Daechwita is a royal military marching music that was played during important national events and royal processions with ancient origins.
Goguryeo Wall paintings are designated as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO. The paintings depict the daily lives of ancient Koreans. In one painting, you can see musicians marching together with a procession of a nobleman. This is evidence that marching music was already quite developed since the ancient history of Korea.
It was given the name Daechwita because chwita means "to blow and strike." The music has a grand melody and it's an ancient marching music unique to Korea. The ensemble of a daechwita includes percussion instruments such as the jing (Korean gong), jabara (Korean cymbals), janggu (drum shaped like an hourglass), yonggo (drum), and wind instruments such as the nagak (conch horn), nabal (trumpet), and taepyeongso (oboe-like instrument).
Along with the grand music of daechwita, piri court music is the most refined court musical piece in Korea. Court music is played during important functions and royal banquets. The piri musician plays a role that is similar to a conductor in the West and that is why this music is called piri court music.
The akhakgwebeom was published in 1493 and is an encyclopedia that covers Korea's musical history from ancient times until the Joseon Dynasty period. In the text, there are descriptions on the structure of a piri and how to play it. There are three main types of piri, which are the dangpiri, hyangpiri, and saepiri. Made from bamboo, the Korean piri produces a beautiful, clear sound. It takes about 60 processes to make a single piri. Carving a finger hole into the bamboo bore of the piri requires careful attention to details. The size and location of the hole will determine the sound of the piri.
Piri court music is the essence of elegant Korean court music. Along with daechwita, a rousing Korean marching music, piri court music is one of the most refined traditional musical pieces that shows the spirit and emotions of Koreans.