This album leads to the wonderful world of Gagok, a traditional Korean vocal music. Gagok is a representative vocal genre appreciated by the scholars of the Joseon period (1392-1910). It uses Sijo, traditional Korean poetry with fixed forms, for its texts. Accompaniments and interludes are played by a small ensemble of traditional Korean musical instruments. Performed since around 16th century, Gagok has been passed on until today, undergoing many changes and generating variations.
Gagok has two kinds of modes, the Gyemyeon mode (Gyemyeonjo) and the U mode (Ujo). The former and latter are each compared to the major and minor scale respectively. In addition to the two modes, Ban-U-Ban-Gye, which begins in the U mode but modulates to the Gyemyeon mode, is used. Also, there are 26 pieces for men and 15 for women.
The texts of the male songs (Nam-Chang) are generally masculine and animated. Also, unlike the female songs, male songs are sung only in natural voice and not in falsetto. The texts of the female songs (Yeo-Chang) are usually feminine and sad. Unlike male songs, the female songs use both natural voice and falsetto.
Yi Jun-Ah is a leading female singer of Gagok which is a genre of Korean vocal music. She had training under master Gagok singer Yi Yang-Gyo who was designated as human cultural property in Gagok. She has performed at many concerts around the world introducing the beauty of Gagok to global audience.