4th Brown Bag Research Fora: Understanding the Maguindanaoan Kulintang Music

With research entitled “When Gongs Speak: Performance and Communication in Maguindanaoan Kulintang Music,” UP Manila College of Arts and Sciences held its 5th Brown Bag Research Fora 2016 with Professor Juliet Bien as speaker. The event was sponsored by the Department of Arts and Communications (DAC).

Kulintang music, particularly among the Maguindanaoan people, is a living testament to the rich cultural heritage and history of the Philippines. Accordingly, it represents the highest form of gong music attained by Filipinos.

“Through the research and study of the music, the audience will be enlightened as to how this particular type of music, as well as other forms of ethnic music serve, an important function in today’s society,” said Assistant Professor Alice Adeva, Chair of  DAC during her opening message. “I, for one, am very interested in the topic as I teach communications and this subject demonstrates how the fields of arts, music and communications merge to send a message.  So we will look beyond simply hearing melodies or sounds of different kind of musical instruments and appreciate the purpose it serves,” she further explained.

According to Professor Bien, Kulintang music can be used for communicating long distance messages as well as expressing sentiments and feelings. It is also used in courtships due to the nature of Islamic custom. “In real life, when Magiuinaoans play the Kulintang, they can transmit messages to each other. But since I’m not a Maguindanaoan, I will just explain the music structure and how it is understood,” she said. To supplement her lecture, Professor Bien presented videos from her Kulintang teacher and actually demonstrated the playing of the instrument with the participation of DAC students.

The research forum is an opportunity for the faculty members of the College of Arts and Sciences to present their research topics. “We want to show to faculty, employees and students, that in order to make our teaching more relevant, we need to accomplish additional researches and at the same time serve the public,” CAS Dean Leonardo R. Estacio Jr. stated.

The next Brown Bag Research Fora will be held on September 22, 2016 and will be sponsored by the Department of Physical Sciences and Mathematics (DPSM). It is organized by the Manila Studies Program (MSP), the research arm of CAS.  Why brown bag? Professor Glen L. Sia Su, MSP coordinator answered with a gist “You bring your own food.”

 Writing and photo: Dina A. Estanislao​