Thread: Philippine National Anthem / Lupang Hinirang View Single Post
titopao's Avatar
Board Elder

Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 5,040
Originally Posted by sunniela View Post
Just wondering.
What does music arrangement pertain to?
Is is the scale, tempo, meter, harmony, texture, and dynamics?
Is the type of instrument used part of it?

Cause I saw someone on tv play the National Anthem on guitar. As in instead of playing it on the piano, he plucked the guitar. Is it illegal or something?
Arrangement pertains to the setting of the music. It includes everything you just mentioned For example, the original National Anthem was written for piano only, then later for marching band. (And it doesn't even have lyrics.) Later composers and arrangers came up with different settings (or arrangements) that used a variety of instrument combinations and probably additional countermelodies. For all I care, you can even make an arrangement for flute, guitar, viola and harmonica The point of arrangement is that the essence of the music is still there, such as the melody and most (if not all) of the harmonic progression. Hence, a hypothetical version with rap lyrics would no longer be considered an arrangement, but essentially a derivative work based on the National Anthem.

Technically speaking, the National Anthem is in the public domain, which means it's not encumbered by copyrights. But the reason is not because it's the national anthem and hence should be used by the nation (that's not good enough a reason). The National Anthem is not copyrighted because:

1. its composer is long dead.
2. the national anthem, including the lyrics, are itself incorporated into law (you can even read the official Tagalog lyrics there)...and the texts of laws are automatically placed in the public domain, by virtue of existing copyrights laws.

With regard to rearranging the national anthem itself, this is a gray area. Purists insist that the National Anthem should never be rearranged, but the truth is the law is very vague on actually contradicts itself!!! The Philippine Heraldic Code of 1998 (passed during the Centennial frenzy) says that only the arrangement of Julian Felipe should be used, but this implies that we are not obligated to sing the lyrics because:

1. Julian Felipe didn't compose Lupang Hinirang with lyrics in mind, and never collaborated with a lyricist;
2. Contemporary historical accounts mention that the National Anthem was played first on the piano (in the presence of Emilio Aguinaldo) without words on it;
3. Eyewitness accounts also mention that when the flag was unfurled, only instrumental music was played. Nobody was singing "the national anthem" precisely because there were no lyrics to sing.
4. the poem by Jose Palma ("Tierra adorada..."), which became the basis for the National Anthem, was written years long after marching bands throughout the country were playing the tune. (And, mind you, it wasn't the only lyrics written for it either, there were at least two other versions).

To compound the problem, there is no extant copy of either the piano-only arrangement or the marching band-only arrangement. What the law is asking for (the Julian Felipe arrangement) is next to impossible, as nobody knows today how the original arrangement really looked or sounded like.

So, literally speaking, the only permissible arrangements for the National Anthem "should be" for instrumental piano only OR for instrumental marching band only. But the law says that there are lyrics on it only shows how ignorant some (if not all) Congressmen are
We have little to no culture of healthy polemics in the country, as any attempt to consider fault is taken as a personal attack. Rare are those that are able to deal with it properly. --- Alex Tioseco (1981-2009), critic

Reply With Quote