Subject Area

Music, Religion, Theology/Religious Education


The political situation on the Korean Peninsula appears to be more hopeful now than for several decades, calling for a new strategy for reunification. Through music, people in the two Koreas can reclaim one ethnicity and the spirit of a unified nation. This thesis explores the possibility of achieving a unified ethnic identity through church music and poses a role for church music in overcoming the musical, cultural, and ecclesial divisions between South and North Korea. I examine the Korean National Music Theory (KNMT) of composer and church musician Lee Geon Yong as a musical and philosophical construct for analyzing the history, social culture, theology, and the implications of establishing a unified ethnic identity for South and North Korea. After comparing the political identities, artistic cultures, and musical characteristics of the two Koreas, I provide a brief history of the two Korean churches since their division. This research provides directions for a Koreanized church music to overcome musical heterogeneity of two Koreas. Based on this, I suggest the potential musical and theological characteristics of reunification hymnal and offer implications of Lee Geon Yong’s work for the reunification of church music for the North and South Korea.

Degree Date

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name



Pastoral Music


C. Michael Hawn

Second Advisor

Christopher S. Anderson


Korean National Music Theory, Reunification, Koreanized Church Music, Reunification Hymnal

Number of Pages




Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License