YoungEun Kim
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Ear Training
2022
Single-channel video, stereo & binaural sound
15 min

Ear training is having people listen to sounds played on a piano and identifying the pitch. Such exercises seek to develop accurate perceptions of pitch, one of the most important elements in Western music. Part of Western musical education, this training was distorted in wartime Japan into a military exercise to build soldiers’ listening abilities. It also led to the establishment of the pitch division in the Joseon Music Contest at the request of the Japanese Navy. Ear Training (2022) reconstructs the ear training that drills used in Japan’s classrooms and among its armed forces during World War II.

The artist’s reenactment of this training is based on scores written by students and unit members who actually took part in such exercises, interview materials, audio recordings, and works of researchers studying the era. The video recreates a collection of enemy aircraft sounds jointly produced by the Japanese Army Air Defense School and Nitchiku Industrial Company. It also reconstructs the underwater warship sounds analyzed by the Japanese Navy along with other sounds through a narrator's first-person experience who takes part in such training. Through this reenactment, the artist summons forth a strange auditory event that had been lost to history.




#1-2 Installation View at SONGEUN, Seoul (Photo by Jihyun Jung)
#3-5 Still cut














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