Among the national instruments reflective of national emotion and aesthetic sense that have undergone constant development by the Korean nation is a pipe with a long history.
A pipe with which you make a sound by blowing at one end across a hollow rod with several holes on it is one of the widely-used woodwind instruments.
Having been used for their emotional life by our nation from the earliest period, it served as a popular instrument since it is portable and simple in type and it produces an elegant and clear tone.
Since primitive times Korean people have played pipes made of different materials like animal bones, leaves or stems of trees, reeds, etc.
The Bronze Age cultural stratum of the Sopho Port Site in Rason City was unearthed with a bone pipe recognized as dating from the 3rd millennium B.C. It was made of the bone of a bird’s leg and drilled with 10 holes, which is just enough to demonstrate that Korean nation is a wise and talented nation that made instruments for their cultural life in the earliest days in the world, and that a pipe has a time-honoured tradition.
In Ancient Korea, not only soft-toned pipes made of animal bones and bamboos but also others of a pipe kind such as tophy (a roll of a leaf of a peach tree), ka (a simple kind of a single tone with no holes on the side), etc. made of a variety of materials were devised and used as musical and signal instruments.
In the period of Three Kingdoms, Koryo and Feudal Joson Dynasty, various kinds of pipes with different tone colours and ranges were also made to improve the descriptive power of instrumental music and these pipes took charge of main melodies of music.
Besides, pipes were played in every single piece of folk instrumental music and popular with people of all levels of society over a long period in the Middle Ages, and every part of the country has had fine customs of children playing on willow pipes in early spring.
In summary, a pipe is one of the typical national instruments that have been penetrated deep into the life of the Korean people and have made a great contribution to the development of national music while dominating musical performances.
Today under the scrupulous care of the Party and state, which value the traditions of our nation, pipes are on the way of progress forming the main part of national instruments.