Filipino folk songs as Part of the Philippine Culture and Identity
Philippine or the Filipino folk songs form part of the whole Filipino culture and identity.
And for someone who wants to understand the Filipino culture, then a look at the folk songs of the country should be in order. The folk songs and the music in generally reflect the everyday life of the common folks in the country, rather than the day-to-day activities. If the old folk songs are to be analyzed, the lyrics of the folk songs tell stories and these are the stories of the common folks in the provinces, their simple lives and how they go about with their everyday lives. And just like with the many folk songs of many Asian countries, the lyrics and the topics of these folk songs are linked to nature. The popularity of the Philippine music and its folksongs is only a testament to how great the Filipino musicians are. When understanding the music and partly the lyrics of these folksongs, then a look at the vocal music and the vocal style should be in order. The vocal part is an important part in the study of the folk songs of the country.
Now according to experts like Mauricia Borromeo, the folk songs in the Philippines can be categorized in to three categories.
. Western-type folk songs
. Narrative Psalm
. Secular Songs from Indigenous Groups
The Western-inspired folksongs according to Borromeo are inspired by Western influences and music and these folk songs are characterized by many features;
. Singable melody
. Syllabically set stanzaic text
. Simple structure
. Major and minor tonalities
. Duple or triple in meter and
. Use of simple harmonies
The folk song of the country is heavily influenced by Spain and Mexico and this is true because the country is under the rule of Spain for more than 300 years. And these kinds of music can be expected in areas where Spain control is heavy. Songs are also relatively easy to perform and even the untrained voice can perform these folk songs. These songs are traditionally between six to eleven tones. These folk songs are known for its relaxed nature and these songs are sung with the use of the easy voice. The Western-inspired folksongs of the country may fall under the corridor or the awit. The corridor will have four lines of eight syllables each and the awit will have four lines of 12 syllables each. Western-inspired folksongs are also characterized to be strophic. This means that the melody is used in every stanza. The Western-inspired folksongs are known for the use of the duple and the triple meter. And finally these type of folk songs are commonly accompanied by the guitar.
Another category for the Philippine folksongs is the native psalm type. This category of folksongs is less frequently used but still an important part of the culture. The lengthy mellismas are under this category. The folksongs under this category may be hard for the average singer. The last category of folksongs is the secular songs from the indigenous groups. The folksongs under this category bear much resemblance to the other traditional songs that can be found in the Orient. There are many examples of Filipino folk songs and every region in the country have its own popular folksongs. Of the many folksongs in the country, 'Bahay Kubo', 'Paru parong Bukid and 'Magtanim ay di Biro' can be considered as three of the most popular:
Bahay kubo, kahit munti
Ang halaman doon ay sari-sari,
Singkamas at talong Sigarilyas at mani
Sitaw, bataw, patani
Kundol, patola, upo't kalabasa
At saka meron pang
Bawang at luya
Sa paligid nito puno ng linga.
Paruparong bukid na lilipad-lipad
Sa gitna ng daan papagapagaspas
Isang bara ang tapis
Isang dangkal ang manggas
Ang sayang de kola
Isang piyesa ang sayad
May payneta pa siya -- uy!
May suklay pa mandin -- uy!
Nagwas de-ohetes ang palalabasin
Haharap sa altar at mananalamin
At saka lalakad na pakendeng-kendeng.
Magtanim ay Di Biro
Magtanim ay di biro
Di naman makatayo
Di naman makaupo
Halina, halina mga kaliyag
Magpanibago tayo ng lakas
Para sa araw ng bukas
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