Pansori, the traditional oral narrative of Korea, is sung by a highly trained soloist to the accompaniment of complex drumming. The singer narrates the story and dramatizes all the characters in performances that last as long as six hours.
The Korean Singer of Tales is the first book-length treatment in English of this remarkable art form and contains the first annotated English translation of a full performance text. Pihl traces the history of pansori from its roots in shamanism and folktales through its nineteenth-century heyday and discusses its evolution in the twentieth century. The place of pansori in popular entertainment, its textual tradition, and its vocal and rhythmic techniques are all examined. Pihl's superb translation of the alternately touching and comic ''Song of Shim Chong'' then illustrates the emotional range, narrative variety, and technical complexity of pansori literature.
This book will interest Korean specialists, students of comparative literature, folklorists, anthropologists, and musicologists.