September 23, 2014 
 
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Traditional Forms of Music
Ramon P. Santos, Ph. D.
Articles
       There are two distinct repertoires in Philippine oral traditions: 1) musical forms that evolved from Southeast Asian cultures, usually referred to as indigenous traditions, and 2) musical forms that developed in rural Christian communities, more commonly known as folk music. They may be further categorized into vocal, instrumental, a combination of both, as well as forms that integrate these elements with physical movement, space, dance, and theater.

       In the first category, many of the musical forms are related to different occasions such as life cycle events and occupational activities and different kinds of rituals. In the Cordillera Administrative Region in Northern Luzon, musical performances are done during the agricultural cycle, peace pacts, courtship and marriage, and death rites. These events are highlighted by a feast ritual called cañao, chaw-es, bugnas or peshit among the Ibaloi.

        Vocal genres among the indigenous communities may be identified according to their functions. Lullabies are called owiwi (Kalinga),while other infancy-related songs include dagdagay and oppia (Kalinga), langan bata-bata (Tausug), bua (Subanen), and kawayanna (Kalinga). Courtship is usually performed in song-debates such as the  daieng   (Kankana-ey), Batac inanen, estijaro of the Tagacaolo, and the bandayuy of the Matigsalog, which is accompanied on the kuglong (2-string lute) and saluroy (polychordal zither). There are love incantations like the Manobo antang (for match-making) and sindaay, tarasul (Tausug), tamuyong, dango, oggayam, songs of greetings and advice during a Kalinga  wedding. Entertainment songs include the salidummay and dangdang-ay, bayok (Mandaya), and the Manobo limbay, and the Ibaloi allegorical ballad called tamiya.

       Work songs are called duduru among the Aeta and gagonapu of the Subanen. referring to both fishing and hunting. These songs may be as specific as the Kalinga dakuyon for hunting bats, the Ilongot dinaweg for catching wild boar and kellangan selang and kellangan magsangkali which are sung during Sama shark-fishing. The Kalinga sing the dandannag and the owayat for gathering firewood and the Gatac sing the didayu while making wine. The sowe-ey is a rice-pounding song of the Bontoc. There are also vocal genres that are connected with special rituals, as the bajog and ad'dem which the Ibaloi sing for good harvest, the Bontoc kapya to cure different ailments, the alasan of the Kankana-ey to pray for good fortune, as well as the Ilongot dawak and the Kalinga alisig, both medicine chants.

       In death rites, the Bontoc chant the didiyaw, similar to the Manobo ulaging and Isneg sangsangit. The balow is sung by the Matigsalog  wife to honor her dead husband. Prayer chants among the Islamic communities include the Salathul Juma (Friday prayer), the Tarawe, and the dekir or dikil. Tonal phrases are called lugu which are used in the reading of the Ku'ran

       There are vocal genres that may be considered signature forms for specific cultures, such as the Maranao bayok (a form of musical speech-making), the Ibaloi badiw (extemporized leader-chorus poetic verses), and the Kalinga ading (vocal exhortation).On the other hand, specific epics are highly representative of the history and culture of the different communities; like the Maranao Darangen, the Palawan Kudaman, the Ifugao Hudhud, the Kalinga Ullalim, the Maguindanao Rajah Indrapatra, and the Manobo Ulahingan and Tuwaang.

       Vocal music among rural Christians may be classified into the religious and secular forms. The former consists mostly of hymns related to the different period of the liturgical year, except for the pasyon, which is the day-and-night-long chanting of the life and passion of Christ during the period of Lent. This chanting uses ancient tune formulas like the awit and tagulaylay. At Christmas time, the paraliturgical event called panuluyan re-enacts the plight of Mary and Joseph, at which the dialogue verses are sung on pre-existing tunes. Local carols are called villancicos, dayegon among the Visayan, and tamborra of the Cuyunin. During Easter, the aleluya and hosana are sung during the salubong (first meeting of the resurrected Christ and Mary). During the May processions, such hymns as the Aurora, Kristiyanong turog, dotok, gozo, are commonly heard in the Bicol region. The dalit is a strophic hymn with repeated melody. Among the Tagalog of Batangas, it is sung before and after the performance of subli. To honor the dead, the Ilocano still perform the dung-aw.

        Secular folk vocal music covers a wide variety of forms, from long romance narratives called awit, kurido, kuriru (Kapangpangan) and pinagbiag, and ballads like the Visayan composo, to short song genres; e.g. kumintang and kundiman of the Tagalog, the Tagalog lullaby called oyayi, the harana (serenade), children's songs, as well as song-debates such as the pandangguhan, the balitao from Cebu and Bohol, and the dal-lot of the Ilocano.

       Instrumental music in the indigenous cultures are usually identified according to the types of ensembles, playing styles or instruments such as the sulibao ensemble of the Ibaloi, gangsa pattung or toppaya, kulintang, tangunggua'n, etc., as well as titles of individual pieces, like "Kapagonor", "F' rnawa Klongonon",   "Palandok" , or "Sungsung patubig". The kulintang repertoire may consist of a suite of pieces based on melodic-rhythmic modes such as duyug, sinulug, tidtu, binalig, and tangunggu of the Maguindanao. The tagunggu (instrumental music making) of the Yakan is usually performed as a set of two improvised pieces: te-ed and kuriri. The term tagunggu among the peoples of Mindanao uplands usually refers to the music of the hanging agung or kulintang. Among the Kankana-ey, the takik is music played by the gong and drum ensemble to accompany dance.

       Instrumental music in the countryside is usually performed by the brass band or its replication in bamboo instruments, the rondalla (plucked string ensemble), and various smaller combinations of string and wind instruments. The repertoire consists of hymns, marches, pasodoble, medleys of popular folk tunes, as well as longer compositions such as overtures and one-movement concertant pieces. The latter are usually played during band competitions called serenata. The town band is quite indispensable in religious activities such as processions and funerals, and it also assists local theatrical productions like the komedya and senakulo. The smaller ensembles are often utilized to accompany the singing in churches.

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About the Author:
Ramon P. Santos, Ph. D. is a composer and musicologist, having received training at the University of the Philippines, Indiana University and the State University of New York at Buffalo. He was a full fellow at the Summer Courses in New Music at Darmstadt and undertook post-graduate work in Ethnomusicology at the University of Illinois with grants from the Asian Cultural Council and the Ford Foundation. His works have been featured in major festivals in Europe and in Asia. Recently, he has been awarded residency fellowships at the Bellagio Study Center and the Civitella Ranieri Center in Italy. In the field of musicology, he has undertaken researches not only in Philippine and Asian contemporary music, but also studied Javanese gamelan music and dance and Nan Kuan, and engaged in continuing field studies of Philippine traditional music such as the Ibaloi badiw, the Maranao bayok, and the musical repertoires of the Mansaka, Bontoc, Yakan, and Boholano. He has contributed major articles on Philippine music to various encyclopedias and anthologies such as The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, the Encyclopedia of Philippine Art, the Compendium of the Humanities in the Philippines. He was chief editor and writer of the book Musics of the ASEAN, and has produced CD’s on Mindanao Highland Music, Mansaka Music and Music of the Bontoc from the Mountain Province. He is currently serving as University Professor of the UP, Commissioner for the Arts of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and 2nd Vice President of the International Music Council.
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