Dr Simon Mills
Simon Mills is an ethnomusicologist specialising in Korean music, music’s roles in ritual and healing contexts, systems of musical representation (terminology and notation systems), musical analysis (especially of rhythm), performance theory, and musical instruments and their classification. His main area of expertise is Korean shaman music, which he has researched extensively in the field, working with both charismatic and non-charismatic ritualists. His PhD research, based at the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London), focused on the ritual percussion music of South Korea’s East Coast hereditary shamans, and this is also the topic of his recent book Healing Rhythms (Ashgate 2007).
Other publications by Dr. Mills include an edited volume, Analysing East Asian Music: Patterns of Rhythm and Melody (Semar 2010) and two articles on Korean ritual music: “Tokkaekki Changdan: A Musical Goblin in shaman music?” (Minsokwŏn 2008) and “Playful Patterns of Freedom” (Semar 2009). Dr. Mills has also published within the field of music education for the Journal Classroom Music (2005) and has worked as editor for Musical Terms Worldwide by Jan Laurens Hartong (Semar 2006). In addition, working as a musical transcriber and analyst, he has provided material for ‘Ritual, Music and Life in Tamu Shamanism’ (working with Keith Howard and Yarjung Krōmchaī Tamu, Semar 2006) and for an interactive DVD about Nigerian ritual dance, Batabade: A Codification of Bata (SOASIS 2007). He is an active member within the Society for Ethnomusicology, Asia Pacific Society of Ethnomusicology, and the British Forum for Ethnomusicology, regularly presenting papers at their conferences. Since June 2010, he has been working with Dr. Sunghee Park on a project studying the musical life on the remote Korean island of Ulleungdo, funded by the AKS (Academy of Korean Studies).
As a keen adherent of the ‘bi-musicality’ approach to ethnomusicology – acquiring knowledge of another’s music through practical learning – Dr. Mills has devoted much time to learning, teaching, and performing Korean music, in particular the hourglass drum (changgo), hand gong (kkwaenggwari), and end-blown bamboo flute (tanso), He has performed lecture-demonstrations in a variety of venues around the UK, in Holland, and Korea. He is a keen member of the Durham Gamelan Group, which has recently performed in the Sage (Gateshead), Carlisle Cathedral, and many other venues.
- Korean traditional music (especially shaman ritual music)
- Musical instruments
- Shamanism and music's role in healing practices
- Systems of musical representation (terminology and notation)
- Transcription and analysis
- Mills, Simon R S (2007). Healing Rhythms: the World of Korea's East Coast Hereditary Shamans (including CD). London: Ashgate.
- (2010). Analysing East Asian Music, Musike vol. II. The Hague: Semar.
- (2006). Musical Terms Worldwide. The Hage: Semar.
Essays in edited volumes
- Mills, Simon RS (2008). 'Tokkaekki Changdan: a musical goblin in east coast shaman ritual?'. In Mandan Yi Hyegu Paksa Paeksu Kinyom Nonmunjip. Seoul: Minsokwon.
Edited works: journals
- Mills, Simon RS (2012). Music and Death. Mortality, London: Routledge.
Journal papers: academic
- Mills, Simon RS. (2012). Sounds to Soothe the Soul: Music and Bereavement in a Traditional Korean Death Ritual.
- Mills, Simon RS (2010). 'Playful Patterns of Freedom: Hand Gong Performance in Korean Shaman Ritual'. Musiké International journal of ethnomusicological studies 4(II): 145-170.
- Mills, Simon RS (2010). The Tale of the Three Young Brothers: an Analytical Study of Music and Communal Joy (hŭng) in Korean Folk Culture. Music Analysis: Special Issue on Music and Emotion 29(1-3): 276-305.
Journal papers: online
- Mills, Simon RS & Park, Sung-Hee (2012). A Mysterious Island in the Digital Age: Technology and Musical Life in Ulleungdo, South Korea. Ethnomusicology Forum iFirst article: 1-28.