OUR ISLANDS AND THEIR PEOPLE.
music-makers have, for their usual equipment, naught but sweet, clear-noted flutes, with which to carry the air, and curious double-barreled hornsa all of bamboo. Oftentimes desperately ragged, and always barefooted, the little group strikes up strange and weird airs, the time being equally as curious as the melody. Dust beats up in little puffs from beneath their splayed feet, as the players mark the cadence; nimble fingersa sadly dirty, alas!a rise and fall or flutter over the openings in the creamy-white bamboo flutes, and the quick, limpid notes of the favorite march, a Viva Pio del Pilar,a dart swiftly toward our ears. Again they play. This time there trickles from out the flute the sweet notes of the song of the pilgrims to the shrine of Antipolo. They are the sounds of dropping water; of a crystal bell struck softly; or the clear, high notes of the scarlet tanager in the cherry trees in far-away America. And the accompaniment of the larger instruments floats the song of the pilgrims along on even and gentle waves of bass and barytone; or sets the hot afternoon throbbing with the deep a oomp, oompa of the chorus of a Pio del Pilar Convalor Singular.a
The native has an inherent passion for music, a fact which stands as a guarantee that there is more good than evil in his composition. With regard to their bands, the players seem to enjoy the harmony as much as the listeners, and they keep at it for hours at a time, or as long as their physical strength holds out.
being the baptizing and blessing ot a sugar mill which had just been completed. a Before I was near enough,a he says, a to be distinguished as an Europeana for it wTas nearly sunseta I heard the sound of distant music floating through the air. So strange an occurrence in such a place excited my curiosity immensely; the surrounding scenea the mystic strains of dying melodya might wTell have entranced a more romantic nature, and I determined to find out what it all meant. I succeeded, and discovered that it was a bamboo orchestra returning from the feast of the a baptism of the mill/ Each instrument was made of bamboo, and the players were farm laborers.a
The singular influence of music over these people is related in the following incident, by one of our soldiers:
a I have in mind one band in particular. The leader was a small man, even among his own undersized people. Though totally blind, he himself had made all of the glistening horns and slender, polished flutes of his players. It was, perhaps, not music of high order that they gave us while we were halted for rest on the banks
A ROADSIDE HOUSE.
The natives fled in terror from many of their homes on the approach of the Americans, supposing our troops would kill them as the Spaniards had killed their countrymen; but when they learned of the true character of our people they gladly returned and fraternized freely with our soldiers. The photograph represents one of these deserted homes, the second story of which is built of mahogany.
age learn to play the harp almost by instinct, and those who attend the colleges quickly learn the piano. But classical music is very little in vogue among these people, who prefer dance pieces and ballad accompaniments. This is due to their instinctive love of harmony and the absence of musical cultivation of the higher class. It is not an unusual thing to hear three or four bands playing different pieces close together at the same time, and the people seem to enjoy the confusion of the melody. But 011 the other hand, is not the same condition true of a large part of the so-called a classical a music of the day, much of which is a mere medley of harmonious sounds?
The natives seem to possess the faculty of getting music out of almost any sort of a contrivance. They will take a piece of bamboo and so fashion it as to imitate the strains of any kind of an instrument. Foreman relates that while traveling through a wild region of the island of Luzon, in 1882, he suddenly came into a clearing where a number of people were assembled, the occasion
of the San Fernando, and yet it was not altogether displeasing. And when, as a finale, they sang in our ears the notes of a The Star-Spangled Banner/ with accompanying soft breathing from the heavier basses, the blind man stood erect, and his tattered hat was dashed to the ground. Soldiers and players alike bared their heads, but none were quicker than the leader. Stage play, perhaps it was, but we thought not; for never was an Englishman more devout in his toast of a The Queen! God bless her!' than wras that Filipino when, the air concluded, he stretched out his arms appealingly, and with choking voice cried, a It is the song of liberty. Seriors, I, too, was once a soldier, and fought for liberty. Holy liberty!a a
The same writer adds: a From their homes we have frequently heard and enjoyed excellent piano music, and on the occasion when General Wheeler and staff were entertained by Senor Ambrosio Bautista, at the lattera s home in Panique, after an indescribable meal, we were given a real treat by the daughters of the house.