Camp Notes and Quotes: Inspiration, creativity, and OPM’s brief history

(Part 2 na ito. For part 1 check it out here.) Jonathan Manalo of Star Records discussed a bit of history with the help of Ryan Cayabyab. Jonathan talked about the history of Filipino songwriting while Ryan Cayabyab performed live samples. Jim Paredes gave his bit on what happened to OPM. Marami pang iba na nagbigay ng kanilang input sa araw na ito including Louie Ocampo (above) demonstrating Garage Band.

Pero bago nyan, check out the look and feel of the lecture hall.

May apat na malalaking LCD monitors na nagpapakita ng magkahalong live video feed at powerpoint presentations. Above are photos of random expressions of my camp mates. Ok, notes and quotes na tayow!

“Sa Kundiman ang basic structure is the triple meter. Usually starts with a minor (chord) and then the second half goes major. The minor (section) contain the angsts at lahat ng inaasahan ay nasa major part… Balitaw in song form is also influenced with the minor-major chords… Danza (on the other hand) is in duple meter and the musical structure stays where they are.”–Ryan Cayabyab (above left) on Kundiman, Balitaw, and Danza. History discussion facilitated by Jonathan Manalo (above right). Examples were sung by fellow camper Riva (center). That’s Kate Torralba at the lower right portion of the photo.

“The Verse-Refrain form starts with a context before the topic that the Refrain is talking about happens.”–Ryan Cayabyab

“The 60s is the age of aspiration. Filipino artists aspire to copy famous American talents. Unlike the upper class who listened to ‘American Bandstand’ (the predecessor of the US Top 40) the so-called ‘Bakya’ audience catered the local records and patronized Filipino artists’ covers of American. Why? Baka dahil hindi intimidating ang local accent ng covers.”–Jim Paredes

“And the 70s was the age of relevance. Society was in turmoil, Marcos was elected. There are social upheavals. There was Filipinization and activism. The CPP/NPA was born. People were writing and singing in Tagalog.”–Jim Paredes

“After having seen kung paano sumasabay yung tao sa awitin ng Juan de la Cruz Band na kasabay namin sa isang concert, I decided to write songs in Tagalog. That was a decision point for me to write in Tagalog.”–Jim Paredes

“‘Manila Sound’ was what OPM was called then. The OPM brand was only created in 1978. In the 80s, TV played a big role in music promotion… (However) I am not yet decided on Music Videos. It makes a good song look bad and a bad song look good.”–Jim Paredes

“In the 80s FM and record labels demand US genres. Hence pioneering spirit (in creating OPM) is constricted. In the 90s, radio and TV adopted foreign formats and then OPM artists revert back to copying foreign artists. The 70s pioneering and nationalist spirit was gone.”–Jim Paredes

“What went wrong? Radio/TV reformatting (to foreign format) constricted to OPM growth. There is lack of support for OPM coming from the record companies. There is piracy. There is this notion to write OPM in Filipino for Filipinos and in English to go international. We try hard to be international by banking on US pop music. We abandon what is unique about us and our language. We respond by giving-in to the so-called market. Please remember that to be global, one must be local.”–Jim Paredes

“Tagalog sounds like boiling water.”–Jim Paredes quoting a Thai describing the Tagalog language to a Filipino.

“In my philosophy, we should let a thousand flowers bloom. Galing yan kay Mao Tsetung.”–Jim Paredes

“We are in the middle of social (upheavals). We should make sure that our songwriting should contribute to the benefit and power the aspirations of the Filipino people.” –Raul Sunico

Sunico shared a number of facts about the National Anthem: it is in 120 BPM with 48 bars and in the key of C. Rhythmically it can be played in 2/4 and 4/4. It has no lyrics then and when finally it does, it was first in Spanish, then in American, and only halfway through the 20th century did it become Lupang Hinirang.

“The National Anthem is a microcosm of Philippine society. As much as possible Spain, America and Japan did their best to promote their music and obliterate ours… We try to be an immitation of the west. Songwriting should be in aid of our National identity.”–Raul Sunico

“The hymn is more solemn and religious in nature.”–Raul Sunico‘s reply when asked about the difference between a hymn and an anthem.

“K-Pop is manufactured music. Manufacturing music para sa masa. Hit ito ngayon pero ito ba ay tatagal?”–Jonathan Manalo

“My inspiration started with painful love. And then toying around this emotion while playing the piano produced a melody… It is important to write what is in your heart. And then check the parameters after.”–Louie Ocampo

He was demonstrating Garage Band with a MIDI controller in the photo above.

“Ako din, inspiration driven ang melody writing ko.”–Jay Durias (above) came from the band South Border.

“I started and realized that I can write a song by breaking up school themes and replacing them with makukulit na words. Various words… I realized now that in creating songs, sometimes there are lyrics that stick and partner with melodies na gawa ko.”–Joey Benin (above) former bassist of the band Side A.

“My instrument is the guitar. Though I studied piano in grade school pero nag-quit kasi natakot ako sa recital… When I get stuck in writing the lyrics of a song I sometimes put myself in the shoes of the listener, and ask: what do you want to tell me next?”–Top Suzara (above) former band member of Freestyle.

“Being in the environment that you would like to talk about helps a lot in writing a song.”–Gabby Alipe

“Puso at iyong isipan ang kailangan mo para i-drive ang isang awitin sa kanyang patutunguhan.”–Ebe Dancel of Sugarfree

“(For songwriters) Development of your facility as a musician is also important.”–Ryan Cayabyab

“Important but usually neglected is to refer to song structures.”–Trina Belamide

Trina Balamide talked about a number of examples. 1) A A A (verse Verse Verse) with no chorus and no bridge. 2) Verse Chorus form where the main part of the, i.e. the part with “recall” is in the Chorus. There can be a pre-chorus or “climb” and sometimes meron din na bridge part. 3) A A B A (Verse Bridge) where the title or recall is usually mentiond in the verse.

“Rhymes put a verbal adhesive to the song. There are songs with internal rhymes too. And titles naman put a brand to your song. If a song communicates with a clear message, then it is remarkable.”–Trina Belamide

She also talked about an example songwriting process. Start with a title, then think of a story, then write the actual lines.

“Multiplicity of meaning is different from vagueness. Ang tawag sa pangalawa ay ‘malabo’. Point and conclusion of a song is important too. It creates a purpose and fulfilling experience for the listener. A strong start is also important.”–Trina Belamide

And then Trina introduced Gary Granada. But that’s for the next post.

For Part 1 click here.

1 Comment

Filed under Everything else, Music

One response to “Camp Notes and Quotes: Inspiration, creativity, and OPM’s brief history

  1. How neat! Is it really this sipelm? You make it look easy.

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