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Donald WomackRitual Resonance 굿 울림Gayageum, Ajaeng, Percussion 가야금, 아쟁, 타악15:002015
"Ritual Resonance" was inspired by East Coast Byolshin Gut of South Korea, a lengthy ritual in which a mudang, or shaman, seeks the blessing of ancestral spirits for the well being of a local village. The title refers not only to the sound of actual resonance, which is reflected in various elements of the piece, but, more importantly, to the manner in which the gut resonates with my creative spirit.

"Ritual Resonance" is an abstract representation of the underlying character of the shamanic ritual. The piece does not recreate the actual sound of Byolshin Gut, but instead seeks to emulate what I find to be its essence – a raw, manic, yet somehow graceful energy that envelopes the mudang as she sings and dances in order to mediate between the human and spirit worlds.

The musical structure of Byolshin Gut is quite complex, featuring highly syncopated, irregular and percussive cross-rhythms, which interlock between instruments to create an energized rhythmic groove. Likewise, "Ritual Resonance" features a similar rhythmic texture, suggestive of the character of the gut. At times actual jangdan, or rhythmic patterns, of Byolshin Gut appear, though more often the rhythms used are original, based on re-constructed fragments of jangdan. A recurring melodic idea constructed from fragments of the shaman’s songs appears several times throughout the piece, gradually becoming more and more intense, in much the same way that the ritual gathers intensity as it progresses. As in the gut, where, following the climax, the mudang descends from an ecstatic state while the summoned spirits return to their own world, after reaching its final climax the piece descends into a calm section, where the spirits seemingly float away into the heavens.

"Ritual Resonance" was commissioned by Gil-seon Jung, and is dedicated to her with admiration and appreciation for her wonderful musicianship and dedication to promoting new music.
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