verbal sounds. A chuimsae can be a simple meaningless vowel, but short words of encouragement are also given. The audience is also supposed to give chuimsae during the performance, similar to kakegoe and the shouts of “Olé” during flamenco performances.

Pansori has been compared in impact to the American Blues. There are various singing styles, such as the more “feminine” sopyonje of south-western Korea (inspiration of the film Sopyonje Korean: 서편제) and the more “masculine” tongp’yonje Korean: 동편제[1].

UNESCO proclaimed the pansori tradition a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity on November 7, 2003.

^ He sang the song from Legend of Shim Chung.

The piece I like most is an excerpt from legend of Chunyang called ‘Sarangga’


2 thoughts on “Pansori

  1. yes, i agree that pansori had a special charm. I only listening it once but I’m attached to Chunyang ga stories…

    and thanks for Dooly videos on your blog…I have a great time watching it ^ ^.Well, prolly I’m Eun Jiwon fans [dooly choding] haha!

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