musical cultures come together in the Southern Philippines. On these islands old
Malay music and a later form of India/Muslim music coexist. Unaccompanied singing
and the use of bamboo ideocords and bamboo flutes are indicative of practices common in
Malaysia. The chanting of long, melismatic melodies are reminiscent of Indian and
Islamic music; while gong playing with basses evokes practices similarly observed in
Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, and Burma
Vera-Reyes Inc., 1978
types of song are popular among the Maguindanaos: 1) religious chants sung during the
Friday noon service, the celebration of the Molud or Mawlid, the puwasa
or Ramadan, and the periodic commemoration of the dead; and 2) the less formal secular
songs, such as love songs, legend chants, and lullabies. Similarly, among the
Tausogs, song traditions fall into either the lugu, unaccompanied songs
associated with traditional rites; or the paggabbang, songs rendered solely for
(Source: Pobre, C.P., et al, 1978. Tuladan, The
Philippine South. Manila: The Executive Committee; 160pp.)
(gong melody) is played in different instrumental combinations, but the Maguindanao
ensemble is said to have the most developed melodic permutation
Mindanao State University, 1980
The ensemble is composed of a set of eight gongs of graduated sizes arranged in a
row (kolintang), a suspended gong with a thin sound (babendir), a drum (debakan),
one or two suspended gongs (agong), and a pair of gongs with narrow rims (gandingan).
The kolintang is a counterpart
of the Malaysian or Indonesian gamelan, except that it is an ensemble strictly of
percussion instruments. No wind or string instrument is played to accompany
it. The principal eight-gong series (kolintang) is used to play a variety
of meaningful compositions; the other gongs and the drum follow its beat.
In Maranao the musical or poetical compositions played
on the kolintang usually have dual meanings: literal and
"cultural." Here are some examples:
Ka kerarab a kalasan.
Run, run away, deer
For the forest is burning.
|Aside from the
literal meaning the cultural interpretation is: the maiden player warns her first suitor
("deer") to give up courting her, as a new and accepted suitor will
replace him. Also the message suggests that the new suitor will become her partner
in playing the kolintang.
Oman ko katademan
A kiyatebonan o taw,
Na rabayin ako a lo.
As I recall the time that
People searched for tabon eggs,
My tears run down my cheeks.
|Historically, famines have
occurred in the Lanao area and have driven people far and wide in search of food,
including the eggs of the bird tabon, along the sea coastal towns. "My
tears" reflects a sad recollection of the famine which brought hardships including
the demeaning occupation of searching for tabon eggs.
Na pamola ka sa obi
Na gawnen ta imanto
Na itinda ta bo amay
A ken o madakel a taw.
Plant camote which
Today we shall harvest
And cook tomorrow
For the people to eat.
|A joke between two friends, a
young woman and a young man, exaggerates the short time of planting, harvesting, cooking,
and eating camote. The woman suggests raising camote for service
to their people.
Ka da kawanan da diwang;
Ka da diwang da kawanan.
Far I sail into the ocean
Neither choosing right nor left;
Farther I go into the depth
To have neither enemy nor friend.
|This poem portrays the
customary neutrality of a Maranao, when his friends or relatives are in conflict. He
avoids partisan involvement by figuratively going into the "ocean" or
"depth" away from the quarreling parties.
Karam o tantangi ko
So ama motantang iyan
O di ko kapagomani
Sa mikalitantang yan
A mikalitantang yan
Sa kalilimodan sa taw.
Never will I forgive
One who does me wrong
Without heavily adding
To his repentance
To really shame him
Before the public eyes.
|This song depicts the Maranao
matarabat (pride), which demands that he avenges any wrong done him and requires
the restoration by his enemy of his respectable public image.
Kawto so dagoong
A baden datem sa lawd
Na da ontawar ko palaw
There's storm rain sounds
Darkening the sea horizon
Reaching not the mountains.
represents a young man's declared intention to ask for a maiden's hand in marriage even if
he cannot meet the required royal family's ("mountains") dowry. These
lines are also intended to touch the pride of a young suitor, so he will strive to marry
the maiden in a pompous celebration which he may afford with the help of friends and
Matatar ayi matatar?
Na toba ako matatar
Na asar a so tangkolo
A tangkolo a binaning
A tingki aken ko inged.
What of disgrace?
I care not for my disgrace
Provided it be by a noble
Of true noble blood
My equal in this land.
rationalization that losing her virginity is compensated for by the fact that the
disgracer is her royal equal in the community is rooted in the Maranao value of equality
in social status for marriage and sex partnership.
Dayo, dayo kapita,
Dayo somong ta sa ig.
Dayo, di ako ron song,
Ka ana ikelek aken,
A babareka a nipay,
A torisan a bowaya.
Dayo, di ka pekelek
Kakawto si laki ngka
A nggogoma'an sa kitab
A kekelong sa Kora'an.
My maiden (morning) friend,
To the water place let's go.
Maiden friend, I won't go,
I'm afraid of
A multi-colored snake,
A blemished crocodile.
Maiden friend, don't fear
For there's your brother
With a holy scripture
And the Quran for protection.
The fear of a maiden to bathe in the
river is assuaged by her friend who insists they will be protected by the Holy Quran,
serving as amulet in her brother's possession. As a holy man, the brother goes
early every morning to the water for his abedas (ablutions) before he enters the
mosque. His holiness is a protection against evil.
Rhythmic sounds played on the kolintang have
neither philosophical nor literary import; rather, they simply depict some important event
or subject. One such rendition is kambitiyara, depicting a wedding
celebration. The katenatanaw is music for a fluvial parade. The kasegorongan
simply consists of playing alternating loud and soft sounds, and the teketek pandiyang
-- the simplest la la la -- is repetitious and is taught to young music
The most stylish manner of playing the kolintang
is the kaperomayas or kapagonor, in which a pretty maiden in colorful
dress and makeup performs a stunt with the stick beaters on the eight gongs. She
would wave the beaters in the air, as a majorette does in modern parades.
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Besides the kolintang, other musical
ensembles popular among the Maranao are the tagongko and the kapanirong.
Tagongko is parade or entourage music played
by male musicians dressed in their festive fineries. It is outdoor music, while kolintang
is indoor music. The instrumental ensemble consists of a number of medium-sized
gongs called mamalala; a number of small, high pitched, and shallow gongs called pong;
one or more tambor (snare drums); and one or more garagara or panda'opan
(cymbals). The last two are either of Chinese or European origin.
Occasions or purposes for playing the tagongko include sending off or welcoming
dignitaries, honorific serving of betelquid, and wedding celebrations. Tagongko
players go at the head of the parade either on foot or aboard a vehicle or motorboat.
The tagongko is also played in ceremonies called kalilang sa tong
to appeal to the spirits for a bountiful harvest or for a rich catch of fish.
The kapanirong is a serenade (from the root
word sirong which means "to go beside a house") by a group of young
bachelors who would come to a maiden's house and play their music by the window. The
house occupants would then invite the serenaders into the house and in the ensuing
merrymaking some courtship could take place among the young. The instrumental
ensemble consists of a two-stringed guitar or lute called kotiyapi, a bamboo
flute called insi, a bamboo harp called kobing, a two-stringed bamboo
tube zither called sirongaganding, and a brass tray called tintik.
Outside of the kapanirong, these instruments can be played separately and
(Source: The Maranao Man. Mindanao Art and Culture, Number Four
(1980); Marawi City: University Research Center, Mindanao State University; 130pp.)