A Comparison of Music of the Philippines and Sulawesi
By: Mohammad Amin Abdullah
The comparison of the instruments between the two geographical areas will be based on the Sach Hornbostel classification of musical instruments. Therefore, the idiophone, aerophone, chordophone and membranophone instruments will be discussed in succession.
An examination of music from ensemble will follow with classification according to the most prominent instruments in the ensemble. For example, kolintang (Sulawesi)/kulintang (Mindanao)/ kulintangan (Sulu) ensemble which can be found in the two areas will be categorized as idiophone instruments while musikung bungbung in the Philippines or musik bambu in Sulawesi will be categorized as aerophone instruments. Vocal music also will be discussed since it plays a significant part in the musical life of both societies. The musical characteristic and cultural context of vocal music will be the starting point to investigate the similarities. Moreover, the meaning of music in culture and the aesthetic of music also will be compared and contrasted.
This topic could be vague since the historical spread of instruments and music can not be confined by national borders. As we know, many modern nation states in Southeast Asia such as the Philippines and Indonesia are not based on the similarity of culture but according to divisions imposed by colonization.
However, this topic is also unique since little attention has been paid to the music in the eastern part of Indonesia such as the regions of Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Maluku which include over one hundred minority ethnic groups. The most fascinating aspects of this study probably will be realized where there is a similarity in the instruments but differences in the way they are played since the locations are contiguous but have different histories. This paper may serve as a stepping stone to serious research about the relationship between the two areas or the spread of musical culture in the archipelagos of Southeast Asia.
Of the available texts concerning this topic, there is only one book written in English by Kaudern, which specifically discusses instruments from Sulawesi Island. Written as a result of an expedition, the book is entitled “Musical Instruments in
Celebes” . Other written resources are from cursory research issued by Indonesian government such as Ensiklopedi Musik Indonesia. In contrast, the music of the Philippines have been discussed by many scholars either Pilipino scholar such as Jose Maceda, Ricardo Trimillos, Usopay Cadar, Danongan S Kalanduyan or outsider scholar such as Steven Walter Otto and so forth.
Since Sulawesi is divided into five provinces and consists of many different ethnic groups, it is difficult to cover all the ethnic groups in Sulawesi. However, this paper will not only emphasize music from Central Sulawesi but will also discuss music from the Northern and Southern parts of Sulawesi. This will make the paper more comprehensive as likewise the music from the Philippines will be represented by music from the Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao areas.
I. Historical Background Relationship between Sulawesi and the Philippines
Sulawesi, also known as Celebes, is one of the five big islands in Indonesia. Located in the central part of Indonesia, this island is divided into six provinces, which are South Sulawesi, North Sulawesi, Central Sulawesi, Gorontalo, Southeast Sulawesi and the new province, West Sulawesi, which was declared on 16 Oct 2004 (See figure 1).
Unlike Java Island, Sulawesi consists of various small ethnic groups which are different from each other. The ethnic groups in North Sulawesi are the Bolaang Mongondow, Minahasa, and Sanger Talaud while Gorontalonese have their own province now. The Kaili, Kulawi, Buol, Toli-Toli, Lore, Bungku, Mori, Bada, Banggai Balantak, Saluan and Tomini live in Central Sulawesi. Ethnic group in Southeast Sulawesi are the Tolaki, Moronene, Wuna and Buton, while Bugis, Makassar, and Toraja live in South Sulawesi. West Sulawesi is dominated by the Mandar ethnic group. These ethnic groups some times can be divided into sub ethnic groups.
Separated by the Sulawesi Sea, both Sulawesi and the Philippines received limited influence from Hinduism and Buddhism. Therefore, the remnants of animist traditions can be found in both places. In the Moslem area, the relationship between the two areas was probably flourished during the period which Anthony Reid refers to as ‘the age of commerce’. This term refers to the period from the 15th to 17th century, an era when the commerce linkages among islands in Southeast Asia became very active compared with other centuries. At that time, the Malay language was used as a means of communication among the Moslem traders. This is the reason why they self identified as Malays without considering whether their ancestors might be Javanese, Mon, Indian, Chinese, or Filipino.
In the global economy of the 18th century, the area of Sulu and Sulawesi Sea was considered a ‘borderless world’. Also known as the “Sulu Zone”, the area is a region consisting of “multi-ethnic pre colonial Malayo-Muslims” in northern and eastern part of Kalimantan, most of Sulawesi and Southern part of the Philippines. James Warren points out that the period from1768 to 1848 was the period when commerce in the region flourished and the cultures of the people of the zone were fluid.
The Buginese of Kutai (east Kalimantan) imported salt, tobacco, cotton cloth, opium, chapa, and other staples against bird’s nest, tripang, gold and other rattans. They also brought firearms and gunpowder for transshipment to Sulu. Prahus (perahu or boat) from the Bugis settlement of Kylie (Kaili, Centrtal Sulawesi) on the northwest coast of Celebes, brought coconuts, salt, and sugar. From Sulu came salt, cloth, and slaves.
Iranun who came from Southern Mindanao, sailed along the coast of Kalimantan, reaching the satellite port of Tontoli (Toli-Toli, Central Sulawesi). Located on the northwest corner of Sulawesi, Toli-Toli was the major port of Iranun in Sulawesi and Maluku. Some of the prahus continued their sail to Makassar Strait while other went to the north coast of the Island and arrived at Tomini Gulf and Maluku. Other prahus went directly to the Southeast, sailing along Sangir Island and the northern tip of Sulawesi. Buton Group, Selayar Strait and Bone gulf were places where the Iranun’s fleet moved from one area to another area in Southern Sulawesi. (See figure 2)
Colonization and western influences differed in the Philippines and in Sulawesi. Spanish colonization and Christianization began in 1521 in the Philippines. In North Sulawesi, western influences began in 1563, especially in the area of Manado Tua and Sangihe Talaud. Interaction with the Portuguese was not only limited to trading activity , but also to Christian missionary activity. In the 17th century the Spanish came to the area through the Philippines while the Dutch came to the area from Ternate in the 17th century. North Sulawesi is the area in Sulawesi where the influence of western and Christian culture is stronger compare to other areas.
In South Sulawesi the arrival of Portuguese was in 1538 and the Dutch in 1601. However, this area is known as an established Muslim stronghold area. Therefore, Christian and Western influence is significant in Toraja or in the highland area. In Central Sulawesi, the Spanish probably have arrived at the beginning of the 17th century and left in 1663. The Dutch came and replaced the Portuguese and Spanish in 1667. The Poso region and the highland in Central Sulawesi such as Kulawi were areas open to Christian influence. As a result, these areas have their music characteristic different from lowland or Moslem areas. In Southeast Sulawesi, the Spanish and Portuguese are said to have been presented in the 16 century but there is no authentic data to support this statement. The Dutch came in the 17th century to the Buton Kingdom during the reign of Sultan Buton IV Dayanu Ikhsanuddin.
Present day, the relationship between the two areas is still close. One of the Philippines’s consulate general is located in Manado. There are two flights every week between Manado – Davao. Effective on February 1, 2004, the Indonesia government introduced some new regulations in the national visa-free for 60-day stay for 48 nations, including Filipinos.
In conclusion there is close relationship between Sulawesi and the Philippines which probably began from the 15th century until now. The two areas were influenced by western differently. The next section examines the comparison of music in the two areas.
III. The Comparison of Music
Kolintang is the generic term to identify an ensemble, which is characterized by small gongs in a row, which lead the melody and are accompanied by a drum and several sizeable gongs. Kolintang music emphasizes rhythmic mode, which means different rhythm determines different music. Each instrument in Kolintang music has different rhythm. Played simultaneously, this creates music which has many rhythms and various layers. Kolintang music does not pay much attention to the scale, but focuses on the rhythm instead.
In the southern part of the Philippines, Mindanao, kulintang consists of eight small knobbed gongs laid in a single row. The drum is called dbakan or dadabuan, which refers to the goblet-shaped drum which functions to give emphasis to the melody. The gongs are divided into Agong and Babndir. Agong consists of two gongs, p’nanggisaan (play the basic beat) and p’malsan (play ornament to p’nanggisaan). Babndir , a medium size gongs, has functions ‘either as a cross between the drum and agong parts, or as a simplified emphasis of the smallest phrase unit melody’.
Kolintang ensemble in Maguindanao has instruments similar to those in Mindanao. However, in Maguindanao, the ensemble uses gandingan, four little gongs of graduated sizes. Considered the second melody instruments in ensemble, the gandingan has functions to ‘feature or highlight the rhythmic’.
In the Sulu archipelago, kolintang can be found in Tausug, Yakan and Sama-Bajao. Kolintangan is the term used to identify the same instrument in Tausug of Jolo. However, in contrast with the Mindanao ensemble, in Tausug the number of small gongs can reach up to eleven. In Yakan, the number of instruments called tagunggu is five. In the Sama-Bajao area, the kulintangan music has close relationship with dance. Played by two players, a kolintangan consists of seven to nine gongs.
In North Sulawesi, Kaudern used the term kolintang music in North Sulawesi to refer to music accompanying the mongolong , matarek and war-dance of Minahasanese. Figure 120 of his book (See figure 2) , shows the picture of a kolintang ensemble, which consists of a set of small two rows knobbed gong, one gong, two drums and one flute. However, there is not much information about the kolintang itself. According to Yampolsky, in the old days, kolintang or gong culture could be found in Gorontalo.
Nowadays, the term kolintang refers to the slab key instruments, which are made from wood. However, according to Kartomi, this term formerly refers to the set of bossed kettle gong, which could not found anymore. The Minahasanese use the term kolintang to identify the modern xylophone ensemble made from wood. Using well tempered tuning; this ensemble become very popular in Indonesia as representation of music from Minahasanese in North Sulawesi. As a result, kolintang has become a floating term in Indonesia.
However, within Bolaang Mongondow ethnic group, kolintang as a gong ensemble still survives. Known as a Moslem society, the music is played by Mongondowese for the wedding (toki hajat perkawinan) or funeral of noble families. The ensemble consists of the gong row five kettles, a hanging gong called banding and a pair of headed drum which is played horizontally.
In Central Sulawesi, kolintang as bossed gong instrument is found also especially among the Kailinese and Toli-toli ethnic group. Kolintang has another name in Central Sulawesi which is kakula or kakula nuada. I believed this is a term used since at the end of 20th century to differentiate with the “kolintang” ensemble in Minahasanese. M Djaruddin Abdullah, a coastal Kaili’s historian used the term kolintang and kakula interchangeably in his book, Mengenal Tanah Kaili issued in 1975.
This instrument is played at certain rituals such as nokeso (growing up ritual), posuna (circumcision) and noboti, (wedding ceremony). Occasionally it is played in a private house of the mother of the bride or bridegroom, called tina nu boti. Having a loud sound, which can be heard from distance, kakula music is used to announce that there will be a party at the place where it is played.
In addition to the kakula traditional ensemble, the Central Sulawesi government has developed a new ensemble, a kakula kreasi. This began in 1957, when some instruments were added to enrich the sound of the ensemble. The scale of modern kakula tends to resemble well-tempered western music. The modern kakula has different functions such as accompanying new songs and dances, which are used in Central Sulawesi government activities.
The kakula kreasi, supported by the government, has become the representation of Kailinese identity at the national level. Surprisingly, the regional government in Toli-Toli and Luwuk also imitated the idea of kakula kreasi. The idea of kakula kreasi developed by expanding kakula Nuada but not to replace or change the function and the nature of the old ensemble. Kakula kreasi is different from kakula nuada as it is played on the stage and not for ritual purposes.
What makes the significant difference is the scale change from locational tuning to an absolute tuning system. However, the idea of pentatonicity is still can be found in kakula kreasi. The fourth and the seventh note are the only passing note in many pieces in kakula kreasi.
Xylophone is also found in the two areas. Among the Tausug and Yakan in the Philippines, the instrument is called gabbang. Played for solo and also as accompaniment to dances and songs, the number of blades varies from five in Yakan and thirteen in Tausug. Interestingly, in Tausug the mallet is in the shape of a little bird.
In Kailinese, Central Sulawesi, the instrument is called gamba-gamba. The instrument can be made from bamboo, wooden or brass keys. The last one is used to enrich the sound in kakula kreasi by using the absolute tuning scale. In Buol, (Kaudern wrote Bwool, North Sulawesi) the instrument is made from wooden which has five slab keys. In North Sulawesi, As I have already mentioned, the xylophone ensemble becomes “kolintang”, one of the ethnic identity of Minahasanese in music.
In Mandarese West Sulawesi, the instrument is called calong. The number of blades is six which is made from bamboo. Interestingly, the resonator is made from coconut shell. Using non diatonic scale, the instrument is used with other instruments such as kanjilo.
In Southeast Sulawesi, the xylophone is placed on the lap of the player who straightens out his/her leg. Made from wood, the instrument is played to accompany dance or to chase away the birds when the harvest season. The name of the instrument is kalo kalado in Kendari, Matotou in Muna, Latou-tou in Kendari, and ndengi-ndengi in Moronene. Has the same nature with kalo kalado, in Makassar the instrument is called taning-taning.
3. Bamboo Buzzer
Bamboo buzzer is commonly found in the Philippines and Sulawesi. In the Philippines the instrument is found in Kalingga and is called balingbing. Schadenberg reported that he found bamboo buzzer in the Luzon area in 1889, while in 1906, Densmore reported bamboo buzzer in Igorot called boenkakan. Kaudern mentioned that the tongue of the instrument is similar with that in Central Sulawesi.
In Gorontalo the instrument is called palo-palo or popalo or nere. The Gorontalonese developed the instrument into an ensemble in which the tuning become absolute tuning to produce accord and melody of a song. The ensemble consist not only palo-palo but also the double headed drum, bamboo flute, string bass, the lead singer and the 3 chorus singers.
In Central Sulawesi this instrument is called onomatopoetically pare’e, (Kaili) reeree (Mori), poree (Kulawi) which is found both in the lowland and highlands area. The instrument is used to accompany kayori songs or growing up rituals. Since the instrument is well known and can be found in all ethnic groups in this area, Kaudern suggests using the generic term reeree. He ignored western terminology such as aufschlaggabel (Sachs), bambusschlagel (Meyer and Schandenberg) Bamboe harp (Kruijt) or musical clapper (Balfour). Interestingly, the term rere is used also in Cordillera area in the Philippines to identify the name for the same instrument.
In North Sulawesi, Bolaang Mongondow is the area where the instrument can be found. Even though the instrument is found in Sangir Talaud, Kaudern was unsure whether the instrument was the original of the area. He predicted that the instrument came from Central Sulawesi.
In Toraja the instrument is called dongga with the distinct feature being its four springy tongues. In Bugis the instrument is called lae-lae and sea-sea while in Southeast Sulawesi it is known as oore ntula (Moronene), ore-ore nggowuna (Kolaka). In the Leiden museum, there is an old bamboo buzzer made in 1915 which is called rere.
1. Musikung bumbung or Musik Bambu
The idea to imitate a wind orchestra or a brass band by using bamboo material can be found in the Philippines, Minahasanese, Sangir Talaud in North Sulawesi, Poso, Kulawi, and Toli-Toli in Central Sulawesi and Toraja in South Sulawesi. For the Sanger Talaud and the Minahasanesse, musik bambu is also becomes one of their musical ethnic identities beside ‘kolintang’. In Toraja, this instrument is called pa’pompang or pa’bas which is usually played by students for religious Christian activity and national song.
In North Sulawesi there are three types of orchestra: Orkes bamboo melulu (all the instrument made from bamboo), orkes bamboo seng (some of the instruments made by bamboo and zinc) and orkes bamboo klarinet (the instruments is made from bamboo and brass). Orkes bamboo melulu in Sanger Talaut is more complicated than that in Minahasa. While both orchestras use small flute (suling), large flute, and horn, the orchestra in Sanger also consists of trombone, saxophone, trumpets and bass. The music is played at least by 40 players but I have seen the orchestra in Minahasa which had around a hundred players.
2. Jaws harp
In the Philippines, the Jaws harp is not only found in Moslem societies but also in the highlands areas or in Visayas and Luzon areas. In Maguindanao and Maranao the instrument is called kubing while in Yakan it is known also kulaing.
According to Kaudern, the jaws harp is the most representative native of all instruments in the Dutch East Indies (East Indonesia). The type from Sulawesi is similar in the Malay region which is called rahmenmaultrommel by Sachs. Kaudern wrote that the instrument is found in Mongondow and Lamala (Luwuk) and Kulawi.
In Kailinese the jaws harp is called yori. In Southeast Sulawesi, the instrument is made from sugar palm-leaf. It is known as Karinta by the Munanese, Ore-ore mbondu, or ore Ngkale by the Butonese. In Toraja, a jaws harp is made from bamboo. With the length of about 20cm, the instrument is called karombi.
3. Ring Flute
A similar name identifying one instrument among the regions is the ring flute. In Tausug, Maguindanao, Yakan, Bilaan and Tiruray the instrument is called Suling. In Ata the ring flute is called lantey, while in Bukidnon it is called kinsi. In Higanon it is called dagoyong, and in Maranao it is called insi.
In Kailinese the instrument is called suli while in Toraja it is called passuling. The technique used in producing the music is circular breaths. While in Mindanao and Sulu the music is for self-entertainment, in Sulawesi the instrument is used also in the ensemble. For example, in Kailinese the ring flute is played in the Dadendate ensemble or kakula kreasi ensemble while in Minahasanese it is played in musik bambu. In Bolaang Mongondoow, the instrument is called bangsi which is an end blown flute. Bangsi can produce four notes and another note is produced by over blown.
In South Sulawesi, there are two kinds of suling: one which is played horizontally and another which is played vertically. While Bugis Makassar’s suling is only 60 cm, Suling lembang Toraja can reach until 90 cm. This instrument also can be found in Kailinese which is called suling lalove.
1. Western Guitar
In the Christian areas, since both areas were influenced and colonized by different countries, it is interesting to examine how the Filipino and Sulawesinese adopt the musical culture differently. They both played the western guitar but produce different music.
In the Philippines, strongly influenced by Spanish, the guitars used for rondalla music are bandurya, laud, oktavina (short necked, wasted lute with strings in courses; three strings have the same pitch to make tremolo easier), gitara, and Bajo de Unyas. The characteristic of rondalla music is the shift from mayor to minor or vice versa, using the triple meter, and the vocal quality is bel canto.
In North Sulawesi the western guitar is used for keroncong karembangan music which was influenced by the Portuguese. In complete formation, the band consists of guitar for melody, ukulele, and guitar for bass which is called kendangan as it imitates the kendang (the Javanese drum in Gamelan) rhythm. Guitar in karambangan has specific tuning which is called los quin. Formerly the music is called keroncong bunga which refer to the characteristic of the music that is the solo melody guitar part. The progression of accord is simply I IV V. The string used, suasa, is believed to have magical powers that can make a young lady fall in love with the karembangan player.
The characteristic of karembangan music especially in the Poso area in Central Sulawesi is the use of duple meter, lack of shifting mode and most of the song using major mode. The singers in Karambangan use in the middle between counter corpse and “pop” style of singing and some times the texture is homophony by using parallel third between male and female singers. In South Sulawesi, or the Mandar ethnic group, the music is called sayang-sayang . Man and female sing alternately to each other making flirtatious dialog song. Interestingly, the music is associated with keroncong music in Java.
The genre reminds us of the composo, improvised dialog story telling accompanied by string band in the Tagalog region or Balitaw improvised dialog song from Leyte Visayan region. The simple accord progression is found in both music. The rhythm is duple except for the waltz rhythm in Balitaw.
Long neck lute is one of the characteristic instruments in the two areas. In the Philippines it can be found in Mindanao (piyapi), Higaunen of Misamis Oriental (kudiyapi), and Maranao (kutyapi). The idea of zoomorphism in the long neck lute in the Philippines is imitating crocodile.
Kecapi is the general term for the boat lute instrument in Central and South Sulawesi. Imitating the shape of the boat and having close connection with maritime culture, the instrument is found in Bugis, Makassar, Toraja, Mandar and Kailinese. While in Kailinese the name of the instrument is only kecapi, in South Sulawesi the name is differs among the ethnic groups. Therefore, it is known as Kecapi Bugis, Kecapi Makassar and Kecapi Mandar. All of the instruments in the area are used to accompany the singer.
Kecapi Bugis ensemble is played to accompany narrative song. Interestingly, the comic and acrobatic movement from the kecapi player is part of the performance feature. In addition to traditional style, there is also modern style or kreasi baru which began in 1970 known as Simfoni or Orkes kecapi. Consisting numerous kecapi , flute, drums and singers the music is arranged in the idiom of western music. This more complicated music is intended to appeal to urban people.
Without any clowning or acrobatic features, Kecapi Makassar ensemble consists of two singers who accompany them self with kacaping. Having limited number of narrative songs, their songs often depict comic stories. Kecapi Mandar’s performance also lack acrobatic performance. The music produced is totally different with Makassar kecapi. The text in kecapi mandar is narrative and non narrative text. Sung also by one or two women, in the old days the song depicted epic stories. In a performance there is talang, box of money, for the guests to show their appreciation by tipping the singers.
Similar with South Sulawesi, in Kailinese the instrument is used to accompany the long narrative song which is called Dadendate. The music comprises a series of songs that are sung by a man and woman alternately while each of them is playing two boat lutes. Use for entertainment, Dadendate music also comprises of mbasi-mbasi (small bamboo flute), gimba (double head drum) and jaws harp.
In Kendari or Kolaka in Southeast Sulawesi, the instrument is called kabosi which is similar with kecapi in terms of the body and function. In Muna the instrument is called kusapi.
In both areas, the fiddle is considered an important instrument in South Sulawesi that is used in sinrilli. One-stringed instrument, the fiddle is played by a singer who sings a narrative song. The name of the instrument is kesok-kesok, which is similar with geso-geso in Donggala and Poso in Central Sulawesi, pa’geso’geso in Toraja or kesok-kesok for Buginese.
According to Encyclopedic Music Indonesia, this instrument is probably the oldest instrument in Sulawesi. Kaudern mentioned in his book that gesso-geso is the simplest (primitive) instrument in Sulawesi. In the old days, sinrilik is an epic story which is sung through all night. Sinrilik also depicts love, sadness and anger.
There is not much information about the instrument in the Philippines. Maceda mentioned about duwagey, the spike fiddle instrument in Manobo Mindanao. There is also gitgit among the Hanubo on Mindoro Island.
Kaudern mentioned that almost all of the drums in Sulawesi, except for Rebana- a small single head hand drum are tubular drums. Most of them are cylinder and cup-shaped drums. Single head drum played vertically is found in Poso called tibubu, Kulawi, and Minahasa called tiwal. In Mongodow and Buol the instrument used for the call for prayer in the mosque is known as the mesigit drum. The single membrane drum in the Philippines can be found in Tausug which is called libbit and Maguindanao which is called dabakan – a single membrane goblet-shaped drum.
The double head drum played horizontally is also found in Sulawesi. Makassar is the area between Sulawesi and the Philippines where the double head drum is considered a very important instrument. Known as gandrang, the instrument is considered as sacred instrument and is used for ritual performance. The clamorous gandrang ensemble is also known for accompanying the most famous dance from the area, pakkarena. There are some other types of gandrang such as gandrang pabballe and gandrang tallu.
The double head drum can also be found in some areas. Gandang is used in both Tausug and Toraja while the term kanda is used in Kailinese in Central Sulawesi and ganda in Buton and Muna in Southeast Sulawesi.
The most different characteristic of vocal music between the two areas is the development of art song. In the lowland area of the Philippine, Kundiman, the art song of the Philippines is highly developed with its bel canto style of singing. In Sulawesi, there is almost no development of art song with the small exception for these used in the church for ritual purposes. Contrecorps singing style is commonly found in both areas especially in rural areas.
In Minahasanese, the song which is sung in the church is called kakantaren. The term used probably comes from the Portuguese word “cantare” which means to sing. This term is used to distinguish with songs for non-church activity such as rarambaan (to celebrate a new house), ooweyen (harvest time) mawalesan (a love poetry song), nooyen (song for working in the padi field)
Parallel third and fifth or homophony texture is commonly found in western-influenced area. In the Philippines, the song Maatua Kami, demonstrated the influence. In North Sulawesi and Poso region, karembangan music and many folk songs demonstrates the influence of homophony texture.
The music culture of Mori, Kulawi, Kaili and peninsula Banggai in the highland area of Central Sulawesi is various choral music. The music is used to accompany the communal round dance such as inolu, raego, rano, dero, ende, taro, osulen. Singing for circle agriculture ritual or for village ceremonies, the texture of the music is drone polyphony. In addition, there are some other songs in Kulawi such as koloa, for death ritual and lolinga for harvest time.
In Toraja, South Sulawesi, the choral singing with a song leader can be found. The most important one is badong which is sung for death ritual or panimbong worship for ancestors. In contrast, in Bugis, Makassar and Mandar, the most common vocal music is solo with accompaniment such as a fiddle or lute.
In Sanger Talaud, the animism ritual song is called kakumbaede. Similar with badong, the song is a call and response song with ampuang, the religious leader, leading the song. Known as a maritime area near the Philippines, Sangerese also has a song which used for sailing. Called by Lagung Balang, the song is sung by around 50 sailors which is lead by pangahapundale, the coordinator. Nowadays, the song is used to accompany a dance named gunde.
In Gorontalo the vocal music is strongly influenced by Islam. Some of them are dikili and layio. Dikili is comprises a set of 12 songs which can be sung by a group of male and female singers. Using for worship, a song leader will sing the call part and this is followed by the response part sung by the worshippers. Layio is the narrative song tells about the story of Prophet Mohammad. Each part of the story is sung by pawang , a story teller in about 2-3 hours.
The strong cultural and music relationship between the two areas can be trace back from the period in the 15th -18th century when the commerce activity between the two regions was very active. The southern part of the Philippines and most of Sulawesi was considered as ‘borderless world’ or “Sulu Zone’. Some places in Sulawesi became major ports of people from the Philippines. Using Malay language to communicate among them, the people from the two areas considered they self as Malay.
The two areas were influenced by colonization and Western culture differently. In the Philippines, North Sulawesi and probably in Central and Southeast Sulawesi, Spanish came for the first time in the middle of the 16th century. However, the Philippines is the area where strongly influenced by the Spanish. In Sulawesi, Western influenced was dominated by Dutch who came to Sulawesi in 16th and 17th century and replaced Spanish and Portuguese. The different experience of western influenced made the music culture of the two region became diverse.
According to Maceda, the two types of Philippine’s music are western and Malay variety. While the western variety is played by 90 percent of Hispanic-Christian population, the Malay variety is only played by 8% of the Filipinos. In contrast, Malay music tradition dominates the coastal lowland or Moslem area in Gorontalo, Central, West, Southeast and South Sulawesi. Portuguese/Dutch-Christian influence is significant in Northern Sulawesi and the highland area of Central and South Sulawesi.
The above fact highlights the idea of the importance of religion impact on the musical tradition in the two areas. In lowland of the Philippines, the Holy Week tradition shows the strong connection between music, dance, drama and the believe system. The soundscape of pasyon in the Visayas and especially Luzon lowland area of the Philippines may be very similar with the soundscape of chanting qur’an and dikili in the fasting month before the celebration of Idul Fitri in Gorontalo, Bolaang Mongondow, Kaili and some Moslem areas in Sulawesi.
Classical music has also been strong influenced especially in Manila city. There is Kundiman, Rondalla or Sarsuwela art song tradition which is hardly found in Sulawesi.
Interestingly, the music became important to express national identity and anti-colonial sentiment used by the elite in Manila city in the 19th century. Using Tagalog language, the music demonstrated self-conscious creation of a national music identity.
However in Sulawesi, there is an interesting way to adopt western influence. They make “standardization” by imitating well tempered tuning or arranging the music of kreasi baru (new created genre) by using western music idiom but still using the same instruments. There is similar pattern in how the Minahasanese tuned and arranged their ‘kolintang’ and musik bamboo, the Kailinese with their kakula kreasi, the Gorontalonese with their palo-palo or the Makassarnese with their orkes kacapi. The Sulawesinese still maintain the instrument, but the music and scale have already changed.
At the same time, this also demonstrates the government’s strength role in developing art and culture in Indonesia. The idea of finding ethnic and local identity to support national identity in terms of music is fully supported by the government through establishing what is called kreasi-kreasi baru. The genre is based on the local tradition but without rejecting the new material from foreign culture which can enrich the national culture and enhance the level of humanity throughout Indonesia
In Moslem areas the similarities can be found such as when the drum and gong are played together as in kakula. Almost all of the sub ethnic groups have the gong and drum tradition, even in the isolated ethnic group who live in the highland area in Sulawesi such as Wana, Sea-Sea and so forth.
The characteristic of contrecorps singing style can be found in various vocal music genres. In the Philippines there are Pasyon, balitaw, composo in lowland area, or Ulalim of Kalinga or Liyangkit Sulu but not in Kundiman. In Sulawesi the style can be heard in all genres especially in the choral music that accompany round dance.
The idea of pentatonicity or the idea of five notes strongly characterized the music in the two areas. In the Philippines, pentatonicity can also be found even in the art song tradition or in the contemporary piece such as “Homage to Rizal”. In Sulawesi, even though they tend to resemble well tempered tuning, the use of five notes is common. The forth and seventh note is used only for passing note.
The comparison of music in the Philippines and Sulawesi is only representative through several instruments such as: kolintang as a part of gong culture, xylophone and bamboo buzzer (idiophone), bamboo orchestra, jaws harp and ring flute (aerophone), western guitar, lute and fiddle (chordophone), single and double headed drum (membranophone) and vocal music. There are many instruments that have not been discussed yet such as the bamboo idiophone, bamboo zither, many kind of drums, bell, rattling strings, and so forth.