Norie (Game)

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2007-04-26

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Korean culture the lives of children in past generations were strongly influenced by folk song. They heard their mother's lullabies and later sang those songs with their peers. Such songs can be called Korean children's folk songs. These songs are anonymous and are not bound by any forms or lyrical rules. Orally taught and handed down from generation to generation, they typically use only 4-5 pitches.

My piece Norie ("Game," in Korean) is based on a famous children's game song, "Yeo-u-ya Yeo-u-ya, Mo-ha-ni?" (Fox, Fox, What Are You Doing?). Children in the game pick one "Fox" and ask questions, which the Fox must answer while singing the song. The lyrics are "Over the first hill, there is no Fox, over the second hill, there is no Fox, over the third hill, there is a Fox" and the Fox is questioned. "Fox, Fox, What are you doing?" "I am sleeping." "Sleepyhead." "I am washing." "Dandy." "I am eating." "What are you eating?" "It's a Frog." "Dead or alive?" "It's alive (dead)." If the Fox says "It's alive," then children run away. When the Fox catches one of the players, the game continues with a new Fox.

Norie (Game) is a set of Variations for orchestra using this folk song as a theme and a point of departure. Three Clarinets present the theme after the introduction of 45 measures. The scene in which children run away after hearing "It's alive" is presented at rehearsal mark C. From rehearsal D there are five variations incorporating inverted intervals, varied rhythms, varied modes, several points of imitation, and various ostinato, a repeated pattern, techniques. The third variation (rehearsal mark I) is a slow section in which the folk tune is presented by Marimba and strings. In the final measures each instrument plays the question "Dead or alive?" in different rhythms and Norie concludes with the answer,

"It's alive."

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