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“Guitar Sanjo” is a variation of sanjo, the traditional Korean genre of music played with
Korean flutes, zither, and fiddle, which Kim Soo Chul forged into a new style.
Sanjo takes the beats called jinyangjo, jungmori, jungjungmori, jajinmori, and hwimori,
which in succession become faster and faster to raise the spirits until it hits the peak. In addition,
sanjo allows its players to break away from preexisting forms to rely on their feelings or senses,
to create improvised pieces. Kim’s “Guitar Sanjo” is an expression of Korean sounds and melodies
that blend in such characteristics of sanjo and that of the electric guitar to bring out
the most of the techniques used for electric guitar.
Kim Soo Chul’s “Guitar Sanjo” was experimentally attempted in an indie film called “Tal” in 1980,
and came to be introduced to the public in the 1986 Asian Games, along with performances in Chung Ang
Traditional Orchestra’s concerts in 1987, in which the name “Guitar Sanjo” was given to the genre.
After it took on its name, Guitar Sanjo was performed in 1988 Seoul Olympics, Chung Ang Traditional Orchestra concerts,
New York, Japan, Daejeon Expo 1993, opening ceremony for 97 Winter Universiade, presidential inauguration of 1998,
opening ceremony for the 2002 Soccer World Cup, and the 57th UN Day celebrations in 2002
(General Assembly Hall in New York UN Headquarters).
Kim Soo Chul’s music can be heard in his album, “Guitar Sanjo,” published in 2002.