Lesson: Korean Dragonfly Song

dragonfly

Jamjari Kkongkkong

Korean Dragonfly Song

dragonfliesBefore tablets, PCs, and smartphones were introduced in Korea, children played with games that are related to the nature around them, such as flowers, trees, pebbles, animals, and insects. There are numerous Korean traditional folk songs based on nature, and Jamjari kkongkkong (잠자리 꽁꽁) is one such example for kids.

Jamjari (잠자리) means “dragonfly” and kkongkkong (꽁꽁) is an expression that represents “to freeze/stop in place.” Children used to sing the song, Jamjari kkongkkong (잠자리 꽁꽁) while chasing dragonflies, in hopes that a dragonfly will freeze in place so they can catch it.

Korean folk songs are written primarily with three to five tones; do, re, mi, so, and la. Jamjari kkongkkong is written with four tones: mi, so, la, and do’, with solfege “la” (note A) as the tonal center. There are multiple variations of the song throughout different regions in Korea, although this version is the most common by far.

Different colors of dragonflies including red, green, black, and yellow can easily be found in Korea throughout late Summer and Fall. Teachers may introduce the different colors of dragonflies through the drum ostinato pattern.

jamjari kkongkkong

jamjari

 

Translation & Pronunciation:

잠자리 꽁꽁                jamjari kkongkkong                  Dragonfly freeze

꼼자리 꽁꽁                kkomjari* kkongkkong              Dragonfly freeze

이리와라 꽁꽁             iriwara kkongkkong                  Fly here kkongkkong

저리가라 꽁꽁             jeorigara kkongkkong               Fly away kkongkkong

*kkomjari is mixture of jamjari and kkongkkong; the first syllable of jamjari is changed to create a rhyme.

 

a father i see
o go eo dog

Click here to view videos of both pronunciation and song.

Procedures:

  1. Teacher sings the song with motions.
  2. Teach the motions (Students imitate motions and listen to the Korean lyrics multiple times).
    • Jamjari kkongkkong – flying motion and freeze (in place).
      jamjari
    • kkomjari kkongkkong – repeat above.
    • iriwara kkongkkong – two steps forward and freeze.
      jamjari
    • jeorigara kkongkkong – two steps back and freeze.
  3. Teach the song, phrase by phrase.
  4. Speak “kkong kkong dra-gon-fly” (patting hands on the laps) and transfer to alto xylophone (note A and E).
    jamjari
  5. Introduce the different colors of dragonfly through the drum part. Have students speak “Red, green, black and yel-low” (clapping the rhythms) and transfer to drum.
    Jamjari
  6. Divide class into three groups; one group for alto xylophone, another group for drum, and the other group for singing and motions.
  7. Perform the entire piece as an ensemble.
    • Alto xylophone starts with 8 beat intro and then drum comes in (8 beat ostinato).
    • Sing the song two times with motions.

Click here to download a pdf of this lesson.


About Minhee Kim

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Minhee Kim is a music teacher and pianist from Korea. She was raised in Seoul where she spent her school years. After graduating from college, she traveled to many countries and was intrigued with unique and cultural environment of Hawai'i. She moved to Hawai'i in 2013 and received her Master’s degree in Music and a Post-Baccalaureate certificate in Music Education from theUniversity of Hawai'i at Manoa.

11 Comments

Becky Hall

This looks like a great, authentic piece for my students! Thank you for posting! I am curious about the pronunciation of the double K in “kkongkkong”. Is it simply a /k/ sound, or is there more to it? Thank you!

Reply
Minhee Kim

Thank you so much for your comment!
“kk” (ㄲ) is a double consonant – it is pronounced the same as the regular “k” sound, but harder and more enunciated. I’ll try to upload the video of the pronunciation of the lyrics soon!

Reply
Denise Swanberg

From what I know about Korean pronunciation, the double consonant of the KK is produced at the back of the mouth almost near the throat, whereas the Italian double consonant “cc” is produced with the middle/front of the tongue. Does that sound right? I am loving this song and so are my students! My husband is half Korean and he fondly remembers singing it as a child. Thanks for sharing!

Reply
Kelly

Love this! I am a flute teacher… in addition to these notes being very suitable for early players, I also have a number of Korean students. I can’t wait to incorporate this song in our repertoire. Many thanks!

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