Colonial Counterpoint

Colonial Counterpoint : Music in Early Modern Manila

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In this groundbreaking study, D. R. M. Irving reconnects the Philippines to current musicological discourse on the early modern Hispanic world. For some two and a half centuries, the Philippine Islands were firmly interlinked to Latin America and Spain through transoceanic relationships of politics, religion, trade, and culture. The city of Manila, founded in 1571, represented a vital intercultural nexus and a significant conduit for the regional diffusion of Western music. Within its ethnically diverse society, imported and local musics played a crucial role in the establishment of ecclesiastical hierarchies in the Philippines and in propelling the work of Roman Catholic missionaries in neighboring territories. Manila's religious institutions resounded with sumptuous vocal and instrumental performances, while an annual calendar of festivities brought together many musical traditions of the indigenous and immigrant populations in complex forms of artistic interaction and opposition. Multiple styles and genres coexisted according to strict regulations enforced by state and ecclesiastical authorities, and Irving uses the metaphors of European counterpoint and enharmony to critique musical practices within the colonial milieu. He argues that the introduction and institutionalization of counterpoint acted as a powerful agent of colonialism throughout the Philippine Archipelago, and that contrapuntal structures were reflected in the social and cultural reorganization of Filipino communities under Spanish rule. He also contends that the active appropriation of music and dance by the indigenous population constituted a significant contribution to the process of hispanization. Sustained "enharmonic engagement" between Filipinos and Spaniards led to the synthesis of hybrid, syncretic genres and the emergence of performance styles that could contest and subvert hegemony. Throwing new light on a virtually unknown area of music history, this book contributes to current understanding of the globalization of music, and repositions the Philippines at the frontiers of research into early modern intercultural more

Product details

  • Hardback | 408 pages
  • 157.48 x 236.22 x 35.56mm | 725.74g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195378261
  • 9780195378269
  • 554,171

Review quote

By a whisker, in a great year for history books, I nominate Colonial Counterpoint: Music in Early Modern Manila by DRM Irving (OUP) because it inspires the excitement of a new departure in historical tradition and the awareness of new possibilities for the future. Never before has a writer done such a perfect job of making music a subject of cultural history and writing about it intelligibly for every kind of readership. I've struggled unsuccessfully to get music into my own classes and books; DRM Irving has found the right idiom as if by magic. And, by the way, he has made a fundamental contribution to the study of early modern empires and of the Filipino past. * Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, BBC History Magazine Books of the Year * ... Colonial Counterpoint is a model of skillful ad equitable handling of diverse sources from three different continents. Irving recognizes the negative impact of colonization on music, while also acknowledging the interplay of indigenous musicians and peoples, who adapted Spanish and Hispanicized Filipino music for personal, professional, religious, and economic reasons * Douglas Bachorik, Global Forum on Arts and Christian Faith * Irving's book is solidly researched and groundbreaking. It provides precious new data on musical terminology, genres, instruments, and practise in pre-Spanish Philippines ... As such, it is highly recommended reading for both musicologists and ethnomusicologists. * Frank L. Harrison, Yearbook for Traditional Music 2013 * Colonial Counterpoint is a unique study on the colonial cultural encounter and develops new paradigms in historiography and musicology. Meticulously exploring a series of musical encounters between imperial Spain and colonial Philippines in the early modern period, the book embodies the 'history of cultural globalization' which seeks a 'bigger picture of increasingly entangled global histoires' ... Elements of postcolonial critique also make the work relevant to contemporary discourses with a multidisciplinary flavour. * Michiyo Yoneno-Reyes, Asian Centre, University of the Philippines, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies * [An] elegant and intriguing study of musical production in the Philippines during a time when the archipelago formed part of the global early modern Hispanic world * Centre for the History of Music in Britain, the Empire and the Commonwealth Newsletter *show more

About D. R. M. Irving

D. R. M. Irving is a musicologist and cultural historian whose work focuses on the role of music in early modern intercultural exchange and globalization. He is currently a Junior Research Fellow at Christ's College, Cambridge, and is also a performer on early violins. This is his first more

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