Jose Maceda

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Jose Maceda (31 January 1917 - 5 May 2004) was a composer of traditional music, a pianist, ethnomusicologist, and professor. He has done field music researches and has devoted much of his time to ethnomusicological studies of the music of the Philippines and Southeast Asia. He was named national artist for music in 1997.

Maceda was born on 31 January 1917 in Manila. At a young age he studied under Victorina Lobregat and often participated in piano recitals and contests. He was a student of Alexander Lippay at the Academy of Music of Manila in the 1930s. He also studied in Paris with Alfred Cortot.

Maceda presented concerts and recitals in Manila, nearby provinces, and in the Visayas region. He was mostly a pianist during the early part of his music career.

He also conducted ethnomusical researches as he discovered that music is realistically fresh but needed to be studied and understood. He conducted researches in Southeast Asia, Sarawak, Africa, and Brazil.

Maceda studied composition in college and had written compositions such as those required by his professors. However, he was not interested in European forms such as the sonata . It was in 1963 that he went back to composing. Maceda developed his own unique style in his compositions. His melodies were sounds native to Asia and the Philippines--inspired by nature such as sounds in the jungles and rice fields.

Maceda's first composition that was performed in Los Angeles in 1963 really had an unorthodox sound, as he used Asian musical instruments and voices. It was presented to the Filipino in 1964 and was performed in Brazil in 1968.



Some of his researches that had been published are in:

  • Ethnic Folkways Library
  • Journal of East Asiatic Studies
  • Diliman Review
  • The World of Music
  • Encyclopedia Britannica
  • Harvard Dictionary of Music
  • Proceedings of Music Conference in Berlin


Some of his other compositions are:

  • Agungan , for six gong families
  • Kubing , for bamboo percussion and men's voices, which was performed in Hawaii and Brazil
  • Pagsamba , or ritual music for a circular auditorium
  • Cassettes 100 , for one hundred cassette-tape-recorders, performed in Hawaii and Minnesota
  • Ugnayan , a music for several radio stations in the Manila area
  • Udlot-Udlot


  • Samson, Helen F. Contemporary Filipino Composers. Quezon City: Manlapaz Publishing Company, 1976.



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