to the pages on music instruments

In 1973 I was assigned as an ONV volunteer to a project in Manila, the Philippines. My wife, Elly Hemmes, and I travelled all over the country and soon became interested in the cultures of the national minorities (click here to read more). We visited several groups in North Luzon and in Mindanao. I became interested in the music cultures of these groups and started to collect their music instruments. The result was a small collection that gave a good overall view of the various instruments. Also I made lots of photographs.

I met dr. José Maceda, ethnomusicologist and composer of the Department of Music, University of the Philippines. He asked me to make a trip entirely dedicated to making photographs of musicians and instrument makers of five ethnic groups in SE Mindanao. The trip was sponsored by the Philippine Council for Living Traditions.

We returned to the Netherlands in 1975. There I tried to find a way of presenting the instruments and the pictures to the public. In 1977 they were exhibited in the Municipal Museum of The Hague in an exposition called Ugnayan, music in the Philippines. In 1978 this exposition was presented in the Rotterdam Ethnological museum. Then the instruments were stored in the depot of the The Hague Municipal Museum.

In 1987 I was invited to make another photo shooting trip for dr. José Maceda, this time to Northern Luzon. This trip was again sponsored by the Philippine Council for Living Traditions. The majority of the photographs of these two trips for dr. José Maceda are published in his book Gongs and Bamboo, a panorama of Philippine music instruments (University of the Philippines Press, 1998).

My collection of music instruments stayed in the depot of the The Hague Municipal Museum. I thought it a pity that they could not be seen any more by the public and decided to show them on the Internet. On my request, in 2004 the instruments were returned to me. I photographed and described them. The following pages are the result.Unfortunately there are no sound examples available (yet). The recordings I have are copyrighted by the Department of Music of the University of the Philippines and by the Philippine Council for Living Traditions. I will however give titles of records that are (or used to be) available.

The pages are not yet finished. It is my intention to add all relevant information I have in my possession: photographs, articles, drawings, field notes, etc. The pages will be expanded and completed in the course of time. Since 27 september 2011 the music instruments are in permanent loan to the:

Muziekinstrumentenmuseum (MIM)
Hofberg 2
B-1000 Brussel
tel. +32 2 545 01 30
fax +32 2 545 01 77

The instruments are available for study and exhibitions. The contact is the curator for Asia and the Philippines, ms. Claire Chantrenne. Those of you who are interested: please contact ms. Chantrenne or contact me.

Fekke de Jager
January 2005 / 2011