Jindo Arirang (진도 아리랑)

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Transcription (.pdf)

As one of the most popular Korean folk songs, Jindo Arirang is the representative Arirang of the Southwestern region of Jeolla Province, originating from Jindo, an island located off the southernmost tip of the Korean peninsula. This region has given birth to the most popular and highly artistic folk music genres, including pansori (Korean folk opera and storytelling), sanjo (a solo improvisational instrumental genre) and sinawi (instrumental ensemble for shaman ritual dance).  In this region the vocal production used by folksong singers employs chest voice which creates a thick and wide vocal timbre that gives the music a heartbreaking, weepy quality. Among all the versions of Arirang, Jindo Arirang is particularly unique due to its relative isolation from the rest of the nation, remaining more faithful to its native Jindo culture than other versions of Arirang.  Beginning with a melancholic melody and a sorrowful text, this piece becomes more exciting as the tempo accelerates towards the end.

The melodic characteristics of the song can be found in the modal and performance practices typical to the region, called yukjabaegitori. “Yukjabaegi,” one of the most typical folk songs of the southwest, has come to represent all the folk songs of this region and identifies their musical and stylistic source. Yukjabaegitori consists of four structural pitches: cheong, the perfect fourth below (tteoueunum), the perfect fourth above (eotcheong), and the bending note-pair (kkeokneunum), consisting of the minor third and its lower half step, which pushes to a resolution back to cheong. Of these four structural pitches of yukjabaegitori, kkeokneunum is the strongest tendency tone which characterizes the sadness and pathos evoked by this mode. In the Western sense, kkeokneunum might be viewed as consisting of two notes, but in actual performance practice, kkeokneuneum is interpreted through a broad range of sigimsae. An illustration of these pitch gestures is presented below (Performance Practice of kkeokneunum): a) performed as a single sustained pitch which creates the most tension; b) the subtle single slide between the note-pair which has a little less tension; c) the accented attack of a longer downward vibrato figure with still less tension; and d) the accented appoggiatura that slides down to cheong, which resolves all the melodic tension.


performance practice of kkokneuneum

The rhythmic pattern used in this song is semachi, with three compound beats (9/8 meter) in a moderate tempo.



아리아리랑 쓰리쓰리랑 아라리가 났네 아리랑 응응응 아라리가 났네
Ari-ari-rang, suri-suri-rang, Ara-riga nat-ne-e-, Arirang, eung-eung-eung ara-ri-ga nat-ne

(verse & refrain)
사람이 살면 몇백년 사나 개똥같은 세상이나마 둥글둥글 사세
People do not live several hundred years; although this is a very tough world, let’s live in harmony
문경새제는 웬고갠가 구부야 구부구부가 눈물이난다
What is this mountain pass, Moon-Gyung-Se-Jae? Tears are flowing from my eyes at every turning point
소리따라 흐르는 떠돌이인생 처절이 쌓인 한을 풀어나보세
My wandering life, following songs; let’s try to resolve deep layers of worries and sorrows
청청 하늘엔 잔별도많고 우리네 가슴속엔 근심도 많다.
There are many bright small stars in the bright blue sky; we have many worries in our heart

가버렸네 정들었던 내사랑 기러기떼 따라서 아주가버렸네
Gone is my love, my beloved one; she followed the wild geese, and is gone forever
저기가는 저기러기야 말을 물어보자 우리네 갈길이 어드메뇨
There, wild goose, I want to ask a question; which road should we follow to reach our destiny?

금자동이냐 옥자동이냐 둥둥둥 내딸 부지런히 소리배워 명창이 돼거라
My daughter, precious as gold or jade; please work hard on your vocal studies and become a great singer
아우님 북가락에 큰흥을 싫어 멀고먼 소리길을 따라 갈라요
To the beat of the drum played by my brother, I will follow your steps to become a great singer, although it will be a tough road

놀다가세 놀다가 세 저달이 떳다 지므로놀다나가세
Let’s stop here and have fun; the moon is rising and going down – let’s stop here and have fun

춥냐 덥냐 내품안으로 들어라 베게가 높고 낮거든 내팔을 베어라
Are you cold or are you hot? Please lean toward my bosom; if the pillow is too high or too low, lay your head on my arm

서산에 지는 해는 지고싶어서 지느냐 날보고 가는 님은 가고 싶어서 가느냐
The sun sets over that western mountain, although it may not want to; my love leaves me now, although she may not want to

만경 창파에 둥둥둥 뜬배 어기여차 어야디어라 노를 저어라
A small boat floating in the middle of a vast ocean; dung-dung-dung ugy-yeocha, row the boat