Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts





Committee Chair

Victor Asuncion

Committee Member

Soh-Hyun Altino

Committee Member

John Baur

Committee Member

Kenneth Kreitner


This paper is a historical research on the development of the Philippine art song, the kundiman. Originating as an oral tradition in a form of a love song, the kundiman became strongly associated with the Philippine revolution, and with nationalism thereafter. This paper puts the kundiman in a center of an exploration--on the social milieu, and on its dual roles as a converging point of foreign influences and as a conduit of nationalism. The period of the kundiman, generally placed from 1800-1930, is divided into three periods demarcated by significant historical events, as the kundiman seems to develop alongside Philippine history. These events--the Spanish and American occupation and a short but intense Philippine revolution, serve as a historical backdrop for the unfolding of the kundiman, from an extemporized folk tradition, to a semi-extemporized metaphorical piece for love of country, to a stylized art song. This paper also briefly discusses issues such as the usage of the term to pieces that do not fall within the musical parameters of the kundiman, and some insights on its performance practice. Musical samples are provided. That a song embodies the character of a group is seen across culture; in the Philippine culture, this is evident by way of a storied nature present in the art form. The last chapter regards the kundiman as a musical retelling of the Filipino story, and correlates the music with the people. This paper considers the kundiman both as a musical form, with parameters of a triple meter, a two or three-part form, and a minor-parallel major tonality; and as a sentiment that resonates among the Filipinos throughout the ages.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.