Kayagum is one of the unique national musical instruments. It originates from Kaya Kingdom (a feudal minor state which existed in Korea from mid-1st century to mid-6th century), so was called kayagum.
A string instrument it fits well to the taste and sentiments of the Korean people with its resilient, soft and graceful sound and rhythmic and beautiful posture of playing.
It is simple in structure, easy to calibrate with movable bridges and learn and has a varied technique of execution. These features made it popular even to be of much account in the court music too. Besides, its musical scale was improved from pentatonic system to twelve-tone system, its musical range much widened and its volume and tone quality quite original.
It is not only used as a solo instrument, but also takes charge of the main melody in kayagum ensemble, kayagum solo and ensemble, kayagum concert and national instrumental ensemble and used as a melodic and rhythmic instrument in orchestra, instrumental concert and accompaniment.
The kayagum and its music had suffered a great restriction by the policy of destruction of national culture during Japanese colonial rule, but following the liberation saw a rapid development thanks to the policy of building a Juche-oriented national music.
It has now been refined to a modern instrument to take an important place in the development of the Korean music.