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A Comparative Approach to Korean Arirang and Chinese Ariri The meaning of the Korean representative folk song ‘Arirang’ 아리랑 remains unclear till today. An insistence on interpreting the term ‘Arirang’ as ‘song’ has, recently, found as an established theory in the academic circle of Korean studies. The author discovered some folk songs which share similarities with the Korean ‘Arirang’ among ethnic minorities in China such as the Naxi, Yi, and Zhang ethnic groups. This paper aims, therefore, at comparing the Korean ‘Arirang’ to similar folk songs of Chinese ethnic minorities. A comparison between the folk songs of Chinese ethnic minorities and the Korean ‘Arirang’ shows the following three common aspects. First, the word ‘Ari,’ which seems to be at the origin of ‘Arirang,’ is used in their titles(like in ‘Ariri,’ ‘Ari’ etc). Second, a refrain beginning with ‘Ariri’ appears in the initial part of each folk song. Third, almost all of them are based on a pentatonic scale, and while melodic lines display local characteristics, patterns of cadence are often alike. Through this study, the author pursues the hypothesis that it may be possible to find folk songs similar to the ‘Arirang,’ currently diffused in the Korean peninsula also in other Asian cultural areas that display points of resemblance in customs and language with Korea.


A Comparative Approach to Korean Arirang and Chinese Ariri The meaning of the Korean representative folk song ‘Arirang’ 아리랑 remains unclear till today. An insistence on interpreting the term ‘Arirang’ as ‘song’ has, recently, found as an established theory in the academic circle of Korean studies. The author discovered some folk songs which share similarities with the Korean ‘Arirang’ among ethnic minorities in China such as the Naxi, Yi, and Zhang ethnic groups. This paper aims, therefore, at comparing the Korean ‘Arirang’ to similar folk songs of Chinese ethnic minorities. A comparison between the folk songs of Chinese ethnic minorities and the Korean ‘Arirang’ shows the following three common aspects. First, the word ‘Ari,’ which seems to be at the origin of ‘Arirang,’ is used in their titles(like in ‘Ariri,’ ‘Ari’ etc). Second, a refrain beginning with ‘Ariri’ appears in the initial part of each folk song. Third, almost all of them are based on a pentatonic scale, and while melodic lines display local characteristics, patterns of cadence are often alike. Through this study, the author pursues the hypothesis that it may be possible to find folk songs similar to the ‘Arirang,’ currently diffused in the Korean peninsula also in other Asian cultural areas that display points of resemblance in customs and language with Korea.