Monthly Archives: April 2010

The Music Exam in Dong yi Episode 5

In episode 5 DY is working at the Academy of Music helping the musicians get ready for their music exam. It’s an important exam and everyone is nervous. It took me back to taking piano exams and feeling apprehensive especially because I knew I hadn’t really practised enough. From what I remember, after playing the required scales and set pieces I’d practised at home, I’d be given a sight reading test, have to clap out a rhythm the examiner played on the piano, and then sing the notes the examiner played. It was pretty nerve-wracking. One time I froze in the middle of a piece – my mind went blank and it took several goes to finish it. So I felt for the students in their music exam in this episode. This episode was interesting in many ways including how the court music is related to bad omens. But I will write about that next time. For now I want to look at what the court musician students had to do in their music exam.

聽音 청음 (chong-um) listen + sound. Dong Yi, ep. 5

The students gather outside in the courtyard and the first part of the test is revealed on a scroll. The students must listen to a group of musicians playing a piece of music. They have to write down the melody each musician plays.

Music exam listening test part 1, Dong Yi episode 5 MBC

Korean instruments from left

gayageum, (가야금; 伽倻琴) has 12 strings  made of silk and each string rests on a moveable bridge carved in the shape of a crane’s foot.

daegeum (대금; 大琴) a bamboo flute. It has six finger holes spread wide apart and has a range of over 2 octaves.

geumungo (거문고; 玄琴) has 6 strings and is plucked with a bamboo stick.

Here is some more information on Korean musical instruments and Korean traditional music. Continue reading

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How do characters address each other in the Joseon period drama Dong Yi?

The ways the characters address each other depends on their rank, age, and gender. I mentioned some of the following in the entry on social classes in the Joseon period but have added more here. Though only some of these terms are used in contemporary society I think it’s interesting to be able to recognize them when watching Dong yi since the terms will  crop up again and again in other historical dramas.

*These terms are still occasionally used in contemporary Korean society.

English

hangul

romanization

hanja

Your Majesty

전하

Jon-ha

殿下

Used by the King’s subjects when they address him. (except the Queen Mother)



Your Majesty

주상

Chu-sang

主上

Used mainly by the Queen Mother to address the King.



Your Majesty

대비마마

Te-bi-ma-ma

大妃媽媽

Used to address the Queen Mother.  


Your Majesty

중전마마

Jung-jon-ma-ma

中殿媽媽

Used to address the queen by the subjects. The King and the Queen Mother call her jung-jon.


Your Highness

마마()

Ma-ma-(nim)

媽媽()

Used to address ladies in high positions.


My Lord

대감

De-gam

大監

Used to address very high level yangban officials.


Sir

영감*

Yong-gam

令監

Used to address yangban. Sometimes still used in contemporary society to address judges or prosecutors.


Sir

나으리

Na-u-ri

No hanja

Used to address men in higher rank than the speaker


Ma-am

마님

Ma-nim

Used to address ladies in higher rank than the speaker. Female equivalent of na-u-ri.


Sir

어르신*

O-ru-shin

No hanja

Used to address old men (related to age not rank) and is sometimes used today instead of the term haraboji. 할아버지


Fellow/chap

놈*

nom

No hanja

Used to address low class people. As in hey you! = i-nom! Still sometimes used today.


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Study Korean through drama. Dong Yi episode 2

Dong Yi is taken to meet the upper class (yangban 양반)  lady whose daughter is getting married. The lady is looking for an educated child who can give the special New Year greeting this year at her son in law’s house. She wants a child chosen from the commoners (양인 yangin) class so when she finds out that Dong Yi is from the servant class (천인 chonin) she gets annoyed and wants her to leave. She doesn’t think a servant girl can read the greeting without mistakes as it’s written in Chinese characters and servants are usually not well-educated. Dong Yi really wants the job as she’ll get to wear nice silk hanbok so she pleads to let the lady hear her read. The lady finally agrees. Sure enough Dong Yi makes mistakes reading it and the lady tells her to stop. But Dong Yi explains that she made mistakes because the Chinese characters are incorrect and she explains what the correct characters should be. The lady is surprised and impressed.

I love studying Korean through Kdama and although this is a historical drama and so some of the grammar and vocabulary is archaic I still find it useful study.  Continue reading

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All About Eve, funny bits. Heo-jun cameo.

I hadn’t seen the historical drama Heojun the first time I watched All About Eve so didn’t recognize Joon Kwang-ryul who played the role of the doctor in the popular  drama in 2000. The airing of Heojun and All About Eve overlapped for a while and I love this scene when “Heojun” walks past Sun-mi and her friend Cho-jeh in the broadcasting studios.

Cameo appearance by Heojun in All About Eve, 2000, MBC

He’s dressed in character obviously off to do some filming. Cho-jeh is star-struck and rushes over to him asking for his autograph. Sun-mi is embarrassed and tells her not to go. After all they are supposed to be professionals working in the media so it’s inappropriate to act like fans. Her friend doesn’t care though and rushes over anyway. She doesn’t have any paper so tells him to sign her forehead!

He acts like the doctor would act! Then she mentions that she has stomachache sometimes and asks him what the problem could be!! He takes her pulse as Heo-jun would do and tells her it’s just menstrual cramps. LOL

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All About Eve, funny bits.

I’m still enjoying watching All About Eve but this time around I’m noticing things I didn’t see before…

Episode 2

Joo-hee the newsreader is in London filming the news with the broadcasting station MBS. She goes to see Hyung-cheol who is living in London. She’s obviously in love with him and they go for a walk along the Thames. They walk past a couple sitting nearby kissing. The woman is sitting on the man’s knee. Hyung-cheol glances at them as he walks by. (Is he wondering what it would be like to be in love as he never has been? Or is he thinking – Look at those two kissing in public?) There are bottles of beer next to the couple and they drink these later.

Hyung-cheol and Joo-hee, All About Eve 2000 MBC episode 2 Continue reading

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Seoul Apartments and a drama location

It’s no wonder so many Kdramas are about the extremes of being rich or poor. I thought this as we were walking in a small mountain in Seoul looking out at the view of huge apartment complexes towering threateningly over small clusters of low income housing. I’m always amazed at the size of the apartment complexes in Seoul but views from up here say it all.

One of the first Kdramas I watched 발리에서 생긴 일 What Happened in Bali, SBS, 2003 deals with the issue of money and greed with the rich and poor. It’s about a (poor) young woman, Lee Soo-jung (Ha ji won) who is trying to make a living in Bali as a tour guide. While working there she meets Kang In-wook (So Ji-sub) and  Jung Jae-min (Jo In-sung) and his fiance Choi Young-joo (Park Ye-jin). The four of them end up going out together on a tour.

What Happened in Bali (picture source Dramawiki)

But when she comes back to Seoul penniless, she moves in with her friend in a one-room up on a hill with no bathroom or hot water and starts doing whatever she can to earn money including working as a hostess in a karaoke place. Finally, she goes to see Jung Jae-min (Jo In-sung) the rich young son of a CEO she met in Bali to ask him for a job. In-wook is working at the company and a love-triangle ensues… Continue reading

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Ten New Korean Words reading Dong Yi

It’s a struggle trying to understand Dong Yi without subtitles so my new strategy is to try reading the novel in Korean as well. Hopefully this should help me pick up some useful vocabulary along the way and help my Korean study in general too. I like to know the hanja (Chinese character) for new words as I find this helps me remember them better. So here are 10  useful new words.


English

hangul

romanization

hanja

king

wang

= king

kingdom

왕국

wang-guk

王國 = king + country

regal power

왕권

Wang-gwon

王權 = king + power

throne

왕위

wang-wui

王位 = king + rank/position

queen

왕비

wang-bi

王妃 = king + queen

mother of the king

대비

te-bi

大妃 = big + queen

royal concubine

후궁

hu-gung

後宮 = behind + palace

This is an interesting one.

servant

노비

no-bi

奴婢 = person/servant +

I think the hanja on the right means to despise or look down on, be humble.

servant class

천민

chon-min

賤民 = humble + people

aristocracy

양반

yang-ban

兩班= both + groups (refers to the civil yang-ban and the military yang-ban)


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