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Philippines Music History

The recitative and simple two note music of Philippines originated as a result of the trade relations with different races such as the Arabs, Chinese, Indonesians, Japanese, Malaya, Hindus and the Indo Chinese.

Music had an important role in Philippines in regulating and coordinating the religious and social life of the Filipinos.

Music was considered sacred and was treated as a fine art, and a subject to be taught. Though Philippine music timeline narrates sanctity of Philippine music, 1795 was the year of Golden Age of sacred music in Philippines music history.

At time when paper and pen was not invented the Filipinos sought the help of palm leaves, bamboo canes and barks of trees and pieces of sharp stick to write the song.

A number of instruments made out of bamboo and wood were created during the primitive days and the reed type of wind instruments was introduced by the Chinese and the Japanese.

Plucked instruments such as the guitar, banduria, octavina, laud and the banjo were also used to create music in Philippines. The Gansa and the Kulintang are some of the Muslim Filipino instruments and the bamboo flute and gong are the mountain region instruments.

The traditional music of the Philippines comprises of Gong music which was further divided on the region into gangsa and bossed gongs and the Harana and the Kundiman lyrical songs which reminds the islands of the Spanish period.

The Rondalla is also one of the traditional music which was performed in Philippines using the mandolins and the guitars. A fragrance of traditional music is also observed in Philippine dance forms like the Tinikling and Carinosa.

The Philippine madrigal singers have portrayed before the world the tradition of Philippines in the field of choral music. Today Philippines can proudly say that they have contributed almost 200 choral composers and arrangers to music.

Pepe Smith, Mike Hanopol and Wally Gonzales laid the roots of rock music in Philippines. Philippine rock also conducted experiments by adding folk songs to rock. It captured the attention of the younger generation.

In the 1960s with the song 'Killer Joe' Philippine rock received recognition worldwide for its major achievement in the history of music. Soon the Philippine rock topped the American charts.

In 1841 the Tondo theatre in Philippines was erected to stage Tagalog plays and the Spanish plays. An Engineer named Jose Bosch created the Teatro Castellano theatre for the purpose of presenting songs and plays.

Teatro Comico in manila built in 1970 and the Arroceros theatre near the Mehan garden for performing Tagalog plays were some of other popular Philippine theatres in the history of Philippine music.

Article about: History of Philippine music

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