The taegum, associated with a myth from ancient times, has played a significant role in Korean culture and society. The instrument is closely associated with its mythical provenance, which results in rich inspiration for its music practices and repertoires. The chronicles of history and the performance practices of court and folk music repertoires shed light on the genesis of the taegum. An individual performer hired by the royal court would primarily serve to reinforce social rituals. Professional musicians playing the folk music then began to emerge in the 19th century. The Japanese occupation of Korea overwhelmed the cultural scene, reducing Korean traditional music and the taegum from the status of an embodiment of Korean history to the remnant of the colony’s heritage. To differing degrees, this involved the integration of Eastern and Western technical components, composition techniques and stylistic combinations chosen from different genres, including ritualised performance settings.