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In this innovative resource, Thomas P. Walsh has compiled a unique collection of some 1,400 published and unpublished American musical compositions related to the Philippines during the American colonial era from 1898 to 1946. For the guide, Walsh surveyed a wide array of sources: published songs listed in WorldCat, online catalogs of sheet music collections of university libraries and major public and private research libraries, bibliographic compilations of popular music, periodical literature on music and popular culture, published collections of “soldier songs,” and sheet music listed for sale on commercial auction websites. The guide also identifies from song registrations in the U.S. Copyright Office’s Catalog of Copyright Entries (CCE) forty-eight years of musical compositions relating to the Philippines. By systematically going through the CCE, year by year, Walsh discovered hundreds of unpublished songs written by average Americans expressing their varied views about historical events and personal experiences in America’s faraway Southeast Asian colony.
Although most of the chronologically listed songs will be new to scholars and students, songs like “Ma Little Cebu Maid,” “My Own Manila Sue,” “My Fillipino Belle,” “Down on the Philippine Isles,” “Beside the Pasig River,” “My Philippino Pearl,” and “I Want a Filipino Man” were all published and widely promoted by Tin Pan Alley, as well as performed on stage, and listened to on records and piano rolls across America. The lyrics often illustrate popular American attitudes, from shrilly patriotic numbers about the Battle of Manila Bay and the later Fall of Bataan and Corregidor to wistful, romantic, and even charming reminiscences of happy days spent in “old” Manila to racially charged pieces rife with deprecating stereotypes of Filipinos. The book reprints a number of hard-to-find song lyrics, making them available to readers for the first time in more than a century. It also provides copyright registration numbers and dates of registration for many published and unpublished songs. Finally, more than 700 notes on particular songs and numerous links provide direct access to bibliographic records or digital copies of sheet music in libraries and collections.
Exhaustive in scope, Tin Pan Alley and the Philippines is an invaluable resource for scholars and students of American history, Pacific studies, popular culture, and ethnomusicology.
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Thomas P. Walsh served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in southern Luzon in the Philippines in the mid-sixties and lived and worked in the Philippines for almost twenty-five years. His professional experiences include senior programming positions with the International Development Research Centre in Ottawa and Cairo and with the Philippines Desk of the Asian Development Bank in Manila. While resident in Manila, he was a long-time Board Member of the American Historical Collection Foundation. He holds graduate degrees from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and from the Asian Studies Program of the University of Hawaii. His publications include a research guide and bibliography on martial law in the Philippines and articles on Philippine local politics and government and Philippine popular culture. His personal library of Filipiniana is one of the largest private collections in the United States.Review:
By demonstrating that songwriters were also thinking about the Philippines and Filipinos, Walsh pushes us to reimagine, or at least expand, this early history of popular music. . . .In Tin Pan Alley and the Philippines, Walsh unearths an important chapter in U.S. music history. His book is an excellent resource for those seeking more information on how U.S. composers dealt with the nation’s imperial project in the Philippines, but is also a useful companion to those interested in Tin Pan Alley and global popular music. (Notes: Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association)
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