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4 Regional Characteristics

  1. Jeonla Province Pungmulgut
    1. Jeonla Pungmul can be classified into two sectors, geographically. There was a road that ran vertically through Jeonla province during Chosun dynasty on which Pabalma, horse-riding letter carriers rode. Seen from Hanyang (Seoul's old name), capital of Chosun, left of this road, the mountainous region, is Jwado and to the right, the flat area, is Wudo. Another way to categorize Jeonla Pungmul is simply by stating northern Jeonla to beWutnyeokgut and the southern Jeonla to be Araetnyeokgut.
    2. The distinction made between Jwado and Wudo is the common understanding among the people and the scholars.
    3. The distinction of Wutnyeokgut and Araetnyeokgut were made by Jeonla province Pungmul players back in the old days.
    4. Due to advancement of transportation and traveling habits of people, the distinction of Jwado and Wudo are becoming less and less significant.
    5. In the old days, many people did not put much emphasis on separating Jwado and Wudo.
  2. Jeonla Jwado Pungmulgut
    1. The regions where Jwado Pungmul flourished are the eastern mountainous area of Jeonla which is also the area between Somaek Mountain Region and Noryeong mountain region. The areas include Keumsan, Muju, Jinan, Jangsu, Imsil, Namwon, Gokseong, Hwasin, Kwangyang, Bosung, and Yeosu.
    2. In many cases, all Chibae (instrument performers) wore the Sangmo, and Wutnoreum is very advanced. Sangsoe (lead Kwaenggari player) wears Budeul (Dog-tail shaped) Sangmo.
    3. Soeot (Chibae's attire) is designed for simplicity. They were casual everyday clothes until recently, and Soeot have just recently been developed.
    4. In these form of Pungmul, Kwaenggari and Janggu are emphasized. Beats are one-beat based, thus fast and crude but powerful. Movements of Chibaes are also fast to keep up with the fast beats and group movements become significant. Soenori, where Sangsoe and Busoe (2nd Kwaenggari player) play off of each other, is highly developed.
    5. Sogo players' chaesangmo Sogonori and Durugeori (Jaban dwejipgi) are highly advanced as well.
  3. Jeonla Wudo Pungmulgut
    1. The region where Wudo Pungmulgut flourished is the western flatland of Jeonla province which is the area between western sea coast of Jeonla and Noryeong mountain region on the east. Areas include Iksan, Gunsan, Jeongeup, Gimjae, buahn, Iri, Jeonju, Naju, Hampyung, Youngam, Jangheung, Mokpo, in the order of northern most to southern most cities.
    2. Kwaenggari players wear Bbutsangmo while the rest wear Kkoggal.
    3. Soeot is very flamboyant.
    4. It mainly consists of slow rhythm, with faster ones here and there, making it more interesting. Janggu is the main instrument and solo performances are highly developed.
    5. Janggu players' Seoljanggu and Kwaenggari players' Buponori are highly developed.
    6. Araetnori, which emphasizes Baljit (foot movement), is more elaborated than Witnori.
  4. Kyungsangbukdo Pungmulgut
    1. Kyungbuk Pungmulgut consists of Chungdo Chasan and Bisan Poongmul and Kumrung Bitnae Gingut, and can be seen in Andong, Yeocheon, Youngju, Youngcheon, Youongduk, Gunwi, and Dalsung.
    2. Andong and Youngju exhibit characteristics of Youngdong Poongmul, while Kimcheon and Sunsan exhibit characteristics of Kyunggi and Chungbuk regions.
    3. Because Buk is used heavily, the rhythm is very powerful and true to life. In the organization of the instruments, Buk players come after Jing players.
    4. All players divide into two groups and play a simulated combat game. Following the development of Sangmonori, Sogo player's Chaesangnori is outstatanding.
    5. There is a tendency to increase from slow to fast rhythm.
    6. The development of Jishinbalki has led to various Saseol (accounts of storytelling).
  5. Kyungsangnamdo Pungmulgut.
    1. Kyungnam Pungmulgut is spread throughout Jinju, Samcheonpo, Haman, Hamyang, Masan, Tongyoung, Geychang, Gosung, Hapcheon, Milyang, Ulsan, Busan, Yangsan, Dongrae, Jinhae, and so on.
    2. Kyungnam Pungmulgut is divided into (a) west: Hamyang, Jinju, Samcheonpo, Masan, Tongyoung, and Geychang, (b) east: Milyang and Ulsan, and (c) central: Busan, Yangsan, and Jinhae.
    3. Similar to Kyungbuk Pungmul, Kyungnam Pungmul values group action, such as the system of military order.
    4. Because Buk is used heavily, Buk tone and dance are well developed. Buk players usually stand after Jing in the organization of instruments.
    5. Sangmonori is developed, and wearing of Kkoggal depends on the region. Chaesangmo's Sogo dance and Jaban turning are outstanding.
    6. Costumes are similar to Kyungbuk Pungmulgut.
    7. As one moves southwest, characteristics of Jeonla Jwado Poongmul are seen.
    8. The instruments, which are made of bamboo or other trees, such as Nabal, make particular sounds which help change the mood of the Gut. Danggari, made of bamboo, is used in Busan Ami Poongmulgut. Godong, made of wood, is used in Chungdo Chasan Poongmul.

As can be seen in the above description of characteristics of Pungmul in many different areas, there are many similarities in costume and organization of the instruments, but different flavors come from each Gut. In terms of costumes, there is a good combination of the soldier type (Sangmo) and Buddist monk type (Kkoggal). Rhythm becomes slower moving southwest, and faster moving northeast. The Japsaek role is more developed in Youngnam (Kyungsangdo) and Honam (Jeonlado) regions than in Kyonggi, Chungchung, or Kangwon regions.

It is possible that there are different opinions about the information given above. However, the best way to learn is to go directly to those regions and learn from the elders who have grown up experiencing these kinds of Pungmul.