Pansori (판소리)

Pansori is a musical drama; a type of traditional Korean music that tells a story, often satircal or romantic.  This music genre includes vocals and percussion, performed by one singer and one drummer.

The singer tells the story through chants, narration, facial expressions, and song. Usually the singer holds a fan, which is then used for emphasis during the performance. The drummer provides the rhythm of the performance, and increases or decreases the tempo of the drumming as the story dictates.

Pansori began as an oral tradition in the common culture of Korea, but continued with professional entertainers. Popular in Korea in the 1800s, a full pansori performance can take hours to complete. Originally a collection of 12 pansori operas, called madang, were performed. Today five of those survive.

When we attended the Chongdong Theater in Seoul in 2006, an abbreviated pansori performance was part of the show.

If you’d like to learn more about pansori check out the Pansori Museum site:

And, as always, the Korean Tourism site has information ont he


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