K-Drama OSTs : Who’s the Composer?!!!

by: Raine

I really like K-dramas and I really like music. I watch/read about/write about K-dramas every day. I play/teach/practice music every day. So when there is a kick-ass K-drama with a rockin’ OST, I can have my cake and eat it too.

Now, as a university-trained musician and a self-admitted music snob, there are a few things that I require out of an OST. I require a score and songs that actually reflect MUSICALLY what the drama is trying to bring across visually, emotionally, development-wise, etc. It can’t just be a song I like. It has to actually be functional.

So I ask myself, did the composer of the score actually understand what he was writing background music for? Did the music producer (or just the producer) realize that “Goodbye, My Princess” was NOT the right choice for any drama…ever. (Oh Jun-sung, what were you thinking?) In songs, does the music actually follow the lyric or does it wander and do its own damn thing and completely counteract the message of the lyric?

I also like when scores are well executed. I don’t want to hear a soprano miss her high note or strings be out of time. I don’t want to hear bad mixing on a music engineer’s part or bad part-writing by the orchestrator. I don’t want to hear white noise. I don’t want to hear a wooden/acoustic cello sound like a synthesizer. Seriously, if you’re going to have a cello solo, bring out the ACTUAL sound of the instrument and not have shitty microphones making a perfectly wonderful cellist sound like he’s playing a tin can. RAWR!

(Poor, sad little cello. He’s getting a hug because he NEEDS one.)

All of this is great for me to bitch about, because I do it anyway. But what REALLY drives me INSANE is when I find an OST I actually (mostly) like, I can find all the pop singer/band names without blinking twice. When I search for the score composer or the conductor or the orchestra or the orchestrator or the arranger or the instrumentalists who played the solos for Jang Geun-suk and Lee Jia in Beethoven Virus, I get NOTHING. ZERO. ZIP. ZILCH. NADA, NIENTE. RIEN.

You have no idea how many times I’ve read comments that say, “I love that song where the voices sing ‘ah, ah, ah,’ where can I find the song?” “I love Destino.” “I love the piano song.” They don’t CARE who played that piece of music they so dearly love or who composed it. Well, they do care if its SSN1 or Superjunior or Wonder Girls. The actual score not comprised of pop singers/tunes is said to be composed/performed by ‘various artists’. I want to know who sat down and penned the amazing music that we get to listen to, not be told that the poor musicians get lumped under an umbrella term. Various artists is a nasty, nasty cuss word. Various artists. *shudder*

K-films are better about this. I’ve actually found a few composers. But I haven’t found one SCORE composer as of yet for K-dramas. I admit, although I can read Korean script, I have no idea what it means so I’m lost in searching better sources for the composer. HOWEVER, I have bought a few soundtracks and they DON’T LIST COMPOSERS.


I suppose at this point I should define what I mean by score. The score is the part of a soundtrack that is mostly instrumental. It’s the incidental music of the drama. It provides emotional stimulus. It’s the stuff that gets the adrenaline pumping without you noticing it. Its NOT the pop songs with lyrics and famous people singing them. Those songs actually have names you can look up in order to hear other songs that the musician has come out with.

Here’s a comparison: John Williams. Everyone knows who he is. He writes some amazing music and people can look him up, check out all of his tunes and call it a happy end to a day. Harry Potter? Accio! Memoirs of a Geisha? Hai! E.T.? Phone home, baby.

Or how about Hans Zimmer? He likes to hire himself some famous violinists for his work. Which violinist? Oh, Hilary Hahn, Joshua Bell. You know, the ones listed ON THE DAMN CD INSERT!

(Forget the insert. It’s on the COVER.)

I know. I know. “But Raine, they’re world famous. They get paid the big bucks. It costs money to print extra pages with names of people we don’t care about.”

Wah-wah. If the ink is too expensive to print, post it on a website. Seriously, saves time, ink, paper AND gives credit where credit is due. POST IT!

Please, please, please, pretty please post it. And no, I’m not talking about the yellow ones with the sticky stuff on the back.

Please, please, please put my out of my misery. Put others out of their misery. Do you know how many forums I haunt asking the question, “Who’s the composer? Who’s the composer?” Dígame, por favor.


He has Van Gogh’s ear for music. -Billy Wilder

End Rant 4.

29 responses to “K-Drama OSTs : Who’s the Composer?!!!”

  1. I love K-dramas , i want to know who is composer of music (depression of director) from personal taste . I’m edicted to that music its awesome can u plz find it I tried to find in so many ways but its so difficult So plz frnd help me!!!!

  2. KDramas are in the top ranking for never listing their ost composers. I’m so tired of “various artist” and “artist unknown” or even only listing the pop groups for their insert songs. Someone translated the series so someone can translate the credits and get the names of the ost composers too. It’s just lazy and frustrating.

    I also love OST from most every k-drama or k-movie !!!!
    j-drama are better, cause they always separate album with OST and songs and give composer name.

    but for k-drama OST it’s like one hole x.x no one knows most of OST 😦

    I personally am DUYING to KNOW WHO is COMPOSER for K-drama – BAD GUY !!!!!!
    omfg this ost is just pure perfection for ears , but I really can’t find anything about composer :/

    also drama like Tree With Deep Roots & Warrior Baek Dong Soo & My Princess and many more x….x really I hope they will change this in the future and put info on every OST composer for k-drama 😦 !!

  4. my google search for City Hunter’s music composer led me here lol!
    and I’m spending too much time searching for him/her until now! >_<
    but yeah, thanks for your sensible rant^^

    • Tell me about it. I love the City Hunter Scores. Spend an entire day searching and downloading the scores, its in my phone now and I listen to it all the time, and I still have no idea who composed it..:(

  5. Actually, I enjoyed Goodbye My Princess alot in PP, the lyrics fits with the story itself… But when you hear it too often, u will feel tired and feel annoyed…

    But overalll, I really love the score aka music background in PP , everytime “remember”, “Love is you”, or “goodbye my love” instrumental start playing in the background in a heartbreaking scene, all of sudden my heart can’t take it and I will cry endlessly… Jin Hyuk sure knows how to playing my emotion… I love him …

    • missjb – Love Jin Hyuk. He has a great track record and I love PP. I liked most of the score/OST in PP but in my opinion, the music editing was terribly done. It’s a mixture of the good and the bad. But I will listen to Goodbye my princess a million times just to watch PP. LOVE PP!

      Anyway, I really don’t like “Goodbye, My Princess”. It just greats in all sorts of ways I won’t go into because I know that there are those of you who enjoy that song. But as this is my blog to rant and rave, I did just that.

      What did you think about the point I brought up about the composers of the score (not the songs)?

      Thanks for dropping by! Your opinions are ALWAYS appreciated, even when contrary to mine. 🙂

      • I love all Heartbreaking instrumental in PP, It’s so moving and fit with the mood for particular scene when I was watching it.
        and dislike a happy one, IMO it’s so cheesy, LOL …. So maybe you are right about they have the bad and the good side…

        I dislike some OST in city hunter, too, but the score in that drama was awsome to the max, hehhee

        The Score is always one of important element in a drama/movie for me. My favourite instrumental/scoring has to be Que Sera Sera score… It’s awsome…

        • missjb – I have QSS on my list of things to watch. If you happen to know the composer for all the instrumental in ANY of the shows you like (or don’t like) please let me know! I can find song singers/composers any time. But those instrumental scores elude me. I LOVE the instrumental in CH 🙂 and PP too. I’m still looking for those score composers. I got the song composers…

          BTW if you have any music you want me to talk about, let me know. Or any aspects you want me to cover. I try to keep opinion out of that part of my writing or at least make it a separate paragraph…heehee.

  6. I hadn’t really thought about it too deeply before though it did bug me that whenever I liked a drama’s score I could never find out who it was behind the instrumentals thereby making it even harder to find to listen to it again. I want to join the protest too!^^

  7. Raine thank you for enlightening me. I had no idea of the treatment composers were getting. They should deserve their credit! You are absolutely right. Rant away Raine… hmm should I call you Ranting Cello?
    Let me know what you think.

      • Oh yeah I meant to also add musicians to the list too! Sometimes I comment faster than I should. Ranting Cello is it! I wonder what the Villager will say about this… I hope she doesn’t get jealous. It is too late to change nicknames anyway!

        (I will reading and commenting away on your posts Lady Ranting Cello.)

        • Me too. And I have embarrassing spelling errors in some of mine. I may write well, but I have HORRID spelling skills. I studied my ass off on spelling but it just never worked for me. I HAVE to spell check. (I just spelled embarrassing wrong…)

        • Oh yeah, I’m REALLY jealous. LOL, WTH…I like Raine, as in I’m just planning on sticking to her given name. Its a name worthy of a Disney Princess. 🙂
          And about the Rain thing. We will not be fighting over him, BUT I did like him in ‘I’m a Cyborg but that’s OK’. Actually, I kinda loved him in that. But don’t worry, if it ever comes down to it, you can have him.

          • Go back to your hut… you kill joy!
            Her given name is more sophisticated than a Disney Princess. Now, Rainy or Rainbow = Disney Princess material.
            Oh my K-drama Chingus you should know that in my eyes you both are awesome. Continue doing what you both do best. Bitter gives her bitter hugs.

            • I’ve had this name since I was 16. I was writing a story and that was my main character’s name so I stole it and made an e-mail for myself and since then its been my log-in/id/internet personality.

              Whoohoo! Disney Princess. I’m one of THOSE who still loves my Disney. I babysat the other night and spent the night singing little mermaid with a 4 y/o. I think I already wrote that somewhere…

              Now I have to go watch “I’m a Cyborg and that’s okay”.

              *gives a dainty princess wave* Ahnyong!

  8. Sank you! It’s the plight of the working musician everywhere. We really become the hired help even though we practice hours a day, are very well versed in our art and we work DAMN HARD. I’ve actually been shoved out of gatherings because people didn’t want us to be scene after we were through playing. It’s humiliating and we shouldn’t have to feel that way.

    We have a skill that is underappreciated. People enjoy it without even knowing that they are enjoying it. That’s the beauty of what we do. It’s also terrible. People want to pay us less than we ask for but don’t realize that our gigs are unpredictable, that we are WORTH what we ask for and our skill comes with as many hours behind us as a doctor has from medical school. Sometimes I have to practice at 1am because I have no other time to practice.

    At least for music that is widely consumed, the people behind it should get credit. Composing is no small task because you have to write the music, add lyrics if they’re necessary, arrange it for all the instruments you want in it, hire the performers (instrumentalists AND singers) and then sit in a studio and record, sometimes for ten hours with very few breaks (and a LOT of coffee.) Then you have to send it to the engineer who mixes it to perfection (hopefully.) It’s the same work that goes into pop music, but without credit.

    I’m glad my rant brought you on board! *hands you a picket* I went off again…it can’t be helped…

    I also hate when people eat the last slice of pizza that I was pining for.

    • You did it again.:) and I think I understand how unfair it is now. How many hours of practice and solid work and money goes into it and all. It’s always interesting finding out about the inner workings of something you never knew about and used to take for granted. BTW, you must have really liked ‘Beethoven Virus’, correct? I shall hold my picket with pride (even though I don’t play an instrument)

      • Well, musically and the way musicians were represented in it, I was truly invested in it. Some of the personal interactions really got on my nerves. Also, a community orchestra would almost NEVER be able to get funding/backing that quickly, or get those kinds of opportunities without links to larger organizations (very rare). Actually, the whole process was a bit off, but it DID show how difficult our lives our and how cruel musicians can be to each other. The conductor’s tyranny is also true, but maybe not so much anymore in this day and age. But the soundtrack was so satisfying for me.

        AND THE CELLIST PLAYED THE LIBERTANGO! Love that piece. It’s on my list to learn. It’s by Astor Piazzola, an Argentinian composer.

        This is Yo Yo Ma, the most famous cellist in the universe. He is a mad awesome cellist.

        And responding to this also gave me another idea for a series on this blog…you rock the hut!

        • Haha, that’s my new favorite compliment! ‘rocking the hut’ 😛
          The drama as a whole was OK. But Do Ru Mi’s idiocy killed it. HOW COULD SHE NOT CHOOSE JGS??? JGS WITHOUT THE FEMININE HAIRDO! I think the deafness extended beyond the obvious and impaired a few brain cells.

          • Ya, the story didn’t set up well for her to choose jerky Gun-woo. He really did treat her like crap. It wasn’t that I-hate-you/I-love-you stuff. I was I’m a jerkoff treating you like shit.

            I love JGS there ’cause he looks masculine, he’s heavier (I like it better than the girl skinny. You should not be 5’11 and weight 132 lb. That is WRONG.)

            The deafness should’ve been better portrayed. I would be DEVASTATED if I had her condition and they didn’t play that up enough. Besides, if a conductor knew you were going deaf, no way you’d stay in an orchestra. You would ruin the quality of the section. I would rather go blind than deaf. Which would mean no more blogging for me…or k-drama….unless I learn Korean. But my hearing is everything to me.

            • Seriously, There wasn’t a single redeemable quality about the conductor Gun woo (not a romantic one, anyways) It was one of the first K-dramas I watched and made me think that Koreans are into girls being treated like crap before finding love, as if that was a romantic prerequisite. In all of the dramas I watched before it, the girl gets tortured by the guy first, then he realized he was stupid and he became the most amazing boyfriend ever. (An oversimplification, I know. And I loved all the K-dramas I watched, but still)
              I’d rather go blind than deaf. LOL, I’m saying it so lightly.

            • I’ve had arguments about it actually. People think I’m insane. “But how can you get around? You can’t see your loved ones faces!” But I can hear. I have excellent hearing. There is ALWAYS something sounding. Even in complete ‘silence’, you’re holding your breath and not moving, your heartbeat is going. My ear was once completely blocked on one side by earwax and I FREAKED out even though I knew it would be remedied. I couldn’t hear anything, not even my heartbeat. That affirmed my choice. I’ve been unable to see before because of getting things in my eye or after the eye doctor and been fine.

              As for Gun-woo and Gun-woo. They could’ve done it better. Someone (the younger) THAT eager to learn would not have done what he did. He finally made the right move by going to school. The older would’ve been fired. People can deal with jerks for only so long unless he was shoveling them money under the table. And I think the elder only loved her because she adored him and brought him to the dark side.

  9. You’ve opened my eyes to the world of pushing-composers-under-the rug! Hand me my picket sign too, sista!
    Loved your ravings, not in the least because they MAKE SENSE. Most people whine about stuff that doesn’t matter, like ‘who ate the last pizza’ (like me) which I know is lame. LOL, keep the quality rants coming ❤

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