When will these artists ever remember the proper way to sing the Philippine National Anthem (Lupang Hinirang)? Maybe some wholeheartedly accept their rendition of the National Song because they showcase vocal gymnastics in singing the song, but then again the question is is it proper? Is it legal? and is it appropriate?
Just a brief backgrounder, the Philippine National Anthem or Lupang Hinirang was composed by Julian Felipe. The original composition of Felipe has no lyrics then when it was played in Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898 during the Proclamation of independence. Later, Jose Palma was commissioned to add lyrics to Felipe’s Composition. He adapted the lyrics of the Lupang Hinirang from poem of Grampa Arellano titled “Filipinas”. When the Americans took over the Philippines, the Lupang Hinirang was banned from ever playing according to the rule of the American Flag Law. The said rule was repealed in 1919 and only then did the Philippine National Anthem was heard again. The Spanish Lyrics written by Jose Palma was translated into English and was then Called “Chosen Land“. In 1940′s, the lyrics was translated into tagalog only to be revised in 1956 according to the Standardized Tagalog Cersion. And in the 1960′s, the Lupang Hinirang was again revised which up to now exists.
From 1898 up to our present time, the Lupang Hinirang’s melody and rhythm remains the same. Only minor changes were made such as changing the time signature of the original composition from 2/4 to 4/4 in the 1920′s. This was done because the people might have difficulty in catching up with the song since it was too fast to sing. And then the original key of “C” was chjanged to “G” i order to give the song a more neutral and universal reach in terms of vocal range of the common people. Probably, the key of “C” was too high. Who knows?
The point is, since 1898 up to present, only the lyrics has been changed dramatically but the melody itself remains the same. This brings me to my opinion that this is the reason why singers and artists should NEVER change the melody of the Lupang Hinirang because of it’s historical significance.
This is what other singers and their fans doesn’t understand. If you are a musician, like me for example, who has a modest knowledge in reading notes and musical pieces, you would easily understand that most of the singer’s rendition of the national anthem is very far from the original music which Felipe originally intended. But sadly, not all Filipinos doesn’t know how to read notes or at least aware of the proper rendition of the National Anthem. Thats why most of the times, ignorance of the true essence of the National Anthem of the Country’s most famous and calibrated singers often leads to clumsy and mediocre, not to mention, inappropriate interpretation of the Nation’s most Patriotic song. Most singers tend to change the National Anthem according to their style which is seemingly contemporary, but in truth, horribly irritating to the ears.
I don’t know about you but in my opinion and in my own preference, Lupang Hinirang is most meaningful when it is sung according to the original composition, the way it was originally intended to be sung.
How many times have we felt dissapointed whenever some singers sing our National Anthem in front of a worldwide audience only to demolished it by their own pride and ego, thinking that by spicing up the tones and melody, they can give justice to Patriotism. Let us recall some of these singers who did not only failed the song, but also failed to live up to the Nation’s Expectations…
Let’s start with the worst..
Geneva Cruz sang the song with a flip of the last note far from the original, while Christian Bautista made a shocking shortcut of the Lyrics and even smiled after making the mistak and an unknown Jennifer Bautista was off key and almost blew her tonsils to the moon during the last phrase by soaring on the skies without thinking that she forgot to put on her Parachute… dumb singers!
Regine Velasquez, Sarah Geronimo and Charice Pempengco are world class singers and power belters, but honestly, i like to ram on their throats the microphone in turning the solemn song into a piece of jugular vein popping crap. Either the tempo was changed or the notes on the last part were raised that even Darna could not reach… Just a note.. singing the Lupang Hinirang is not the right opportunity to hold a concert.
Probably the Most controversial of all is Martin Nievera‘s rendition of the National Anthem during the Pacquiao-Hatton fight. He totally changed not only the tempo but as well as the melody of the song. Martin almost caused his own freedom with his rendition because the National Historical Institute was not happy with his version. Martin is my Idol, I have a complete copy of his albums, but I cannot seem to accept the fact that he totally murdered the Lupang Hinirang. Martin, if you are reading this, just a reminder, the Philippine National Anthem is not a broadway song!
and just recently, in Nonito Donaire‘s fight, US based former Filipina Pop Singer Dessa also ruined the song with her belting, following the stupid Tradition of her fellow diva belters. Tsk tsk… such a dissapointment….
The singing of the National Anthem is specifically stipulated in Article XVI, Section 2 of the Philippine Constitution and is regulated and detaile in Republic Act 8491 or the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines. It is clearly specified in the said RA that all renditions of the Lupang Hinirang “shall be in accordance with the musical arrangement and composition of Julian Felipe.” This means that the tempo and the melody should be strictly pattered and based on the original version of the National anthem. It is also stated in the said Republic act that it should be sung with fervor… Take note FERVOR and not exaggeration. These tow words are very different from each other! How hard could it be to follow this rule? From Kindergarten to College, this song has been taught and sung over and over again. Its such a shame that even the simplest rule of law cannot be followed by these singers.
The only rendition I’ve seen which strictly followed these rules are that of Kyla and Lea Salonga’s rendition. Very Simple, no curvings, no belting and no changes. Pure and clear, very beautiful. Very Patriotic. Watch and listen to the CORRECT and PRECISE way of singing the National Anthem!
Party List representative Hontiveros suggested in amending the Republic act, but I don’t agree since it is already clear that the correct way in singing the National Anthem should be in accordance with the original composition of Julian Felipe.
The Philippine National Anthem is not just a song, History flows in every word and in every note that it consists. So changing the song itself in any manner contrary to what the law states is like plagiarizing history itself.
This might be petty to some because they always say “its not a big deal, its just a song”. That’s the problem with us. We don’t even know how to respect our very own song. What if your wedding song “Tanging Yaman” during your wedding was sang as a disco pop, how would you feel?
Failure to recognize history is failure to recognize own identity as a race…
Romuald Matthieson: a.k.a. "bluepanjeet" has been writing in cyber space since 2005. In 2006, he jump-started his Catholic blogging a few years before the Catholic Church utilized social networks and blogs in spreading the Gospel. In 2007, in response to a realization of the growing need for Catholic Bloggers online, he officially launched his own self-hosted Catholic blog and called it "On The Wings Of My Dream" or simply OTWOMD which is a metaphor of his favorite psalm in the Bible, Psalm 63. Since then he has been blogging, (and sometimes podcasting) for the Catholic Church using his enthusiasm in the New Media, his inclination on visual and digital arts, his passion for the written word and his love for the Catholic Church. You can follow Rom's tweets on Twitter @rommatthieson