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Jayvee B.

Grade 8

Music of Philippines

At the rate our people are bombarded with all sorts of Western pop and
commercial music through radio, television, jukeboxes, record players, and movies the day
may not be too far away when we shall have committed our own native music to the grave;
harshly forgotten, abandoned, its beauty laid to waste by an unknowing generation whose only
fault is not having been given the chance to cultivate a love of it Felipe Padilla de Leon
Philippine music is rich beyond compare. Most Filipinos, however, do not know
this wealth, victims as they are of a broadcast media that propagate Western, particularly
American entertainment music, day in and day out. If ever music written by Filipinos is given a
chance to be heard, it is ninety percent of the cheap pop variety copied or adapted from foreign
Our young people hear almost nothing of the creative music of the people of
Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The vast output of our serious composers, who ironically are
mostly Manila-based, is also unknown to them.
There is a pressing need to bring Philippine music closer to our people: strong
identification of our own music is one vital factor in bringing our people together or unifying the
Exposing Filipinos to their own musical traditions is properly the task of the
government, our music educators, musicologists, community leaders, concerned media

practitioners, performing groups, pro-Filipino radio and television stations and recording
companies, heritage centers and libraries, and cultural organizations all over the country.
A survey of the whole range of authentic Filipino musical expression reveals at
least eight major types according to cultural sources and influences:
Traditional Filipino Music
I. Music of Indigenous Southeast Asian Filipinos: Harmony with the Creative Forces of Nature
II. Music of the Moros or Muslim Filipino Cultures: The Courtly Elegance of Islamic Unity
III. Music of the Lowland Folk Villages: The Way of the Fiesta
Filipino Popular Melodies
IV. Music of Popular Sentiments: The Sanctity of the Home
Music for Listening
V. Music of the Concert Hall: The Autonomy of Music
VI. Music for Mass Entertainment: The Consumerist Lifestyle
Music for Social Awareness and Human Dignity
VII. Music of Social Concern and Cultural Freedom: A Force for Social Transformation
VIII. Music for National Identity: Being Filipino
All of these Filipino music cultures are not only alive and contemporaneous; they
are distinct from each other in terms of concept, form, and style. Each represents a way of life
that is uniquely Filipino and is expressive of a subcultures experiences. Understanding these
music cultures enables us to understand ourselves better.
We may divide our music cultures into two groups, the first three types of
expressions belong to one group and the last four types to another, with the third type straddling
the two groups. Though possessing unique characteristics, those musical expressions grouped
together have many things in common.
Extemporaneous creation

One shared feature of the first group is the extemporaneous way of creating music
the music is created and performed at the same time. There is no time gap between conception
and realization, as when a Yakan creates-performs music in the kulintang (similar to the
extemporaneous nature of the poetic joust in Balagtasan).
This is entirely different from the way music is made in the second group, where a
musician first writes or records his thoughts on paper and only later does a performer reproduce
it in sound, as in writing and performing Ryan Cayabyabs Limang Dipang Tao.
Thus, the emphasis on the first group is on the creative process while that on the
second group is the finished product.
Another feature of the first group is the multi-functional character of the music,
which accompanies (or is indispensable in) many activities and events, like putting a baby to
sleep, courtship, prayer, debate, protest, merrymaking, and a host of other rituals and
In the other group, music has ceased to function in many aspects of everyday life.
In the extreme, it has become dispensable, decorative, merely for entertainment, or worse,
nothing but a commodity, like many examples of what we call pop music.
Also worth mentioning is the collective character of music making in the first
group and the individualistic character in the second.
Clearly, our musical traditions, all of them contemporary, can tell us many things
about ourselves. Indeed, beginning the study of Philippine music cultures is the beginning of a
fuller and deeper understanding of the Filipino.

Music of Japan

Traditional Japanese music usually refers to Japan's historical folk music. One of
the defining characteristics of traditional Japanese music is its sparse rhythm. Regular chords are
also absent. It is impossible for a person to beat time to the music. All of the rhythms are mabased, and silence is an important part of the songs. The focus is on creating music that flows in
an attempt to mirror the behavior of nature. It is regular for songs to start off at an extremely
slow pace and to pick up speed as they progress. Then, they get slow again before transitioning
into long and drawn out finishes.

Traditional Japanese music has three main types, instrumental, court music, and
theatrical. One type of theatrical music is Kabuki. Kabuki music can be sub-divided into three
categories. The first is Gidayubushi, which is similar to joruri music. Joruri is a type of narrative
music that uses shamisen and has four styles. The second type of kabuki music is Shimoza
ongaku and is played for kuromisu (lower seats) below the theater stage. Another form of
theatrical music is called noh. The hayashi-kata play Noh music. They use taiko, kotsuzumi, fue,
and otsuzumi instruments to make the sounds. The oldest Japanese traditional music is gagaku.
Gagaku is a form of court music. Gagaku includes dances, songs, and a blend of other genres of
Asian music. There are two styles of Gagaku. These are kigaku, which is a form of instrumental
music, and Seigaku, which is A form of vocal music.
Some traditional Japanese music originated in other countries. An example of this
is shomyo. Shomyo is a type of Buddhist song that is known for being a melody that is added to
a sutra. Shomyo originated in India and came to Japan during the country's Nara period. An
interesting fact about shomyo is that it doesn't use any musical instruments. Instead, the song is
sung by Buddhist monks.

Historical Japanese folk music is strongly-influenced by music from China. This

is because many of the musical instrumentswhich are popular in Japanese music first came from
China. These instruments include koto, shakuhachi, and wadaiko drums. A koto is a stringed
instrument that shares a similarity to China's guzheng. It is Japan's national instrument and is
made with kiri wood. It uses thirteen strings over thirteen bridges that are movable over the

instrument's width. Picks on three fingers are used to play it. Wadaiko is the name for the
traditional style of Japanese drumming and the particular drums themselves. The world's most
famous wadaiko drumming group is Kodo (heartbeat). A shakuhachi is a flute that is used in
traditional Japanese music. Shakuhachi are usually made from bamboo, but can also be made
from other materials. These instruments were originally used by Buddhist monks to practice
suizen (blowing meditation).
Japanese music has a long tradition and great diversity.

Music of Korea

Koreans have always had a deep love for music and dance. Traditional Korean
dance and musical performances can be a memorable part of visiting Korea. These performances
can be seen regularly each Saturday at the National Center for Korean Traditional Performing
1. Folk Music
Korean folk music is made up of simple songs that vary from location to location.
The songs are usually full of emotion. Types of Korean folk music include Pungmulnori and,

Sanjo, Sinawi, Pansori and Shaman. Pungmulnori s the music of the farms. It is brisk and
energetic and performed at festivals and other farm celebrations. Sanjo is a solo instrumental
form incorporating a lot of improvisation. The tempo of Sanjo music increases as the work
continues. Sinawi folk music is also a solo instrumental form with a lot of improvisation. It is
played to accompany dancing. Pansori folk music takes the form of storytelling. This form of
music has speaking as well as singing parts and the singer incorporates movements to illustrate
the story. A Pansori piece can last as long as eight hours and there are no rests between
movements. Shaman music is performed in connection with shamanistic rituals. It can be purely
instrumental or consist of songs accompanied by instruments. The rituals songs vary from region
to region in Korea.

2. Court Music
The works of Korean classical music are varied and span a great body of work.
Korean classical music is more refined than Korean folk music. A music genre called "court
music" is one traditional classical form. It is music associated with the upper class in Korea and
is based on Chinese songs. The music is played in a very controlled manner, softly and at a very
slow pace. Unlike Korean folk music, melody is not an important aspect of court music. Rather,
importance is placed on individual tones.
3. Religious Music
In addition to the Shaman folk music, Korean religious music evolved out of
Buddhism and Confucianism. Buddhist songs were sung at Buddhist events either
unaccompanied or accompanied by woodblocks and chimes. The songs are in the form of chants.
The music of the Confucian shrine ceremony is performed each year and includes songs and
instrumentals; the music consists of six works.
4. Harmony and Rhythm
Traditional Korean music does not rely on harmony and very little is found in the
music. Instead, Korean music focuses on rhythmic patterns and varying levels of rhythmic
complexity to convey meaning and emotion.

***Gayageum, a twelve-stringed zither

The twelve-stringed Gayageum is similar to the Chinese cheng and the Japanese
koto in structure but it is played differently and has a different timber. The Gayageum dates back
to the sixth century during the rule of King Gasil of the Gaya Kingdom. The thumb, index finger
and middle finger of the right hand pluck the strings, while the index and middle fingers of the
left hand press on the strings of the other side of the adjustable bridge-frets.
The Geomungo has 6 strings and 16 frets called 'Gwae'. In view of the mechanism
that allows it to produce sound, it is similar to guitar, in that the pitch is decided by the flat
location of a finger. The left fingers are placed on the Gwae to control pitch and the right hand
plugs the strings with a stick called suldae. The sound of the Geomungo is softer than, not as
brilliant as most string instruments, but one can convey one's feelings through this sensitive


Music of China

Traditional Chinese music can be traced back 7,000 - 8,000 years based on the
discovery of a bone flute made in the Neolithic Age. In the Xia, Shang and Zhou Dynasties, only
royal families and dignitary officials enjoyed music, which was made on chimes and bells.
During the Tang Dynasty, dancing and singing entered the mainstream, spreading from the royal
court to the common people. With the introduction of foreign religions such as Buddhism and
Islam, exotic and religious melodies were absorbed into Chinese music and were enjoyed by the
Chinese people at fairs organized by religious temples.
In the Song Dynasty, original opera such as Zaju and Nanxi was performed in
tearooms, theatres, and showplaces. Writers and artists liked it so much that Ci, a new type of
literature resembling lyrics, thrived. During the Yuan Dynasty, qu, another type of literature
based on music became popular. This was also a period when many traditional musical
instruments were developed such as the pipa, the flute, and the zither.
During the Ming (1368 - 1644) and Qing Dynasties (1644 - 1911), the art of
traditional opera developed rapidly and diversely in different regions. When these distinctive
opera styles were performed at the capital (now called Beijing), artists combined the essence of
the different styles and created Beijing opera, one of three cornerstones of Chinese culture (the


other two being Chinese medicine and traditional Chinese painting) which continue to be
appreciated even in modern times.
Besides these types, Chinese peasants were clever enough to compose folk songs,
which also developed independently with local flavor. Folk songs described working and daily
life such as fishing, farming, and herding and were very popular among the common people.
The concepts embedded in Chinese music, such as the five elements, are deeply
interwoven with Chinese traditional culture.
Traditional Musical Instruments
They can be divided into four categories: stringed instruments, percussion
instruments, plucked instruments, and wind instruments. The following are just a few of them:
Horse-Headed Fiddle
The Horse-headed fiddle is a bowed stringed-instrument with a scroll carved like
a horse's head. It is popular in Mongolian music. With a history of over 1,300 years, it even
influenced European string music when Marco Polo brought one back from his travels through
Asia. Its wide tonal range and deep, hazy tone color express the joy or pathos of a melody to its
**Horse-Headed Fiddle
The Mongolian people bestowed upon their beloved horse-headed fiddle a
fantastic legend: during horse-racing at the Nadam Fair -- their featured grand festival--a hero,
Su He, and his white horse ran the fastest, which incurred the envy and wrath of the duke. The
cruel duke shot the horse dead, and Su He grieved so much that he met his horse in a dream. In
the dream, the horse told Su He to make a fiddle from wood and the hair of a horse's tail, and to
carve the head of the fiddle in the shape of a horse's head. The lad followed the horse's advice
and when he finished, the fiddle produced an extremely vivid sound. From then on, people loved
this instrument and composed many songs for it.


Lute (Pipa)
Originally named after the loquat fruit, the earliest pipa known was found to have
been made in the Qin Dynasty (221 BC 206 BC). By the the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907), the
pipa had reached its summit. It was loved by everyone--from the royal court to the common
folk--and it occupied the predominant place in the orchestra. Many well known writers and poets
created poems and mentioned it in their works. Bai Juyi, the master poet, vividly depicted the
performance like this: rapid and soft notes mingled were just like big and small pearls dropping
onto the jade plates.
Afterwards, the pipa underwent improvement in playing techniques and structure.
Players then changed from holding the pipa transversely to holding it vertically, and from using a
pick to using the fingers to pluck the strngs directly. In modern times, the volume and resonance
has also been improved. The traditional work 'Spring Moonlight on the Flowers by the River',
which has a history of over one hundred years, has brought harmony and a sense of beauty to
untold numbers of people.
**Lute (Pipa)

The Erhu, also called 'Huqin', was introduced from the western region during the
Tang Dynasty. During the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279), it was refined and improved and new
variations appeared. It was also an important instrument for playing the melody of Beijing
When playing, the player usually stands the Erhu on his lap, and moves the bow
across the vertical strings. The well-known music 'Two Springs Reflect the Moon' was created by
the blind folk artist Liu Yanjun, also named A Bing by the people. Though he could not see
anything of the world, he played his Erhu using his heart and imagination. This melody conjures
up a poetic night scene under the moonlight and expresses the composer's desolation and hope.

The earliest flute was made from bone over 7,000 years ago. In the times since
then, most flutes were made of bamboo, which allowed even common people to play it. By
covering the holes and blowing through the side hole while moving the fingers flexibly between
the six holes, a sound will be produced that is leisurely and mellifluous like sound from far away.
This always reminds people of a pastoral picture of a farmer riding on a bull while playing a


Some insights/opinions about comparing Music of Korea, Japan and China:

1. Which country has the most advanced entertainment?

Japan. Korea has pop music and China goes toe-to-toe with Japan in the film
industry (although Korea's no slouch), but Japan has the best balance. Korea for #2.
2. Which national language do you think has the best sounding?
Japanese. Korean's too nasally and I don't care for tonal languages like any of the
dialects of Chinese.
3. What are the differences between Chinese and Japanese music?
You may notice that Japanese music tends to use negative pentatonic more than
Chinese music. Unique Japanese instruments include shamisen while unique Chinese
instruments include pipa, erhu. Common instruments include bamboo flute, zither, and
drums. They all have a common root but have branched off for hundreds or years.
Japanese people received their ancient knowledge of music from China through
Korea. They have very similar styles, but Japan uses more flutes, light strings, and is more calm,
while Chinese uses more heavy strings and big drums that create war-like or celebration sounds.
However, both countries have the same set of instruments. They only differ in musical style.
4. Which kind of music is better Korean music or Japanese?
I definitely like Korean music better. I dont like Japanese music because it
sounds a little like American music and there music sounds like they try to hard. Its all over the
place. I like Korean music because it has a little more style and uniqueness to it and I like the
way more of the singers sing too. I like all the singers you just named too. (Jill)
No one is better than the other, it really depend on the person music taste since
most Korean music are Hip Pop/dance, while Japan is more into rock and experimental music.
But speaking music wise, Japanese music would be better because I rarely see Korean bands use

any kind of music instrument during live concert; neither do they have backup singers like
Japanese people do. Also a lot of Japanese artist write their own songs. (Eeluon)
5. Japanese Music vs. Korean Music?
I have to give it up to Japan. Why? Because Japan is 2nd largest music industry in
the world, very diverse ...and all of the best Korean music are translated into Japanese. Not only
that, many Korean songs are exclusively made in Japanese language...and they even release it in
Japan first.
Japanese and Korean music share many similarities, but cannot (and should not)
be directly compared. Korea has a very strong pop scene that is unparalleled in Japan (ahem,
AKB/SKE) that is famous the world over. However, Japan has a thriving rock scene that is
known worldwide wherever Anime reaches. I listen to both languages, and yes, Kpop is much
more developed as an industry. However, Japan has many niche genres that are for the most part
absent from Korea. It depends on what you like-- they are two cultures, not artists, after all.