Originating from Mediaval Spain, the rondalla is an ensemble of stringed instruments played with the plectrum or pick and generally known as plectrum instruments.
In the Philippines, Rondalla refers to any group of stringed instruments that are played using the plectrum or pick.
The instruments in the Philippine Rondalla are made from indigenous Philippine wood and the plectrum, or picks, are made from tortoise-shell. Other stringed instruments composing the standard Filipino rondalla are the bandurria, the laúd, the octavina, the bajo de uñas or double bass, bass guitar, and other Filipino-made instruments modeled and developed after the guitar.
The Philippine Rondalla’s repertoire typically include folk songs such as the balitaw and the kundiman, balse (waltz), danza, march music, modern and contemporary melodies, and foreign and Filipino classics.
Photos taken from one of the performances of the Villa Escudero Rondalla, courtesy of Bong Saculles.