The Rondalla and the Plucked String Tradition

The plucked string ensemble tradition is a testimony to a collective artistic creation and social interaction, continuously transforming in the process of adapting to local settings. Some scholars think that this musical tradition originates from the nomadic culture of the Gypsy people traveling in Asia and Europe, bringing with them a musical practice that may have influenced the musical landscapes that hosted them. Another possibility of its spread can also be attributed to the Silk Route trade in the 13th-14th century from China and India going into the heart of Europe. Travelers brought with them string instruments that were eventually adopted for different social functions and community activities.

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  • Estudiantina
  • Comparza

    Comparza refers to highly trained musicians in Spain who performed onstage for the elite in society. However in the Philippines, comparza refers to a group of itinerant musicians in the Visayan region with rural roots, who perform for different occasions in their communities, most especially during the Christmas season.

  • Murza

    Murza or Murga refers to street musicians begging for alms in Spain. In the Philippines, music scholar W. Pfeifer mentions the murga as “a group of wandering minstrels similar to the Visayan kumbanchero."

  • Estudiantina

    Estudiantina, sometimes abbreviated to Tina or Tuna, are groups that play in universities in Spain, wearing pirate costumes. In Bicol, estudiantina groups flourished during the late 19th century to the early part of the 20th century, performing during religious processions.