Audiovisual Ethnography of Philippine Music: A Process-oriented Approach

Terada Yoshitaka


Audiovisual documentation has been an important part of ethnomusicological endeavors, but until recently it was treated primarily as a tool of preservation and/or documentation that supplements written ethnography, albeit there are a few notable exceptions.The proliferation of inexpensive video equipment has encouraged the unprecedented number of scholars and students in ethnomusicology to be involved in filmmaking, but its potential as a methodology has not been fully explored.

As a small step to redefine the application of audiovisual media, Dr. Usopay Cadar, my teacher in Philippine music, and I produced two films: one on Maranao kolintang music and the other on Maranao culture in general, based on the audiovisual footage we collected in 2008. This short essay describes how the screenings of these films were organized in March 2013 for the diverse audiences in the Philippines, and what types of reactions and interactions transpired during the screenings.These screenings were organized both to obtain feedback about the content of the films from the caretakers and stakeholders of the documented tradition and to create a venue for interactions and collaborations to discuss the potential of audiovisual ethnography.

Drawing from the analysis of the current project, I propose to regard film not as a f ixed product but as a living and organic site that is open to commentaries and critiques, where changes can be made throughout the process. In this perspective, ‘filmmaking’ refers to the entire process of research, f ilming, editing and post-production activities.

Keywords: filmmaking, gongs, music, Maranao, audiovisual documentation

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ISSN: 2012-0788