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Copy of MUSIC OF THE CORDILLERA PEOPLE OF NORTHERN PHILIPPINES
Transcript of Copy of MUSIC OF THE CORDILLERA PEOPLE OF NORTHERN PHILIPPINES
And one more thing...
Cordillera musical instruments is made up two kinds of materials, metals and bamboos. The flat metal gongs are used for more communal rituals, while the bamboo instruments are for more intimate rituals.
Gongs and Bamboos
a VIEW FROM bONTOK
The Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) is a region in the Philippines composed of the provinces of Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga and Mountain Province, as well as Baguio City, the regional center. The Cordillera Administrative Region encompasses most of the areas within the Cordillera Central mountains of Luzon, the largest mountain range in the country. It is the country's only land-locked region. The region is home to numerous indigenous tribes collectively called the Igorot.
Cordillera, a name given by the Spanish Conquistadors when they first saw the mountain ranges. Meaning "knotted rope", the Spanish term refers to the jumbled rolls and dips of this long-range traversing the northern part of Luzon Island.
Today, if one is to generalize one of the six ethno-linguistic tribes as an "Igorot" is considered degrading. Living amidst the rice terraces that tower over Northern Luzon are a people whose way of life existed long before any Spaniard or other foreigners stepped foot on the Philippines. The Bontoc, Ifugao, Benguet, Apayo, and the Kalinga tribes reign over Luzon's mountain terrain.
kalleleng, nose flutes
Gungsa or gangsa are flat sided lipped gongs classified as of the suspended type, though they are often played horizontally on the thighs. They are common in the Cordillera highlands of Luzon in the northern Philippines.
Most gungsa are brass although some more recent ones, especially from the end of the 19th century, are cast iron. The iron ones are generally considered inferior to the "gold" ones.
Gungsa are endemic throughout the Cordilleras in Luzon, the main island of the northern Philippines. They seem to have been there for centuries, and some families still treasure family heirlooms from 8 or 9 generations ago. These parts of the Philippines were not subdued by the Spanish during their four century claim over the Philippines.
Fukkien traders appear to have been active in the Cordilleras before the Spanish imperium, and to have continued through the Spanish attempts to rule. Current thinking is the Fukkien traders brought the flat sided lipped gongs from China to sell to the Cordillera people who paid in gold.
Gungsa are usually found in sets of five or six, based on the pentatonic scale. They can be tuned by an expert with a hammer. Sets of eight or more are also common, but are still based on the pentatonic scale also thought to have been brought from China.
Current (2008) retail price in Baguio City for a new set of five in brass is about 78,000 pesos.
The people of Mountain Province use gungsa during all major traditional celebrations and its use does not seem in danger of being lost. In the more remote barios of Kalinga Province, gungsa are still essential for all community celebrations, unless someone has died recently, when the gungsa remain silent.
Methods of playing gungsa vary from tribe to tribe and can be quite intricate when played by masters. Unlike the Southern Philippines, playing gongs in the Cordilleras is a male duty. Girls are often taught to play gungsa at school, alongside the boys, but do not play at community functions. They usually dance to the sound of the gungsa.
John Fowler, P.O. Box 612, Pahoa, Hawaii 96778 - Phone 808-965-9216 - Fax 808-965-5606
Property of Lowie Museum of Anthropology
University of California, Berkeley.