Search for Musica Filipina y Antigua

Because there has been a sense of urgency lately to document Philippine music sources, I just created a goggle e-group Musica Filipina y Antigua, which is to be devoted to discussions about Philippine music sources (compositions in manuscript or printed form).

Source Study in the Philippines is still in the stage of infancy. Historical musicologist Corazon Dioquino did her contribution in compiling non-music sources in the past. It’s about time that music historians focus on the discipline’s most important research object: the music itself.

David Irving mentioned in his book that there are Philippine music sources during the second half of 19th century. But where can these be found? The only thing that has been found so far is the set of Franciscan cantorals printed by Parra in 1870s that Sandy Chua documented. Then, we have the famous 19th century Philippine danza La Flor de Manila (1872) (Sampaguita) which has been dubiously attributed to Dolores Paterno, the sister of that famous ilustrado and statesman Pedro Paterno. But where are the others? Those by creollos? Was Blas Echegoyen, a music teacher at Manila Cathedral Tiple School and the owner of the biggest music store in Manila (La Lira), a creollo?

This is a challenge. After the first music theory tutor book in Tagalog (1880s) by a priest Jose Zamora from Sampaloc Manila was published, one enters a more active period of music printing in the Philippines. Judging from extant sheet music by Julio Nakpil now conserved in the University of the Philippines College of Music library, local music printing thrived in Manila. However, it is not clear to me whether the entry of international music printing companies from Germany, France, and Philadelphia may have to do with it. But in what way? What we know from meager evidence is that there were Filipino compositions that got published by these international music printing companies for global distribution a decade after 1890s. Meanwhile, it was within these two decades (1890s to 1900s) that Marcelo Adonay composed his mature works, some of which are extant, as documented by Elena Mirano. Then, from this period, before the University of the Philippines gained hegemony in the field of music composition in the Philippines (beginning 1920s), we also have the works by creollo Jose Estella who was educated in Madrid Conservatory. But where can Estella manuscripts be found?

 

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