The first SamulNori quartet, and other samulnori practitioners, teachers, students and commentators all refer to music, dance, and elements of structure that their genre has inherited from two core antecedents, local percussion bands (nongak, p’ungmul) and itinerant troupes (namsadang and other terms). Local bands and itinerant troupes stretch back into an ever distant and increasingly different past.1 The past and its musical practices, in respect of which time melts into an amorphous concept of ‘tradition’, contrasts with the last 60 years, during which Korea has institutionalised music training and iconised folk2 music alongside a national drive for modernisation and development. The resultant contested history makes any single picture of the past, as well as its legacy in the present, inherently problematic.