10. Shin Joong Hyun’s Rock Sonority and Korean Pentatonicism in “Miin”


1. 신중현과 엽전들, “미인”

1. Shin Joong Hyun kwa Yŏpchŏn tŭl, “Miin” (Beautiful Girl)

From: Shin Joong-hyun’gwa Yŏpchŏndŭl Vol.1, Seoul: Jigu Records JLS-120891, 1974.8.25, 33⅓ rpm.

Shin Joong-hyun: vocal, guitar; Yi Nam-yi: bass guitar; Kwon Yong-nam: drums.


The first hit number of authentic Korean rock music. In this song Shin Joong-hyun resolved the musical problems between Korean folksong and Anglo-American rock musical sounds.

2. 신중현과 엽전들, “떠오르는태양”

2. Shin Joong-hyun kwa Yŏpchŏn tŭl, “Ttŏorŭnŭn t’aeyang” (Rising Sun)

From: Shin Joong-hyun’gwa Yŏpchŏndŭl Vol.1, Seoul: Jigu Records JLS-120891, 1974.8.25, 33⅓ rpm.

Shin Joong-hyun: vocal, guitar; Yi Nam-yi: Bass Guitar; Kwŏn Yong-nam: Drums.

The important Korean rock music without lyrics toward psychedelic sound.

3. 펄 시스터즈, “님아”

3. Pearl Sisters, “Nim a” (My Beloved)

From: P’ŏlssisŭtŏjŭ t’ŭksŏnjip [Pearl Sister’s Special Collection (Shin Joong-hyun composed and arranged] Vol.1, Seoul: Shinhyang/ Taechi Record, DG KA-02, 1968, 33⅓ rpm.

Ch’oe I-ch’ŏl: vocal, electric guitar, mouth tube; Kim Myŏng-gon: vocal, mini moog, alto sax, string, keyboard, bass ; Yi Nam-i: bass; Yi Kŭn-su: keyboard, organ; Kim T’ae-hŭng: drums; Sarvo: bass.

The song was composed by Shin Joong-hyun. The first hit song with rock sonority in mainstream pop. The syncopated rhythm encourages dancing. The lyrics are about loneliness with slow tempo-like ballads, and the song is accompanied by strings like other mainstream pop.

4. 신중현, “아리랑”

4. Shin Joong-hyun, “Arirang”

From: Hichy Shin Guitar Melody, Seoul: Domido Record LD156, 1959, 33⅓ rpm.

Hichy Shin is the nickname of Shin Joong-hyun in his early days. It is the first one of all his band music recordings. Arirang is most famous Korean folksong. He arranged it for Kyŏngŭmak with blue notes. Kyŏngŭmak means dance music without lyrics.

5. 한명숙, “노란 샤쓰의 사나이”

5. Han Myŏng-suk, “Noran syassŭ ŭi sanai” (The Boy in the Yellow Shirt)

From: The hit film released in 1962.

Yi Hyŏn-do: vocal, music, lyrics and producing; Kim Sŏng-jae: vocal and styling.


It was composed in 1961 by Son Sŏk-u based on hillbilly style; hearranged it for film music in 1962. It became the first hit number in Korean mainstream pop as American-styled Korean popular music (AKPM).

6. 김옥심, “창부타령”

6. Kim Ok-sim, “Ch’angbut’aryŏng” (Song of Spirit of Entertainment)

From: Korean Classical Music Record Museum MIREEL-0100 recorded in the 1960s.


It is the Korean folksong on traditional pentatonic mode of Kyŏnggi Province called Chin-kyŏng-t’ori (authentic mode of Kyŏnggi Province) which was used in Shin Joong-hyun’s rock music, “Miin”.

7. 박부용, “노들강변”

7. Pak Pu-yong, “Nodŭlgangbyŏn” (Riverside of Nodŭl)

From: Nodŭlgangbyŏn, Okeh Record, Okeh-1619-A (K854), 1934. 78 rpm.

Korea Record Archive

This song was composed by Mun Ho-wŏl. From the early 1930’s the music market expanded rapidly with new styles, Sinminyo and Yuhaengga. The latter was a Westernized-Japanized Korean song with Korean lyrics, and Sinminyo related to Korean traditional folksong. Nodŭlgangbyŏn is an early example of Sinminyo style, which uses Neo-Korean traditional pentatonic mode of Kyŏnggi Province called Sin-kyŏng-t’ori. (New mode of Kyŏnggi Province).

8. 이미자, “동백아가씨” (2013 version)

8. Yi Mi-ja, “Tongbaek agassi” (Miss Camellia) (2013 version)

From: Tongbaeg agassi, Seoul: Gigu record LM-120037/JLS-120037, 1964, 33⅓ rpm.


This song is the first banned one because of its musical style as a Japanese colored song (JCS). Nonetheless it became a smash hit at the time. JCS style was popular from the 1930’s to the 1970’s.