Contemporary Philippine Music: Characteristics and Classifications

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13 Questions

Who among the composers is known for combining electronic components with indigenous Philippine music elements in their compositions?


Which composer was appointed as Professor Emeritus at the UP Center of Ethnomusicology?


Who received the John D. Rockefeller Award for Music Composition in 1977?

Francisco Feliciano

Which composer invested their works with a deep sense of Filipinism?

Francisco Feliciano

Which composer is associated with a musical style that includes Chromaticism and Music seria?


Which composer is known for incorporating Philippines folk elements with Western forms and harmony?

Lucio San Pedro

Who is considered as a composer in the romantic style with hazy tones, dissonance, and unusual chordal combinations in their compositions?

Nicanor Abelardo

Which composer was the first National Artist for Music in the Philippines?

Antonio Molina

Who is known as the First Filipino Avant-garde composer?

Jose Maceda

Which composer demonstrated a fusion of Eastern and Western styles in using instruments, melody, harmony, and rhythm?

Lukresia Kasilag

Who wrote the orchestral composition 'Suite Pastorale' best representing Philippines folk elements with Western forms and harmony?

Lucio San Pedro

'Malik Mata' was composed by which traditional composer?

Antonio Molina

'Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika' is a composition by which contemporary composer known for syncopation and extended chords?

Ryan Cayabyab

Study Notes

Traditional Filipino Composers

  • Characteristics of Contemporary Philippine Music:
    • Fewer lyrical melodies than other periods
    • Dissonant harmonies
    • Complex rhythms
    • Percussiveness
    • Greater use of percussion, brass, and woodwind
    • Uses synthetic and electric sounds

Nicanor Abelardo (1893-1934)

  • Music Style: European romanticism with chromaticism
  • Considered a romantic style composer
  • Compositions include:
    • Mutya ng Pasig
    • Nasaan Ka Irog
    • Cavatina for Violoncello
    • Magbalik ka Hirang
  • Awards/Achievements:
    • “Triumvirate of Filipino Composers”

Antonio Molina (1894-1980)

  • Music Style: Product of Romantic and Impressionist schools
  • Dynamics and harmonies of Debussy
  • Romantic style in his melody
  • Impressionist work in Malik Mata (Transfiguration)
  • Compositions include:
    • Hatinggabi
    • Orchestral Music: Misa Antoniana, Grand Festival Mass, and Ang Batingaw
    • Chamber Music: String Quartet, Kung sa Iyong Gunita, and Pandangguhan
    • Vocal Music: Amihan, Awit ni Maria Clara, and Larawan Nitong Pilipinas
  • Awards/Achievements:
    • First National Artist for Music
    • “Triumvirate of Filipino Composers”

Lucio San Pedro (1913-2002)

  • Music Style: Philippines folk elements with Western forms and harmony
  • Rich expressive tonality
  • Known as a “romantic nationalist”
  • Orchestral composition: Suite Pastorale (1956)
  • Awards/Achievements:
    • 1991: National Artist for Music

Ryan Cayabyab (born 1954)

  • Music Style: Popular contemporary composer
  • Syncopation, extended chords, and chromatic harmony
  • Compositions include:
    • Classical Compositions: Misa, Four Poems for Soprano and Piano, and Te Deum
    • Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika (1978)
    • The Modern Zarzuela Alikabok (2003)
    • The Opera Spoliarium
  • Awards/Achievements:
    • Produced numerous recordings
    • Currently an in-demand professor, musical director, composer, arranger, and conductor

New Music Composers

Jose Maceda (1917-2004)

  • Musical Style: Western-style composition
  • Combined environmental sounds with ethnic instruments
  • Preservation of Filipino traditional music
  • Compositions include:
    • Ugma-ugma (1963)
    • Agungan (1975)
    • Pagsamba (1968)
    • Udlot-udlot
    • Ugnayan (1974)
  • Awards/Achievements:
    • First Filipino Avant-garde composer
    • 1997: National Artist for Music

Lukresia Kasilag (1918-2008)

  • Musical Style: Fusion of Eastern and Western styles
  • Incorporation of indigenous instruments into orchestral productions
  • Influenced by her professors
  • Compositions include:
    • Toccato for Percussion and Winds (1959)
    • Divertissement and Concertane (1960)
    • The Legend of Sarimanok (1963)
    • Dularawan (1969)
  • Awards/Achievements:
    • Former Dean, College of Music and Fine Arts (Philippine Women’s University)
    • President, Cultural Center of the Philippines
    • 1989: National Artist for Music

Ramon P. Santos (1941-present)

  • Musical Style: Chromaticism, musica seria, and electronic components
  • Combining indigenous Philippine music elements
  • Compositions include:
    • Ding Ding Nga Diyawa
    • Nabasag na Banga at Iba’t iba pang Pinagugpong-ugpong na Pananalita sa Wikang Pilipino
    • L’BAD
  • Awards/Achievements:
    • Appointed Professor Emeritus (UP Center of Ethnomusicology)
    • 2014: National Artist for Music

Francisco Feliciano (1942-2014)

  • Musical Style: Avant-garde composer and conductor for band and chorus
  • Deep sense of Filipinism in his works
  • Known for liturgical piece
  • Compositions include:
    • Transfiguration and Missa Mysterium
    • Pokpok Alimpako
    • Salimbayan
    • Umiinog
    • Walang Tinag
  • Awards/Achievements:
    • 1977: John D. Rockefeller Award for Music Composition
    • 2014: National Artist for Music

Explore the characteristics and classifications of Contemporary Philippine Music, including the adoption of 20th-century art music ideas and elements. Learn about the unique features such as dissonant harmonies, complex rhythms, and the use of percussion and synthetic sounds.

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