Philippine Musical Publications

Publishing in the Philippines started to flourish in the 19th century, and resulted in a proliferation of periodicals about the sciences, religion, and the arts, which contributed to an increase in awareness among Filipinos.

Art publications with special sections on music, as well as publications dedicated to music, proved to be particularly popular. One of the earliest periodicals which appeared in 1891 was La Ilustración Filipina, founded by the Spanish-Filipino Jose Zaragoza y Aranquizna. Another was the La Lira Filipina (The Philippine Lyre), a music magazine published under the supervision of Manila-based Spanish musicians. Each issue included musical compositions. Its first issue was dated May 2, 1877. Meanwhile, Los Miércoles (1892) a weekly art magazine also contained some sheet music.

Musical publications continued to thrive in the early part of the 20th century, particularly in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1926, the Philippine Musical Review, an English-Spanish magazine, made its debut. It contained musical compositions by Professor Gerardo Enriquez, its founder and editor. The Music Lover, meanwhile, was a monthly music magazine that aimed to help advance Philippine music and protect the welfare of Filipino musicians. It first came out in 1931, and each issue included articles and musical compositions by Filipino composers. Meanwhile, the works of Francisco Santiago, Antonio Molina, Juan de S. Hernandez, Antonino Buenaventura, and Juan Yee Benasa, among others, were featured in Philippine Musical Review.

In January 1941, the Arrangers’ and Composers’ Union (ACU) was founded. Soon after its founding the organization published a monthly periodical called The A.C.U. News, which was devoted to music and contained musical compositions by ACU members. In 1942, the Concert Guide was published by the Manila Concert Management. Its goal was to develop a taste for the classics and to serve as a venue for the promotion of young and upcoming artists.

In 1949, a few years after the Second World War, The Musical Philippines was launched. It was published through the efforts of an organization of art promoters, the Little Theatre Group. It had articles by prominent musicians and was meant to promote musical activities in the country.


Bañas, Raymundo C. Pilipino Music and Theater. Quezon City: Manlapaz, Publishing, 1975.


Magazine stand (Retrato Photo Archive)

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