large transverse bamboo flute with a distinctive sound, widely used in Korean music. The taegum is about 84 cm (33 inches) long. It has a mouthpiece opening and six finger holes, as well as two to five open holes toward the end. A special aperture covered with a reed membrane gives the instrument its characteristic sound. The taegum is used as an ensemble or solo instrument in a broad range of genres, from court music to shaman and folk music. A somewhat smaller version, pitched a whole tone higher, is used for the folk and sanjo (virtuosic solo) genres.
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