The music of the Philippines has three major influences. They consist of indigenous, Spanish and American influences. Indigenous Filipino music was vocal. It reflected a rural life away from the cities. Instruments merged with vocal music through the art of dance. Dancers would dance and the audience would sing folk lyrics.
Traditional Filipino Music
Ferdinand Magellan died in 1521 on Mactan Island which is part of the central Visayan Philippines. Although he died upon arrival, he brought about 380 years of Spanish dominance over the Philippines, and the advent of Spanish music to the islands. This period is when musical instruments became widely used in the country. The era is tied to the religous conversion of the population. What evolved was a version of Filipino music that was a mixture of their indigenous songs with Spanish songs and instruments. The music became mostly religious and connected to the Catholic liturgy or religious life outside of the church.
Modern Filipino Music
From about 1898 until 1946, Americans culture was brought to the Philippines, and Filipino music continued its transformation. American influence brought a public school system. Music was taught in schools, including universities and conservatories. Graduates began writing their music in western forms. American culture also resulted in Filipinos writing in the form of western pop music. Often called Pinoy pop, it includes folk songs, ballads, rock, electronic, jazz and rap. Filipino music is now heavily influenced by American music, and it continues to evolve further.
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