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Musical Instrument

Musical Instruments

The Ibalois have musical instruments used to beat time for their dances. Following is a footnote description of the Ibaloi musical instruments by Otto Scheerer:

The chief ones are the sulibao and the kimbal, two cannon-shaped wooden drums of about equal size but beaten differently, each by one man; the first, a little sharper in tone, receives with the inner side of the outstretched united four fingers of both hands a continuous, quick succession of double slaps, both slaps being short but sounding ones, to be represented approximately thus: Right-left, right-left, right-left, right-left. The kimbal is struck in the same manner but with the difference that only the right-hand slap, simultaneous with the right hand slap of the sulibao player, resounds, while the left-hand stroke is applied so as to cut short at once and stifle the vibrations. The bass accompaniment furnished by the kimbal to the sulibao has therefore the following monotonous sound: Right', right', right'.

The hollow "tub-tub, tub-tub" produced by both deep-mouthed instruments can be heard for a distance of 8, 10, or more miles along the valley. Together with them are played two gongs, one called kalsa the other pinsak.

They closely resemble brass pans, and are held up with the left hand and struck with a wooden peg in the right. Their "tinkle-tinkle" is rather discordant with the heavy sound of the drums. The clacking of two iron batons, called palas, struck one against the other, completes the tatoo.

The other instruments of the Ibalois are the galza, a bronze-made gong; the pinsak, similar to the galza but smaller in size; the palas or takik, a two piece iron struck against each other to produce a tinkling sound; the pakgong, a bamboo instrument struck against the palm to produce a vibrating sound. The split tip of the bamboo produces the sound. The instrument is played by the women on their way to the field, to ward off evil spirits. The kudding, or Jewish harp is made of bamboo or copper and played against the lips of the mouth. The kulsing, is a kind of bamboo flute for children; and the tuladi, is a nose flute.

The Ibaloi dance is accompanied by the indigenous musical instruments; the gimbal, galsa, solibao, and takik. There are two kinds of Ibaloi dance movements. One is called ginalding, which emphasizes a slow, smooth, and graceful movement. Here, four galsas, one solibao, one gimbal, and one takik are played. The other dance is called ginambuyao. which is faster and more snappy, resembling the kankanay dance in Benguet and western Bontoc. The steps of the men are called tayao, while those of the women, sarong.

When the dance couples are pure Ibalois, they would dance the ginalding. If one of them is kankanay, then they would dance both ginalding and ginambuyo. When the tayao is for the adibi or pakan ni gidschel, there would be two pairs of dancers. If the tayao is for pasang or dila ni too (dance for the humans) then the dancers would be old men and women, also in two pairs, and this time, they would wear a turban on the head. Blankets are offered to dead ancestors before they are used by the dancers.

Ibaloi Music

Ibaloi music follows just one style, the bacdiw (sometimes called bahdiw). It is sung alternately by different persons. Phrase by phrase it is sung, and phrase by phrase it is re-echoed by the asbayats of the women.

The badio is composed extemporaneously by a person exhilirated by drink. Its aim is to give advice, bring about cordial relations, or simply narrate some experiences. The last part of the singer's statement is caught up by the women present around him, who sing it as a refrain.

The dujung is an elegy or lament sung by people seated around the death-chair of a rich man. The singer extolls the virtues of the dead, and each statement is repeated by the others. Any other song that is not a bacdiw or a dujung is a cansion. Only a man exhilirated by wine at a canao is allowed to sing the badio. A sacred song is sung only in connection with the religious ceremony to which it belongs. No one would be willing to sing the dujung, unless in connection with ceremonies for the dead. The kansion is usually sung at the wake of the dead or in religious rites because the tempo is lively and gay and its light mood contrasts with the solemnity of a wake.

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