In honor of Women’s History Month, Women on Wednesdays is celebrating the day with traditional music from the East.
Sun-Joo Oh kicked off the month of Women in Music by speaking about Korean Art Song, a traditional type of music that sounds very similar to opera.
Oh is an Associate professor of applied voice and vocal pedagogy at ETSU. She began her music education at Sungshin’s Women’s University in Seoul, Korea. She continued her education in places such as Rome, South Carolina and Boston. She has given recitals all over the world, including the Eastern United States, Europe, Brazil and South Korea.
Oh began the lecture by explaining that Art Song is a vocal music composition that is commonly written for one voice and traditionally has piano accompaniment. It is also common for the words to be written as poetry first and then set to music by a composer.
As the diverse audience of women happily ate the provided lunch, Oh showed how the history of Korea deeply impacted the Art Song.
“Korean Art Song is not simply something to listen to,” Oh said. “It is closely tied to history,”
Most of the music and soprano vocals produced a feeling of sadness and wanting, which Oh explained was not unusual.
“A lot of songs have themes for longing,” Oh said.
“Han” is the Korean word for this emotion. It can roughly be translated as longing, but according to Oh, “there is no English translation.”
Oh played recordings of herself singing songs that were composed throughout history. She could move from talking about history to demonstrating a melody seamlessly.
Heather Killmeyer gave a similarly themed talk on March 16 at 12 p.m. in the Multicultural Center Presentation Room.
Killmeyer explained that her upcoming presentation is going to be about contemporary chamber music.
While these music styles differ greatly from each other, on thing is true: these women refuse to miss a beat.