Name: Haegeum.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes > Spike > Bowed.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.313.7
Country: Korea.
Region: Far East Asia.

Description: The haegeum [in Hangul: 해금 haegeum] It is also popularly known as kkangkkang-i [in Hangul: 깡깡이], kkaengkkaeng-i [in Hangul: 깽깽이], or aeng-geum [in Hangul: 앵금]. The haegeum is a traditional bowed and vertically held stringed instrument that is played in Korea. The haegeum is one of the most widely played instruments in Korean music. It is used in court music as well as madagnori, commoner’s or ordinary people’s music. 

History: Little recorded information exists about the exact era when the haegeum was introduced into Korea. Although the haegeum is documented in several sources including the Akhak Gwebeom. It was also documented in hanlimbyeolgok [the unrhymed verse and songs of the royal scholars] also published during the Goryeo dynasty. So it can be inferred that the haegeum has been played at least since then. 

The sohaegeum [소해금] is a modernized fiddle with four strings, used only in North Korea and in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in China.

Construction: The haegeum constructed from using eight sonorous materials within the Chinese classification system of music. The materials included are metal, stone, silk, bamboo, gourd, clay, hide, and wood. The overall length of the haegeum from body, neck to head stock measures in length to about 70 cm. Each of the two pegs are 2.5 cm in diameter and 11 cm in length. The sound box or body has has a surface of paulownia [Paulownia tomentosa] wood at the front. The sound box is open at the rear. The pegs have spools which access string is wound.

The wood used in the construction of the haegeum quince tree, mulberry tree, large sized bamboo or xylosma tree, mulberry tree, large sized bamboo or shiny xylosma. The middle plate called ‘bokpan’ consists of eucommia bark or paulownia tree. The neck [called ‘ipjuk’] is made of dark coloured bamboo [烏斑竹] with many joints, and it is attached on a sound box with a cast iron stick inserted through it. The surrounding part of holes for ‘jua [two small sticks to tune strings]’ is covered with silver or a pisolite [an alloy or a zinc].

The surrounding region in where the holes for the tuning pegs is called the “jua” is covered with silver or a pisolite [alloy].  The jung-hyeon [inside string] is a thicker diameter than the yoo-hyeon [outside string]. With a thin leather or a string [called ‘chaeseung’], from about 2 cm below ‘jua’, the two strings ‘yoo-hyeon’.

Citations: Bibliography: Song Hyon ed. Akhak Kwebōm [Guide To The Study Of Music] Seoul, 1943 / R1975, 7-8am9a ; Chang Sa-Hun; Han’guk akki taegwan [Korean Musical Instruments] Seoul, 1969, p 611 ; Stanley Sadie ~ New Grove Dictionary of Music Book G to O Page 116 ; Websites: Doosan Encyclopedia / Haegeum [article] Translated from Korean in Google Translate ; Haegeum in print [.pdf] translated from the original text, sampled is a page on the haegeum described in the Akhak Gwebeom ;

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