Varied ways of forming lines of movement which make up the choreographed sequences that the percussionists in nongak (farmers’ community music, dance and rites) follow throughout a performance.
The most basic jinpuri (file formation) of nongak is the circular formation in which performers move in a circle counterclockwise. Generally, jinpuri begins with a circle and is followed by various other formations, and finally ends in a circle again. The circle dance is a typical dance format originating from ancient civilizations, and is performed by all peoples that perform group dances. As a representative group dance form, the circle dance has various functions such as the performance of rites, treating diseases, socialization of adults, and serving religious or spiritual subjects. A circle dance is hence closely related to ritual.
As pangut (entertainment-oriented performance combining music, dance, and acrobatics), the quintessence of nongak, begins and ends with jinpuri, a variety of formations are presented during the performance. These jinpuri variations are named according to format, role and function, direction, and number. Jinpuri named based on format include the circular formation, eul (乙)-shaped formation, ji (之)-shaped formation, banguljin (moving inward and then outward in a spiral formation), taegeukjin (yin yang symbol-shaped formation), il (一)- shaped formation, i (二)-shaped formation, pal (八)- shaped formation, sip (十)-shaped formation, jeong (丁)-shaped formation, S-shaped formation, H-shaped formation, extended snake-shaped formation, star-shaped formation, crane wing-shaped formation, semicircular formation, snail-shaped formation, and vortex-shaped formation. Jinpuri whose names are based on role and function include darachigi (moving backward), gasaechigi (moving in an X shape), jwauchigi (moving in a circle, pausing for a while, moving three steps to the left and then to the right, forward and backward.), gallachigi (formation in which performers separate to the left and right), mijigi (performers moving back and forth in two rows), and kkeokkeumjin (prelude to munjin). Jinpuri named after direction include ibangjin (Kor. 이방진, Chin. 二方陣) (moving in two directions), sambangjin (Kor. 삼방진, Chin. 三方陣) (moving in three directions), sabangjin (Kor. 사방진, Chin. 四方陣) (moving in four directions), and obangjin (Kor. 오방진, Chin. 五方陣) (moving in five directions). Jinpuri with a number at the front include ssangbanguljin (two sets of snail-shaped formations), ssangjinpuri (two sets of extended snake-shaped formations), ssangjulbaegi (performers in two rows, standing up and down alternately), satongbaegi (circular file in four directions), iyeoljongdae (two rows), hoengdae (single row), sayeoljongdae (four rows).
The shapes of the lines created during a jinpuri session are the result of percussionists’ repeatedly moving into and moving out of different formations. Although jinpuri is generally led by sangsoe (lead small gong player), busoe (second small gong player), sujing (lead gong player) subuk (lead drum player), sujanggu (lead janggu [hourglass-shaped drum] player), subeokku (lead small drum player), and susangmo (first sogo [small drum with handle] player), each percussionist sometimes takes the lead in the formations. The jinpuri session is composed of two parts: one is forming and dissolving formations and the other is opening and closing formations. Jinpuri can also be classified into four types according to the main-agent of the performance: sangsoe-led format, sangsoe-busoeled format, suchibae-led format (lead musician for each instrument who stands at the front of the group), and chibae-led format. In the sangsoeled format, the lead small gong player generally takes the lead in creating different formations, including the circular formation, eul (乙)- shaped formation, semicircular formation, pal (八)-shaped formation, yin-yang symbol-shaped formation, drop-shaped formation, darachigi, obangjin, snail-shaped formation, extended snake-shaped formation, and il (一)-shaped formation. Sangsoe-led jinpuri are often featured in individual play, street nongak performances, when one formation is combined with another, when performers gather in one spot, or when a formation is created in each of the four directions.
The sangsoe-busoe-led format is employed in confrontational jinpuri such as i (二)-shaped formation, ssangjubaegi, mijigi, ssangjinpuri, battle formation, gallachigi, modumjin (performers gathered in one spot) and munjin (performers moving forward in two rows). In such jinpuri the lead small gong-player and second small gong-player share the leading role. The sangsoe-busoe-directed format has a dual quality, resulting in jinpuri capable of expressing tranquility and calm as well as tension and intensity at the same time. This type of jinpuri features many simple straight lines, circular lines, curved lines, and spiral lines. More specifically, i (二)-shaped formations, mijigi, and munjin are straight-line formations; ssangbanguljin, circular formation, ssangjulbaegi, gallachigi, and modumjin are formations composed of a mixture of straight and curved lines; ssangjinpuri is a spiral formation; and battle formation combines curved lines and spirals. The sangsoe-busoe-led format is generally used for pangut when formations are divided or combined or to express an air of confrontation or showdown.
In the suchibae-led format, the lead small gong player, lead drum player, lead hourglass-shaped drum player, and lead small drum player direct the other percussionists in the performance of jinpuri. Relatively small in scale, it is typically used to create dispersive formations and allows each musical instrument to play an independent role. It is a format that makes it easy to perform jinpuri in which different formations are created simultaneously or diverse forms of entertainment are presented using each musical instrument. This type of format is often seen in direction- oriented formations and in games led by each individual musical instrument. Sambanjin, sabangjin, satongbaegi, samjungwonjin (threefold circular formation), sajungwonjin (four-fold circular formation), spiral formation, sip (十)-shaped formation, and play involving each individual instrument belong to this category. The suchibae-led format is often used to mark the directions in pangut.
In chibae-led format, the chibae (percussionists) play their assigned roles in performing jinpuri. The process of making and dissolving the formations is complicated and delicate and has a high level of artistry. Such chibae-led formations are the type of jinpuri that are performed for the sake of jinpuri itself with greater emphasis placed on sophistication than on functionality. They are generally used to add a touch of splendor and variety to pangut.
Nongak pangut is the assemblage of jinpuri, in which various set formations are created. Jinpuri is an integral part of pangut along with music, dance, and sangmonori (hat-streamer twirling performance). Jinpuri sometimes serves an auxiliary role to pannoreum (folk entertainment) or constitutes a procedural rite of pangut. In addition, jinpuri goes back and forth between playing the primary role and the supporting role, giving tension to and easing tension in the performance. In modern nongak, jinpuri is performed under stronger space and time constraints. On the other hand, in traditional nongak, it is presented in simple form in a more leisurely atmosphere.
Unlike traditional nongak, modern nongak pangut is focused on a complex range of formations and showy presentation and hence heavily dependent on jinpuri. Like obangjingut, satongbaegi, and jinpuri gut, there are many cases in which the names of jinpuri constitute the names of procedural rites. Jinpuri serves as a device to draw a line separating the percussionists from the audience and enhance the expertise of traditional Korean rural community music, dance and rites. Through intense training and constant communication among the percussionists, jinpuri serves to elevate the artistry of nongak.