Nowadays, K-Pop takes on a heavily electronic pop sound and are often times sourced to American or European producers for melody, song, and instrumental production. However, in a few rarer instances, the artists will take influence from their own heritage and portray it through in the instrumental of the track. We often see the visual representation of traditional Korea in music videos and performances, but it's rarer to hear traditional Korean instruments like zithers, harps, lutes, oboes, and drums. Here are 7 K-Pop songs that incorporate aspects of Traditional Korean Music into their songs:
Arario - ToppDogg
One of the only videos on this list to incorporate a number of traditional visual elements to accompany the sound is ToppDogg's "Arario". Zithers, drums, traditional art, and hanbok are just some of the things they've successfully woven into "Arario"!
Park Jiyoon - Coming of Age Ceremony
Though an old track, Park Ji Yoon's melodic song, "Coming of Age Ceremony" boasts a fundamentally traditional sound. The song withheld the test of time when BTS brought it back to the forefront of music with their cover.
Shanghai Romance - Orange Caramel
As the title of the song indicates, there's a traditional sound to this song that embodies a far away time to this Orange Caramel track. The three effortlessly turn this into an upbeat pop song, but the twang of traditional instruments is what makes the song stick in our brains.
YAMAZAKI - Bang Yong Guk
Yong Guk's "Yamazaki" takes a traditional Korean zither and re-purposes it to create biting trap music. "Yamazaki" is a powerful hip-hop with a Korean plucked strings spin.
Shangri-La - VIXX
A slept on track! VIXX's "Shangri-La" takes much of it's sound from traditional music and incorporates fans into the dance that give a very culturally relevant feel.
2. Niliria - G-Dragon
Niliria is fundamentally traditional Korean music re-purposed for G-Dragon's "Coup D'Etat". The biting traditional strings in this track stand out in particular as a great example of East meets West sound.
1. Ddaeng - BTS
Though this isn't an official MV for "Ddaeng" we find this visual to go along perfectly with this traditionally inspired track. The rhythm and melody is inspired by a number of traditional instruments, without having too much of a trap sound.