Jongmyo Jeryeak refers to music played using dance, songs, and musical instruments when performing ancestral rites (Jongmyo Jerye) at a shrine (Jongmyo) that honors kings and queens of the Joseon Dynasty.
In each procedure of the Jongmyo rite, a song called Jongmyo movement is sung to praise the virtues of ancestors, focusing on the music of Bo Tae-pyeong and Jeong Dae-up. While the Jongmyo Jeryeak is played, it is accompanied by a literary figure, Bo Taepyeongjimu (honor of the kings' virtues) and a martial artist, Jeong Dae-upjimu (praise of the kings' exploits).
Jongmyo Jeryeak was originally created for use in the royal banquet in 1447 (the 29th year of King Sejong's reign), and has been handed down to this day after being repaired in accordance with the 10th year of King Sejong's reign (1464). Eleven songs by Bo Tae-pyeong and 11 by Jung Dae-up are played at the Jongmyo Daeje, which is held on the first Sunday of May every year.
Jongmyo Jeryeak is the essence of court music, which combines instrumental performances, songs and dances of the Joseon Dynasty, and has a unique style and beauty that can not be seen in other countries while well showing our cultural traditions and characteristics.
The National Intangible Cultural Property No. 1 Jongmyo Jeryeak is currently listed as a representative UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.