Kayagum (Fillip instrument) is one of the most representative national instruments of Korea.
It was invented by Uruk 1,400 years ago (6th century, AD). He was born in the Kaya Era and distinguished himself as a talented musician and a famous composer.
Above all, he was an expert Kayagum player and devoted all his life to the development of music in Korea through musical composition and the training of Kayagum players, and made efforts to further develop it as a music instrument.
Kayagum is often compared with Japanese Koto, but it is quite different from Koto in the following points;
Firstly, during play the head of Kayagum should be placed on the lap of its player and its tail on the floor.
Secondly, the way of strumming to strings is almost the same as with Japanese Koto. But Koto is played with artificial nails, and Kayagum is played with bare fingers.
So it can fully express emotions, and the tone is very close to human voice. The sound is so delicate and soft that it can express well the character of Korean music.
Developed by the disciples of inventor Uruk, Kayagum music took further strides in the 19th century.
Kim Chang Jo, well known Kayagum player and composer, originated a Kayagum concerto, Kayagum Sanjo.
Kayagum Sanjo influenced Choktae (Korean flute), Tanso (Korean recorder), Komungo (string harp), and their respective Sanjo were created, making a great contribution to the development of traditional Korean music.
The strings of Kayagum were increased to 19 or 21 from the original 12 strings as a result of several reforms.
Moreover, it made Kayagum express any complicated sound through the introduction of various styles of rendition such as Tremolo and Arpeggio, in addition to the former technique of Rohyon (to produce a variety of sound by pressing strings by the left palm.)
There are various way of playing Kayagum including solo, duet, trio.
Besides, single-while playing Kayagum by a group of 12 women started in the difficult days of the Korean War (1950-53), a vocal solo and a group of women who sing while playing Kayagum, and so fourth.
In the course of its development, grand-Kayagum, an octave lower than Kayagum, was invented, which plays an active part as a low sound string instrument.
Silla-gum, which is preserved in Nara, Japan, was originally Kayagum. But it is shaped a little different from what it is.
Apart from the body, Yang Gak or a sheep's horn is attached to the tail, and the ends of strings are fixed there.
The name of Silla-gum derives from the historical fact that the instrument was brought to Japan after Silla's conquest of Kaya.
The traditional Kayagum is one of the most cherished and loved national instruments of Korea.