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JRMXXX10.1177/0022429415620195Journal of Research in Music EducationKang and Yoo

Article
Journal of Research in Music Education
2016, Vol. 63(4) 469­–486
Effects of a Westernized © National Association for
Music Education 2016
Korean Folk Music Selection Reprints and permissions:
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on Students’ Music Familiarity DOI: 10.1177/0022429415620195
jrme.sagepub.com
and Preference for Its
Traditional Version

Sangmi Kang1 and Hyesoo Yoo1

Abstract
The purpose of this study was to reveal the effects of Westernized arrangements of
traditional Korean folk music on music familiarity and preference. Two separate labs
in one intact class were assigned to one of two treatment groups of either listening
to traditional Korean folk songs (n = 18) or listening to Western arrangements of
the same Korean folk songs (n = 22); a second intact class served as a control group
with no listening (n = 20). Before and after the listening treatment session, pre- and
posttests were administered that included 12 music excerpts of current popular,
Western classical, and traditional Korean music. Results showed that participants
who listened to traditional folk songs demonstrated significant increases in both
familiarity and preference ratings; however, those who listened to Westernized folk
songs showed increases only in familiarity ratings but not preference ratings for the
same Korean songs in traditional versions. An analysis of participants’ open-ended
responses showed that affective–positive responses were used most frequently when
explaining preference for traditional versions of Korean folk songs (28.1%) among
the traditional Korean listening group; structural–negative reasons (47.8%) were the
most frequent among the Westernized listening group.

Keywords
Westernized adaptation, Korean folk music, music familiarity, music preference,
authenticity in music, world music

1University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA

Corresponding Author:
Sangmi Kang, School of Music, University of Florida, P.O. Box 117900, Gainesville, FL 32601, USA.
Email: skang312@ufl.edu

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470 Journal of Research in Music Education 63(4)

The importance of learning music from all cultures has been established firmly from the
Tanglewood Symposium (Robert, Charles, Charles, & Wersen, 1967) to the Housewright
Declaration (Madsen, 2000). Educational practices thus have extended the implementa-
tion of world music curricula. The study of world musics is believed to benefit students
who live in global societies because it can help students construct a self-identity, show
respect and tolerance for unfamiliar cultures (Fung, 1995a; Nethsinghe, 2012), foster an
understanding of other cultures, and enrich their educational experiences (Consortium
of National Arts Education Associations, 1994; Szego, 2005). Nethsinghe (2012) stated
that students are able to develop “a sense of musical and cultural self-identity” through
an understanding of their own musical background (p. 389).
In light of this, the individual pieces of world musics selected to be taught should
possess unique cultural and stylistic components. Elliott (1989) embraced this particu-
lar emphasis on multicultural music education, arguing that “music is a major means
of distinguishing, identifying, and expressing differences,” as opposed to the homog-
enizing influence created by stressing universal commonalities (p. 12). Therefore,
music teachers should try to create as authentic an experience as possible when teach-
ing unfamiliar music from other cultures (Fung, 1995a), one that preserves unique
values and meanings while recognizing that no perfect authenticity can be achieved in
the classroom (Palmer, 1992; Reimer, 2003).
A number of scholars have criticized utilizing Westernized arrangements in teach-
ing world musics. For example, timbre or tuning systems are altered; Western-style
harmonies are employed; inappropriate instruments, such as the piano or guitar, are
added in accompaniment; texts are translated inappropriately; and original musical
characteristics, such as complex rhythms or irregular tonalities, are removed
(Lundquist, 2002; Palmer, 1992; Szego, 2005). In some cases, only the title or melody
line is preserved as a trace of the original music, while other musical characteristics
are entirely altered. Palmer (1992) claimed that such Westernized pieces no longer are
considered “world musics” because they neither can convey their musical meanings
and values nor can represent the cultures from which these musics originate.
Nevertheless, Westernized pieces have been employed extensively in music class-
rooms. Legette (2003) reported that among 394 music teachers of elementary, middle,
and high schools, 42% of teachers used music textbooks as their primary sources, and
50% used supplementary materials, such as music scores, recordings, the Internet, and
their own college teacher education experiences, when teaching world musics. Many
world music songs and recordings found in popular music textbooks and teacher
resources are simplified and arranged in Westernized styles (Damm, 2000; Trinka,
1987). High-quality multicultural materials have been made available to music teach-
ers (i.e., Smithsonian Folkways Tools for Teaching and Oxford University’s Global
Sound materials and Global Music Series); however, unless teachers endeavor to
access these materials and to integrate them into their classrooms, it seems difficult to
teach these musics to students in a culturally appropriate manner (Kang, 2014).
As far as can be determined, little is known about the effects of these Westernized
adaptations on students’ appreciation of traditional music styles. Authors of some
studies have investigated the effects of Western music training on students’ world
music learning (Rice, 1994; Szego, 1999), but the effects of Westernized arrangements

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Kang and Yoo 471

on students’ perception of world musics have not been studied yet in any great detail.
Demorest and Schultz (2004) examined fifth graders’ music preferences for authentic
versus arranged versions of world music recordings, and their results indicated that
students showed a higher preference for the arranged version. However, students’ per-
ceptions of traditional music after listening to the arranged version over a longer
period of time have not been studied yet.
Music is constantly changing with the interaction between culture and society
(Nettl, 1977; Palmer, 1992); correspondingly, bringing world musics into the class-
room also brings changes to the cultural context of the music (Fung, 1995a). Therefore,
Westernized adaptations of world musics are a normal phenomenon associated with
music’s natural fluidity, and Westernized pieces can be appreciated as a distinct hybrid
music genre. However, a problem may potentially lie in using Westernized pieces as a
first step to the music’s traditional versions. A number of scholars have recommended
that teachers begin the study of world musics with familiar styles for students. For
example, Fung (1996) advised beginning the study with Latin music because of its
similarity to Western music, and Demorest and Schultz (2004) suggested “world pop”
music with its fusion of Western and non-Western elements for upper-level students.
Since Westernized adaptations are familiar to students and readily accessible to teach-
ers, they often have been considered a necessary first step to learning about traditional
versions of world music pieces. Because the effects of Westernized adaptations on
students’ appreciation of traditional music are little understood, these adaptations
come to be used by many teachers without reflection on their influences (Szego, 2005).
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a Westernized arrangement of
specific Korean folk songs on collegiate students’ familiarity with, and preference for,
these Korean folk songs in traditional versions. To study the familiarity and preferences
for traditional Korean folk music, we measured students’ familiarity and preference
before and after intervention by comparing two treatment groups and one control group:
(a) listening to traditional Korean folk music, (b) listening to Westernized Korean folk
music, and (c) with no listening experience. We explored the following questions:

1. Is there a difference in students’ familiarity with and preference for traditional


versions of Korean folk songs from pre- and posttests among the three groups?
2. Is there any relationship between students’ familiarity with and preference for
traditional versions of Korean folk songs?
3. Is there any association between students’ open-ended reasons for preference
decisions and their prior treatment experiences (listening to Korean folk songs
either in traditional versions or in Westernized versions)?

Method
Participants
Following approval from the university’s institutional review board (IRB), partici-
pants (N = 62) were recruited from two intact undergraduate classes at a large uni-
versity in the southeastern United States: a course for elementary education majors

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472 Journal of Research in Music Education 63(4)

(n = 42) that had two separate labs and a course for early childhood education majors
(n = 20). Participants enrolled in this study as part of the course. The study’s lessons
were part of the course curriculum, and the surveys were distributed as optional class
assignments for extra credit. The participants consisted of 58 females and four males.
Age of participants ranged from 17 to 24 (M = 20.10, Mdn = 19, SD = 3.105), and their
ethnicities were as follows: 79.0% European/White, 8.1% African American, 8.1%
Hispanic, and 4.8% Asian. Participants were asked to report the number of years of
previous music experience; the majority of participants (66.1%) had participated in
music activities before (14.5% 1 to 2 years, 24.2% 3 to 4 years, 9.7% 5 to 6 years, and
17.7% more than 7 years). Approximately one third (33.9%) of the participants had no
prior music experience before participating in this study.

Treatment
The study was designed as a quasi-experiment with a nonequivalent control group,
specifically, the no-treatment control group design with pretest and posttest (Cook &
Campbell, 1979), in which the treatment groups were randomly assigned from two of
the three classes. The other class was assigned to the control group. Treatment Group
1 (n = 20), which was led by an instructor with expertise in traditional Korean music,
listened to traditional versions of Korean folk songs. Treatment Group 2 (n = 22), which
was led by an instructor with expertise in Western music, listened to the same Korean
folk songs but arranged and performed with Western musical elements in a Western
style. The control group (n = 20) did not listen to any music at all. Three training ses-
sions for the instructors were held prior to the study to ensure consistency in each
session’s procedure for both treatment groups.
Over an 8-week period, both treatment groups listened to four Korean folk songs
(originally vocal pieces) for 15 min once a week. The musical excerpts chosen were
Korean folk songs frequently featured in music textbooks in Korea (see Table S1 in the
online supplemental material at http://jrme.sagepub.com/supplemental). To mediate
the effect of language barriers (Fung, 1994, 1996), four of the same pieces were played
using two versions: one with both voice and instrumental accompaniment, and a sec-
ond with instrumentals only. Both treatment groups listened to each Korean folk song
for 2 weeks using “engaged listening” experiences (Campbell, 2004). Engaged listen-
ing was adopted to allow participants to be involved actively in “the musical event in
a culturally appropriate manner” (Bartolome, 2011, p. 29). Campbell (2004) stated
that “engaged listening is the active participation by a listener in some extent of music-
making while the recorded music is sounding” (p. 91). Therefore, during engaged lis-
tening for both treatment groups, students were given background information about
the music (2 min); characteristics of musical elements and main melody line were
explained to them while the music was playing (5 min); students were asked to clap,
move, and hum along to the music (5 min); and students shared their impressions and
discussed the music (3 min).
During the treatment sessions, the folk songs were presented in an audio/video
format for both treatment groups, because audio with video stimuli has been reported

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Kang and Yoo 473

to be effective in helping students perceive information (Lochhead, 1995; Stratton &


Zalanowski, 1989). Pieces with audio/video stimuli were selected from YouTube
(Table S1, http://jrme.sagepub.com/supplemental). In most cases, the videos were
recorded both in the studio and during live performances. To ensure content validity,
16 YouTube videos were reviewed by six traditional Korean music experts who each
had played or studied traditional Korean music for more than 20 years. The six
experts were asked to determine whether the piece in each video might be considered
traditional or Westernized on a 5-point scale (1 = Westernized, 5 = traditional). An
interjudge reliability coefficient of .98 was obtained, allowing us to categorize
excerpts as either Westernized or traditional for use as stimuli in either treatment
group lessons.

Measurement Instruments
The Music Preference Record (MPR), a researcher-developed instrument, was used
for pre- and posttests (see Table S2, http://jrme.sagepub.com/supplemental). The exact
same musical excerpts were included on the pre- and posttests. The MPR consisted of
12 musical excerpts recorded on a Memorex CD-R. Four excerpts were drawn from
each of the following musical styles: current popular (a more familiar style), Western
classical (a less familiar style), and traditional Korean folk music (the least familiar
style). The four traditional Korean folk songs were the same as those used during the
treatment period to determine if the participants were able to identify them in the post-
test, in addition to evaluating participants’ preferences. Because the four Korean pieces
were used as the experimental pieces, the other eight served as critical competitors and
also determined the degree to which a traditional Korean style competed with current
popular and Western classical styles for students’ familiarity and preference (Shehan,
1984, 1985).
To establish the content validity of the MPR, the music for each of the three catego-
ries was selected in the following ways. First, the four Korean music excerpts included
in the MPR were representative Korean folk songs frequently featured in music text-
books in Korea. These four Korean music selections were the same pieces that the
traditional Korean listening group (traditional version of Korean folk songs) and the
Westernized listening group (Western arrangements of the same pieces) listened to
during the treatment period. The same six experts who judged the content validity of
the YouTube examples determined whether each audio excerpt qualified as traditional
on a 5-point scale (1 = Westernized, 5 = traditional). The interjudge reliability coeffi-
cient for the four traditional Korean excerpts from the MPR was .99, which indicated
that the judges’ ratings for the four traditional Korean excerpts (M = 4.87) were
extremely consistent.
Four popular music excerpts were selected from those ranking 50 through 100 on
Billboard charts. The reason for not including songs ranked in the top 49 was to mini-
mize the potential influence of very high levels of familiarity with the music excerpts.
These songs’ historical top rankings also were checked; all were below 25 during the
past five decades. To ensure sound quality, the four Western classical excerpts, which

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474 Journal of Research in Music Education 63(4)

reflected the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic periods, were selected from commer-
cial Western art music recordings found in the Norton Anthology of Western Music
(Burkholder & Palisca, 2009). To prevent a familiarity effect, widely popular and
familiar classical motifs were eliminated.
In order for participants to experience various types of performance media (Fung,
1996), each musical style was represented by two vocal pieces with instrumental
accompaniment and two instrumental-only pieces. Each excerpt included at least one
principal section of the piece, such as theme, verse, or another formal section (Fung,
1994, 1996). In addition, to minimize response bias arising in tempo preference,
among the four musical excerpts of each style of music (traditional Korean folk,
Western classical, and current popular), one excerpt was selected as “fast” (120–150
BPM), two excerpts as “medium” (100–120 BPM), and one excerpt as “slow” (60–80
BPM). Since short musical excerpts (about 30 s to 2 min) are commonly used in stud-
ies investigating preferences for non-Western musics (e.g., Fung, 1994, 1996; Geringer
& Madsen, 1995; Shehan, 1985), each excerpt in this study was 30 s in duration, with
a 20-s pause between excerpts.

Test Items
The 12 music excerpts (four traditional Korean, four Western classical, and four current
popular) were included in pre- and posttests. For each of the 12 excerpts, all participants
responded on a 3-point scale (1 = unfamiliar, 2 = somewhat familiar, 3 = familiar) for
familiarity and on a 7-point scale (1 = strongly dislike, 7 = strongly like) for preference.
Furthermore, participants wrote open-ended statements explaining each of their prefer-
ence choices on both pre- and posttests. Open-ended questions were administered to
elicit additional feedback and explanations regarding participants’ preferences for
Korean folk music. Participants were also asked to provide demographic data in the
pretest. After the final treatment session, participants of all three groups took a posttest
that was identical to the pretest without the demographic section.

Open-Ended Data Analysis


We analyzed the open-ended data from the posttest by categorizing the written state-
ments into five initial categories, adopted from Fung (2004) and modified through
interacting with the data (Coffey & Atkinson, 1996). Two of Fung’s categories, meta-
phorical and interest/judgmental, were replaced with cultural and preexisting prefer-
ence, respectively. Analytical was renamed structural because we classified
participants’ responses that analyzed musical structures, such as pitch, rhythm, and
timbre, into this category. Consequently, five categories were employed: structural,
affective, familiarity, cultural, and preexisting preference. We evaluated each written
statement to identify participants’ reasons, which we assigned to one or more of the
five categories in cases where we identified more than one category in a statement.
Participants’ reasons were further subdivided into either positive or negative responses
toward participants’ preferences, resulting in 10 total categories. Data consisted of the

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Kang and Yoo 475

total number of reason statements in each category. For the two judges who catego-
rized the reasons, the ratio of agreements to agreements plus disagreements was .97.

Results
Participants rated each excerpt in the MPR for familiarity on a 3-point scale and for
preference on a 7-point scale on both pre- and posttests. Because there were four
excerpts for each style (traditional Korean, Western classical, and current popular) in
the pre- and posttests, familiarity scores ranged from 3 to 12, and preference scores
ranged from 7 to 28. Participants who rated high familiarity for the Korean pieces in
the pretest were removed from the data set (outers, M = 7.50; entire, M = 4.52). This
resulted in a final participant pool of 60 participants out of the total 62 who had partici-
pated in this study.
The data were analyzed using SPSS Standard Version 22.0 software. Preliminary
analyses examined whether the treatment and the control groups were equivalent in
familiarity and preference pretests. A multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA)
indicated that familiarity and preference on the pretest did not differ significantly
among the treatment and control groups, Pillai’s trace = .115, F(4, 114) = 1.745, p > .05.

Research Question 1: Is there a difference in students’ familiarity with and prefer-


ence toward traditional versions of Korean folk songs from pre- and posttests
among the three groups?

We computed one mixed-design MANOVA with one between-subjects variable


(group) and one within-subjects variable (test). The dependent variables were famil-
iarity with and preference toward traditional Korean style. Relationship strength was
determined using partial eta squared (η2), and an alpha level of .05 was set. Results of
the mixed-design MANOVA revealed that there was a significant two-way interaction
for Group × Test (pre- to posttests), Pillai’s trace = .844, F(4, 114.0) = 20.79, p < .001,
η2 = .422 . Follow-up univariate F tests revealed statistically significant findings for
familiarity, F(2, 57) = 109.48, p < .001, η2 = .79; and preference, F(2, 57) = 11.67, p <
.001, η2 = .29.
As a follow-up to the mixed-design MANOVA, we conducted a simple contrast
that compared all three groups with one another (two treatment groups and a control
group). Results are shown in Table 1. There were significant differences between
groups’ familiarity scores for traditional versions of Korean folk songs: between the
traditional Korean listening group and the Westernized listening group, between the
traditional Korean listening group and the control group, and between the Westernized
listening group and the control group (p < .001 throughout). Preference scores for
traditional versions of Korean folk songs were significantly different between the tra-
ditional Korean listening group and the Westernized listening group and between the
traditional Korean listening group and the control group (p < .05 for both). However,
there was no difference between the Westernized listening group and the control group
(p > .05) (see Table 1).

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476 Journal of Research in Music Education 63(4)

Table 1.  Contrast Result for Familiarity and Preference Between Groups (N = 60).

Group SE p
Familiarity  
  Traditional Korean vs. Westernized 0.300 .000*
  Traditional Korean vs. Control 0.306 .000*
  Westernized vs. Control 0.291 .000*
Preference  
  Traditional Korean vs. Westernized 1.085 .016*
  Traditional Korean vs. Control 1.109 .011*
  Westernized vs. Control 1.054 .822

*p < .05.

Means and standard deviations of the familiarity and preference pre- and posttest
scores for the three styles (traditional Korean, Western classical, and current popular
styles), separated by the treatment groups (traditional Korean listening, Westernized lis-
tening, and no listening), are graphically represented in Figures 1 and 2. As shown in
Figure 1, in terms of participant familiarity, the pretest means of the current popular style
were the highest, the Western classical style ranked second, and the traditional Korean
style was the lowest. For the traditional Korean listening group, the familiarity scores for
the traditional Korean style increased the most compared to both the Western classical
(less familiar) and the current popular styles (more familiar). In terms of participants’
preference, as shown in Figure 2, at pretest across all treatment groups, the current popu-
lar style was the most preferred style, while the traditional Korean style was the least
preferred. However, for the traditional Korean listening group, the preference scores for
the traditional Korean style increased up to almost the same level as the scores for the
Western classical style (traditional Korean, M = 15.72; Western classical, M = 15.56).

Research Question 2: Is there any relationship between students’ familiarity with


and preference for traditional versions of Korean folk songs?

We calculated a Pearson’s product-moment correlation coefficient between partici-


pants’ reported familiarity and preference from the posttest. A moderate, positive, and
significant correlation (r = .51, p = .001) was found between the two variables, indicat-
ing that the higher the familiarity score, the higher the preference score tended to be.
A quarter (25%) of the variance is shared between familiarity with and preference for
the Korean folk song excerpts.

Research Question 3: Is there any association between students’ open-ended rea-


sons for preference decisions and their prior treatment experiences (listening to
Korean folk songs either in traditional versions or in Westernized versions)?

From the open-ended responses in the posttests of both treatment groups, a total of 222
reasons were evaluated and categorized to examine how participants’ different listening

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Kang and Yoo 477

Figure 1.  Estimated marginal means of familiarity.

experiences from the treatment influenced their preference ratings. Examples of partici-
pants’ reasons are presented with an explanation of each category below. Results were
analyzed by category frequency (see Figure S1, http://jrme.sagepub.com/supplemental).

1. Structural response: included reasons referring to specific musical elements of


a piece.
1.1  Structural response–positive: “I like the beats.”
1.2  Structural response–negative: “The harsh tones aren’t calming.”
2. Affective response: referred to reasons in terms of emotion.
2.1  Affective response–positive: “This song is very enjoyable.”
2.2 Affective response–negative: “It sounds creepy to me.”
3. Familiarity: indicated previous exposure, particularly from the listening ses-
sions during the treatment.
3.1 Familiarity–positive: “I listened to this music in the class and I have
become familiar with it and enjoy it.”
3.2 Familiarity–negative: “Never heard it before, so I am not a huge fan of
listening to it now.”
4. Cultural context: reflected reactions in terms of cultural value or judgment.
4.1 Cultural context–positive: “Interesting and enjoyable culturally.”
4.2  Cultural context–negative: “I’m not a huge fan of world music.”
5. Preexisting preference: referred to the reaction to a piece, changes in musical
taste as a result of the treatment.
5.1 Preexisting preference–positive: “It is very fun to sing and I find myself
singing it outside of class.”
5.2  Preexisting preference–negative: “I wouldn’t choose to listen to it daily.”

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478 Journal of Research in Music Education 63(4)

Figure 2.  Estimated marginal means of preference.

Because two reasons could not be classified into one of these 10 categories, they were
excluded from the analysis. Among these 10 categories, no answer fell into cultural
context–negative; therefore, 220 reasons were sorted into nine categories.
We computed a Pearson’s chi-square test to analyze the categorized reasons. There
was a significant association between participants’ treatment group (exposed to either
traditional or Westernized Korean folk songs) and stated reasons for preferences
toward traditional Korean folk songs, χ2(7) = 59.150, p < .001. To investigate the rea-
sons that contributed to the association, we computed the standardized residual of each
value. The standardized residual analysis indicated that the standardized residuals of
affective–positive were significant for both groups (traditional, z  = 2.3; Westernized,
z = −2.8; both traditional and Westernized, z > 1.96). In the traditional Korean listening
group, there were significantly more affective–positive reasons (28.1%) than the
expected value, and in the Westernized listening group, there were significantly fewer
affective–positive reasons (6.5%). The standardized residuals of structural–negative
were significant for both groups (traditional, z = −3.9; Westernized, z = 4.6; both tra-
ditional and Westernized, z > 1.96). In the Westernized listening group, there were
significantly more structural–negative reasons (47.8%) than the expected value, and in
the traditional Korean listening group, there were significantly fewer structural–nega-
tive reasons (7.0%) (see Figure S1, http://jrme.sagepub.com/supplemental).

Discussion
In this study, we addressed the question of whether collegiate students who had lis-
tened to four Westernized Korean folk songs during an 8-week listening intervention
would demonstrate increased familiarity with, and preference for, these Korean folk

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Kang and Yoo 479

songs in their traditional version. Furthermore, through this specific experimental set-
ting, we attempted to determine the relationship between students’ familiarity and
preference responses.
Participants who listened to the Westernized Korean pieces demonstrated increased
familiarity ratings toward the traditional versions, possibly due to melodic similarities,
regardless of the difference in musical styles. This result indicates that the Westernized
listening experience may promote better memory for unfamiliar music, which can be
interpreted as a positive effect. Based on this result, we conclude that exposing stu-
dents to Westernized arrangements can, at the very least, help them develop melodic
familiarity with non-Western music.
However, listening to the Westernized Korean music selections did not result in
increased preference toward the traditional versions. Analysis of participants’
responses to the open-ended questions from the posttest indicated that structural
response–negative comments were most commonly given (47.8%) (Table S1, http://
jrme.sagepub.com/supplemental) as an explanation for preference ratings:

•• “It sounds like the yelling instead of singing. Gives me a headache because I’m
sensitive to loud sounds.”
•• “The nasal sound and sour timbre isn’t something I am used to.”
•• “I don’t like the strings in this piece. They don’t seem to flow together and are
sharp sounding.”
•• “Too choppy and nasal sounding.”

Seventy-seven percent of the Westernized listening group participants com-


plained about the musical style, particularly timbre. Perhaps reflecting the higher
familiarity scores, some of the participants seemed to expect “familiar” musical
characteristics—that is, Western musical styles to which they have been exposed
and reinforced via Westernized arrangements—even when listening to traditional
versions of Korean folk songs. One of the participants regarded the traditional ver-
sion as an arranged version: “I like the song ‘Doraji,’ but is not my favorite arrange-
ment.” One of the most important purposes of teaching world musics is to increase
acceptance toward different cultures and to enrich musical experiences (Campbell,
2004; Elliott, 1989; Fung, 1995a; Lundquist, 2002; Nethsinghe, 2012). Introducing
Westernized adaptations in the classroom without appropriate guidelines, however,
may conflict with this goal because it may accelerate worldwide musical homogeni-
zation and promote a conformity of musical taste that may threaten musical identity
(McCarthy, 1997).
Thus, music teachers may confront the question of whether they should remove
Westernized arrangements in teaching world musics because of possible negative influ-
ence. Westernized adaptations are sociocultural phenomena reflecting music’s inherent
fluidity, and multiple new forms of music have arisen over the course of time, including
folk song–based choral or orchestral music (Wambugu, 2012). However, when an
arrangement is adopted for a class, an educator may wish to consider whether it aligns
with a learning objective for each lesson. If an objective is to introduce an unfamiliar

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480 Journal of Research in Music Education 63(4)

musical style to students or foster openness and tolerance toward it, then the use of an
arranged version might not be the most appropriate choice. When an educator intro-
duces a form of arranged music, it is important to provide an original version for stu-
dents, as well, to trace what has been changed and how the meaning may have been
altered in the process of musical transformation (Palmer, 1992; Szego, 2005).
In a series of studies examining collegiate students’ music preferences for world
musics (Fung, 1992, 1994, 1996), Korean music was reported as least preferred
because participants perceived this style to be the most dissimilar from Western styles.
In contrast, Mexican music was the most preferred, perhaps due to its similarity to
Western music styles. Similarly, in the present study, participants in the Westernized
listening group complained about the musical style when listening to the traditional
version of the Korean folk songs. However, the traditional Korean listening group
increased both music familiarity with and preference for the traditional version through
the 8-week listening session. The traditional listening group’s preference ratings for
specific traditional Korean folk songs increased remarkably to almost the same level
of preference expressed for a less familiar Western classical style (Figure 2). This
result implies that no matter how unfamiliar a musical style might be, students can
develop positive attitudes toward unfamiliar music if they are provided appropriate
guidelines. For both treatment groups, we adopted a method of “engaged listening”
(Campbell, 2004, p. 91), which promoted listeners’ active participation while the
recorded music was playing. Participants in both groups were given background infor-
mation of the music, they were guided to perceive the characteristics of musical ele-
ments and the main melody line, and they were encouraged to sing the song while
clapping and moving to the music. This experience appeared to help them navigate the
unfamiliarity of the traditional Korean recordings. Among the 124 open-ended reasons
from the traditional group, the proportion of affective–positive responses was signifi-
cantly higher (28.1%) than expected:

•• “I have never heard this before but now I think it is interesting.”


•• “It is something I wouldn’t mind listening to now.”
•• “It is different, but interesting at the same time which I enjoy”
•• “Not similar to music I encounter daily; different culture; Korean folk song, but
I could like it.”

One interesting point of the overall results is the moderate correlation (r = .51)
between music familiarity and preference, which is probably due to individual-spe-
cific responses from both treatment groups. Although the Westernized listening group
demonstrated increased music familiarity but not preference, there were individuals
who expressed favorable attitudes toward the traditional Korean music style:

•• “It has a strong beat and the instruments sound cool and have a range of pitches.”
•• “I think it sounds interesting—the beat is interesting.”
•• “It’s cool and I enjoy different cultural piece. I also like it because I know the
words.”

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Kang and Yoo 481

Among the traditional Korean listening group, 22.2% of the participants did not
show increased preference, though overall high preference ratings may suggest a ceil-
ing effect, thus resulting in a potentially weaker correlation between familiarity and
preference than may have actually existed. Broadly speaking, participant responses
fell into two camps in the two treatment groups: those who willingly accepted the new
and unfamiliar, and those who were resistant to change their original preferences. The
latter did not raise their preference ratings despite reporting that the music had become
familiar:

•• “As much as I enjoyed learning about a new type of music. It did not change my
likes/dislikes.”
•• “I like the uniqueness of the piece but would not ‘jam’ out to it in the car.”
•• “I wouldn’t listen to this in daily life nor even studying b/c I don’t enjoy the
instruments.”

Despite having the same musical experiences as their classmates in the traditional
listening group during the 8 weeks, some participants’ responses appeared to vary
depending on the strength of individual preexisting music preferences. Responses
from those who demonstrated a high preference toward the unfamiliar music style
from the traditional group are shown below:

•• “It is very catchy and fun to sing to. I find myself singing it outside of class.”
•• “My favorite song from lab!!! [I] don’t know why [I] like it so much.”

The results of the present study have a strong association with those of Demorest
and Schultz (2004) in that both compared traditional to arranged versions of world
musics. The distinction between the two lies in the participants’ ages and the absence
of a treatment intervention in the earlier study. Demorest and Schultz reported a higher
correlation coefficient between familiarity and preference (r = .92) compared to the
more moderate correlation found in the current study (r = .51). We interpret this dis-
parity in two ways. First, the Westernized listening group listened to Western arrange-
ments of the specific Korean folk songs and assessed their familiarity with and
preference for the same Korean folk songs using the traditional versions. The musical
excerpts from the pre- and posttests were different in terms of musical style from those
heard during the 8-week intervention. In other words, stimuli might have been familiar
to participants in the Westernized listening group in terms of melody but unfamiliar in
terms of style. This tension between the respondent familiarity with the melody and
unfamiliarity with the traditional musical style may have resulted in the weaker rela-
tionship between familiarity and preference compared to that reported by Demorest
and Schultz.
Second, the intervention also may have influenced the relationship between music
familiarity and preference among the traditional Korean listening group. For some
participants in this group, the reinforcement of the unfamiliar Korean music over the
8-week intervention seemed to increase their favorability, but for others,

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482 Journal of Research in Music Education 63(4)

the reinforcement seemed to have increased hostility. This may have resulted from
individual differences in altering preference for the traditional version during the lis-
tening intervention. Considering the collective findings of the current study and that of
Demorest and Schultz (2004), we conclude that (a) although students generally prefer
Westernized versions of world musics over traditional versions, students may demon-
strate positive affective responses toward traditional versions given particular instruc-
tional approaches; and (b) musical exposure that is limited to arranged versions may
fail to influence students’ music preference for the traditional versions.
The relationship of this result to Shehan’s (1985) finding that increased preference
was limited to those pieces taught should not be overlooked. Although both studies
employed instructional interventions, Shehan tested whether participants’ preferences
for taught pieces were transferable to untaught pieces of world musics, while we tested
whether participants’ Westernized listening experiences (versus traditional listening
experiences) would lead to increased music familiarity with and preference for tradi-
tional versions used during the intervention. In the current study, the results of the
traditional listening group are consistent with the findings of Shehan; the participants
demonstrated increases in both familiarity with and preference toward the pieces to
which they had listened. In contrast, there was no increase (transfer) in the preference
for the same pieces of the traditional musical style when the intervention featured a
Westernized version of the style.

Implications for Music Education


Some practical implications can be drawn from the results of this study. In light of
globalizing music trends, we are surrounded by multiple hybrid versions of musical
genres. Music educators should be aware of the positive and negative consequences of
these trends when considering arranged versions for pedagogical use. Recalling
Elliott’s (1989) claim that “music is a major means of distinguishing, identifying, and
expressing differences” (p.12), music teachers ought to convey a variety of musical
styles originating from different cultures. In this study, participants who listened to the
traditional Korean versions significantly improved their familiarity with and prefer-
ence for traditional versions of specific Korean folk songs. A considered and critical
use of both traditional and arranged versions of world music pieces may enable teach-
ers to address not only students’ music familiarity but also their preferences. With
consideration on the part of the teacher, students can meet their cognitive and affective
learning expectations and can enjoy a more enriched music classroom experience.

Limitations and Future Research Directions


There are a few limitations to note in the present study. First, because we tested four
specific Korean folk songs, the results of this study are limited to the particular songs
included in the experiment. It therefore remains to determine whether the results of the
current study can be replicated with other folk songs, both Korean and otherwise.
Second, the sample of the present study was unbalanced in terms of gender and ethnicity.

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Kang and Yoo 483

Since music preference research has reported gender and ethnicity associations (Abril &
Flowers, 2007; Millar, 2008; Morrison, 1998; O’Neill & Boultona, 1996), we acknowl-
edge that a gender or ethnicity bias may be present in the results of the current study, and
replications of the present study should include a larger and more balanced sample.
Third, because the two listening groups (traditional and Westernized) were led by differ-
ent instructors, it is unclear the extent to which personal qualities of each instructor,
beyond their shared listening procedures, affected the students.
The effects of Westernized arrangements on learners’ apprehensions about and
appreciation for the traditional music styles require further investigation. We exam-
ined the effects of listening, but many students in the United States engage with Korean
folk songs through performance, specifically in arranged band or orchestra pieces.
This varied musical activity using Westernized arrangements can be investigated in
further studies.
Furthermore, we reported no increase in the preference for traditional versions
through Westernized listening. Any possible ways to use a student’s preference for
arranged versions as a way to engage him or her with traditional versions can be pur-
sued because, frankly, American students are more exposed to arranged versions of
world musics. If music teachers adopt Szego’s (2005) advice about playing recordings
of traditional versions of world musics, students may come to broaden their musical
preferences. More research is needed to understand this process.
In addition, other variables that determine music preference can also be examined.
From the open-ended responses, we found that the strength of participants’ preexisting
music preferences could have been a variable, one that was possibly dependent on age
(Gembris, 2002), differences in individual personality (Berlyne, 1971; Fung, 1995b;
Gembris, 2002; Lamont & Greasley, 2012) or openness to unfamiliar experiences
(Kopiez & Lehmann, 2008). Previous studies identified a critical time window of
“open-earedness” during childhood; in general, the music preferences of children 10
years old or younger are more malleable than those of teenagers (Gembris, 2002, p.
496). The existence of such a critical time window highlights the importance of early
childhood world music education because children are at a developmentally appropri-
ate stage to accept unfamiliar music forms without preconceptions. Thus, future world
music preference research could include various developmental stages of the partici-
pants and related variables that were not examined in this study.
Finally, other world music genres should be considered for future study. The Korean
folk music that we investigated would be one of the most unfamiliar styles to Western
listeners because of its different musical characteristics. Fung (1996) reported that col-
legiate students preferred Latin music the most due to its similarity to Western music,
followed by African and Asian music. Therefore, Westernized arrangements of Latin
American and African music might differently influence students’ familiarity with and
preferences for traditional versions of those styles compared to Westernized arrange-
ments of Korean folk music. Beyond Fung’s scope of three continents and nine coun-
tries, other musics (for example, from the Middle East or Eastern Europe) can be also
examined according to an analogous framework.

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484 Journal of Research in Music Education 63(4)

Declaration of Conflicting Interests


The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship,
and/or publication of this article.

Funding
The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of
this article.

Supplemental Material
The online supplemental material is available at http://jrme.sagepub.com/supplemental.

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Author Biographies
Sangmi Kang is a doctoral candidate in music education at the University of Florida. Her
research interests include affective responses to music, multicultural approaches to music edu-
cation, and teaching music through digital technology.
Hyesoo Yoo is an adjunct assistant professor of music education at the University of Florida.
Her research interests include creativity in learning and teaching, multicultural issues, and inno-
vative use of technology in general and choral classrooms in both K–12 and higher education.
Submitted September 10, 2014; accepted June 25, 2015.

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