Simpala’ Badan concert version
Music for modified kulintang ensemble, orchestra, and synthesizers Playing time: 10 minutes
Earlier this 2021, I was commissioned by the Philippine High School for the Arts (PHSA) to compose for their dance recital films. One of the films tells the tale of a Maranao woman who was undergoing existential angst for not being satisfied as one of the many wives of her man. That is the plot synopsis of the dance film Simpala’ Badan: Tugon ng Katawan, Kamalayan sa Sarili (2021) under the direction and choreography of Crizza Urmeneta.
In my search for new virtual instruments to play with, I stumbled upon a free sampled kulintang VST uploaded by the Manila-based composer, Mark. A Galang. It is because of my possession of this virtual instrument, that I immediately chose the Maranao-influenced film in which the director wanted music based on the Tidtu mode of playing.
Since I was writing music for Mr. Galang’s specific kulintang set of notes, I thought of writing an E major fugue based on the scale provided, and the episodes shall be based on the film’s framework provided to me by Ms. Urmeneta.. I ended up writing 10 minutes worth of music, knowing it will be cut to 7 minutes as I was informed prior to writing. The film score was submitted as a work for kulintang, agungs, gandingan, tongatongs, and synthesizers.
For the 2021 UP Conemus recital, Himlay, I orchestrated the complete framework of Simpala’ Badan’s music.
Free kulintang VST by Mark A. Galang:
Dominic Laxamana is a composer and keyboardist from Bataan province of the Philippines. He often writes for symphony orchestra, and rock band. He trained in composition under Dr. Maria Christine Muyco, Dr. Marie Jocelyn Marfil, and Professor Josefino “Chino” Toledo. He has studied music theory under Dr. Beverly Shangkuan-Cheng, Prof. Mary Katherine Cabral, and Dr. Jonas Baes.
Mr. Laxamana writes in a manner that emphasizes on extended harmonies, klangfarbenmelodie (tone- color melody), and the textural weaving of impressionism. Polyrhythms are often utilized in his works to veer from the familiar time conventions of classical music and film scores. Occasionally, he’d delve into the language of musique concrète, and play for the band Fire Underwater.
Mr. Laxamana, along with fellow composers Sage Ilagan, Joshua Ansale, Eugene Talusan, Jose Buencamino, and Jordan Peralta, founded MusiKolektibo in 2020, an extra-academic group of Filipino composers that provides free online forums regarding music and production techniques. The group is currently producing its first compilation album.