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Gongs & Bamboo: A Panorama of Philippine Music Instruments
326pp. May 1998
Gongs & Bamboo: A Panorama of Philippine Music Instruments
Author: Maceda, Jose;
This panorama is a pictorial view of music instruments starting with older bamboo and other instruments of undetermined age, going on two types of gongs-flat in Northern Luzon and bossed in the South. These two areas may be viewed as pocket cultures comparable to other pocket cultures in Borneo, Sumatra, other islands in Southeast Asia and the mountain regions south of and including Yunnan province of China, thus placing the music of Luzon and Mindanao in a larger geographical context. For example, mouth organs in Borneo and continental Southeast Asia are absent in the Philippines, where, however, separate pipes of panpipes are on occasion still being played by groups of boys among the Kalingga of Luzon. The musical elements of drone and melody identified in two lutes in Borneo or ensembles in Yunnan find examples in two players of the same tube zither in Mindanao and flat gongs in Luzon.

The nearly 500 photographs in the book are almost all taken in the field, showing details of making and playing bamboo buzzers, jaw harps, zithers, percussion tubes, flutes and other instruments. Manners of tapping and sliding with the hands on flat gongs differ from beating them with sticks. Examples of big bossed gongs with wide rims (agung) struck with a mallet on the boss and a stick on the rim show affinities with a manner of playing bronze drums in Yunnan. In North Luzon, men and women dancing in circles with outstretched hands distinguish them from solo dancers with minimum body movements in the South.

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Distributed for University of the Philippines Press

Author: Maceda, Jose;
Jose Maceda is professor emeritus at the University of Philippines, having decades of field experience and studies in the Philippines and Southeast Asia, with visits to Yunnan, East and West Africa and Brazil. He received the title National Artist for music in 1997. Abstract ideas in his composition--color, density, distribution, classification--are an offshoot of ideas partly explained in this book and his other writings.