Progenitor of Kayagum


Uruk was a famous musician who pioneered the kayagum-played music in Korea. From childhood he loved singing and was quite interested in different types of sound. To him, even the wind shaking branches of trees meant the sound of music and the merry laughter of women gathering at the well to bring water in the jar on their head was also developed into his musical notes.

Uruk assiduously assimilated the musical achievements of his ancestors while working with all his wisdom to create new things.

A greater part of his effort was directed to the making of a new kind of instrument which could fully represent the beautiful land and the noble life of the local people. Through years of painstaking effort he managed to make an instrument called kayagum.

As it can give a fantastic presentation of the human sentiments through delicate techniques of performance, the instrument is the most favourite one of the Korean people at the moment as well as it was during the Middle Ages. The graceful and enchanting sound attracts the minds of all kinds.

Uruk toured different places from the mid-6th century, presenting his performances. In March 551 he performed in front of the king of Silla at his invitation, earning his great favour. Later he resided in the present Chungju region, creating musical pieces and training young kayagum players. His disciples like Popji, Kyego and Mandok were talented musicians of the time, who created and disseminated a lot of pieces.

Throughout his life Uruk made as many as 185 musical pieces for kayagum performance based on folk songs and dancing musical pieces of different regions.

As a prominent composer, player and teacher of kayagum, he made a tangible contribution to the development of Korea’s national music.

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