Malay Music in Malaysia
A Brief Study of the Changes In the 20th Century Malay – Tradition, Conflict and Change Done By: Melanie Eng Rachel Chew Word Count: 2094 words Introduction The 20th century saw Malaysia undergoing numerous political, social and economical changes, all of which were reflected In the cultural changes that also took place during this time. In particular, Malay music In Malaysia, due to a myriad of factors and Influences, experienced significant transformation to become Malay music, as we know It today.As such, this paper seeks to explore the changes observed in Malay music in the context of Malaysia over the 20th century, and provide an analysis of the factors which have contributed to these changes. In our study of the subject, two broad questions provide the framework for research: what are the changes that have been observed; and what are the factors, both local and external, that have contributed to the changes? Method of Gathering Information Research was largely based on articles, Journals and books that provided a description of the observed trends in Malay music, and the socio-political situation of the given context.Description of subject and Findings Based on our research, several major changes were observed, namely the blending of cultures in Malay music, the Hesitations of traditional Malay music, and the emergence of modern Malay pop music.
Upon analysis of our research findings, we observed one overarching general trend in the changes to Malay music in Malaysia, being the growth in diversity of Malay music. Diversity is observed in terms of variety of genre, the messages transmitted through the music and the instruments utilized in the production of the music. Blending of Cultures Within Genres of Malay MusicIt Is apparent that present day forms of Malay music contain traces of elements belonging to other cultures and groups, a clear difference from the traditional Malay music of the past. This is a result of the infusion of a hybrid of foreign cultures into tried their hand at blending elements from different cultures, styles and genres of music to produce interesting and contemporary styles of music they can call their own. Some try to blend Eastern and Western music, like Zinnia Abiding, M. Nanas and Shall, while others, like DC Dave, Hail Emir and Shoji Rasher create Hindustan- influenced music.Malaysian composer Valerie Ross, in particular, was able to integrate western and eastern musical elements into a blend that she named cross- cultural fusion.
Such integration of cultures adds a new dimension, further increasing the variety of styles and genres of Malay music. Hesitations of Malay Traditional Music In the past, Malay traditional music centered around the gametal (a stringed instrument from Indonesia), and other traditional instruments such as gongs, xylophones and cylindrical drums (known as Urbane Bi, or giant drums).Gametal sic was, and still is a form of traditional music widely performed in Malaysia during ceremonies. Traditional music is usually associated with traditional theatre forms such as Make Young, Waning Kilt, and other entertainment activities. This type of music is performed mainly by percussion-dominated ensembles, which include combinations of four types of instruments, namely the earphone (wind instruments), membranous (drum-sounds produced by membrane-covered musical instruments), audiophile (percussion instruments of fixed immovable surface), and the choreograph (string instruments).Traditional music reached its peak during the sass to sass when it was a fundamental part of the entertainment of both court and folk life. Thereafter, the various royal courts in Malaysia retained their own dance and music troupes, while the common people, too, created their own forms of folk music.
By the end of the 20th century, however, we see that although Malay in Malaysia have maintained most of their traditional beliefs and heritage, modernization has already slowly but surely influenced the trends of Malay music and dance.Instead of the monotonous drum beats of the Urbane Bi, modern synthesizers have been included in accompaniment to the traditional gametal and drums. The Rise of Malay Popular Music Before the sass, the pop music scene in Malaysia was almost non-existent. Malaysia’s pop music scene developed from traditional Assail (pure) music, which was popularized in the sass by bandannas musicians. The period between 1965 and 1971 was termed the “Era of Pop Yeah Yeah. ” Colonization led to the introduction of bands like The Battles and The Shadows which exerted great influence, as evidenced by how many local singers started emulating Western pop stars.Rocky Teeth was known as the ‘Elvis’ of Malaysia and overall women called themselves the local ‘Connie Francis.
‘ Later, other Malaysian would aspire to emulate Tom Jones, Bob Marled and other foreign entertainers. Followed by dozens of others. The Pop Yeah Yeah stars sold thousands of records and dominated the music scene in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunet throughout the sass. Many sang only in Malay. Music in this era was more Western-sounding than much of the earlier Malay pop music. During this era, western popular music was heard increasingly on the radio, spreading the western pop culture to even the rural villages.Many youngsters in the eater sass and throughout the sass listened mostly to rock and roll on portable radios or Jukeboxes in coffee shops.
Following the popularization of western music by Broadway musicals, Malay movies followed this fashionable trend by incorporating songs that imitated western-styled scales and arrangements. Pop Yeah Yes’s popularity started to decline in 1971, giving way to the rise of other music genres like Hard Rock, Metal and later, Disco. The center of the Malay music industry shifted from Singapore to Koala Lump around this time and non-Malay musicians began entering the Malay music market.By the early sass, KILL became the center of Malay popular music. Factors Leading to Changes The greater diversity in Malay music can be attributed to a number of factors, namely economic influences, social and political environment, modernization and technological advancement, globalization, and Hesitations. Economic Influences Economic influences play a significant role in that economic prosperity in Malaysia has provided the resources needed for the growth and promotion of Malay music to be pursued.Following the rapid economic growth in the region in the late sass and early sass, the need for social and cultural growth to accompany growing affluence in order to reflect an improvement to Malaysian’ standards of living saw the government allocating greater financial support to the encouragement of the arts, especially music.
Music was introduced as a subject in the New Integrated Secondary School Curriculum in 1995, and a number of organizations relating to music were set up in 1993, including the National Choir, the National Arts Academy, and the National Symphony Orchestra.New degree programs in music were also introduced in local universities, corporate-based orchestras, and private universities. The increased support for musical education and performance encouraged for a greater focus to be placed on Malay music and provided more people with the resources, in terms of musical knowledge and skill, needed to explore Malay music, thus increasing opportunity for the emergence of new artistes, styles and genres.Changes in Social and Political Environment in Malaysia Changes in the social and political environment in Malaysia were also imperative factors in significantly altering the messages that Malay music was used to convey. Immigrants from various lands, creating a multi-ethnic population in Malaysia that brought along new tastes in music, providing for a new market for a more diverse sound in Malay popular music. The greater variety of ethnic groups also meant that new cultural influences from foreign lands were introduced into Malay music. P.
Ramee’s repertoire of songs reflect the fusion of musical elements of various local and foreign cultures, be it through the use of different instruments or the incorporation of various rhythms, styles and themes derived from the different ultras in Malaysia. The lyrics of Malay songs were also indicative of changes in the social environment, as songs such as Taxi Rumba and Pack Taking Beach (Terminal and Piety S, sass) reflected not only the voices and occupations of the common man, but also the racial composition of the Malaysian population.The Tristan man, as mentioned in the song, in Malaysia was typically Chinese, and the pattern of certain races being associated with specific occupations, which was prevalent at that time, is reflected in the lyrics, which employ the use of Hookier words mixed with Malay rods. Changes in the political environment also affected Malay music, the most significant indicator being the shift in the centre of Malay popular music from Singapore to Malaysia, following the end of the colonial period, independence and the exit of Singapore from Malaysia in 1965.The rise of nationalism in Malaysia also gave rise to the creation of songs such as Malay (Mad CB, sass), formed for the purpose of expressing and promoting nationalistic sentiments. As such, we see that the social and political environment greatly influenced the diversity of Malay music ND the messages that it was used to convey. Modernization and Technological Advancement Modernization and technological advancement were particularly significant factors in that they led to substantial changes in the methods of production of music.
The inclusion of modern synthesizers in Malay music led to the creation of songs that were a significant deviation from the songs of the past, where only ancient drums and traditional instruments were used. Technological advancements also led to musicians having greater ability to manipulate the sounds of their music, and the emergence of new file formats and methods of transferring information gave rise to the increasing affordability and accessibility of Compact Discs, which contributed to the boosting of the music industry and promotion of Malay music.Globalization Globalization in the late 20th century saw the integration of cultures, societies and economies as technological advancement allowed for communication and exchange between countries all over the world. Fast and effective modes of trading information allowed for cultural influence to be spread among populations that previously had ad little interaction, providing opportunities for local culture to be exposed to foreign cultures. This phenomenon too, exercised influence over Malay music in Malaysia.The greater amount of exposure to musical cultures across the globe inevitably led to the blending of musical cultures as artistes became aware of the greater range of styles and techniques that could be employed. Experimentation with creation of new unique sounds that add diversity to the existing variety of Malay music.
Hesitations Of all the external influences that foreign cultures have had on Malay music, Western music is perhaps the strongest, or at least the most apparent factor accounting for the diversification of Malay music.Since the time of colonization in Malaysia, an increasing usage of Western instruments in the production of Malay music can be observed. The British-established education system introduced western music first to the Malay aristocracy, and it was then filtered down to the masses. In the post-independence period, popular culture originating from the west exerted much influence on the styles of Malay music. The ‘Era of Pop Yeah Yeah’ is an excellent example of how Malay music was heavily influenced by Western bands.Malaysian singers stylized themselves on Western pop stars and singers emulated the dressing and musical style of foreign entertainers. However, the period of ‘Pop Yeah Yeah’ did not merely see the emergence of Western pop star imitators.
Malaysian artistes under the influence of Western music were also able to create unique sounds by blending local musical culture with Western musical elements. P. Ramee’s duets with his wife were accompanied by a Western orchestra, and the bandannas musicians of the early 20th century incorporated the use of the IANA and the Western drum kit in addition to the instruments of the Western dance band.Concluding Summary and Future Trends In sum, this paper has presented the various changes that have been observed in Malay music in the context of Malaysia, and provided an analysis of the factors that have contributed to the increasing diversity. From the trends observed, it seems highly likely that Malay music will continue to develop and diversify under the influences of evolving foreign cultures and the changes in the local social, economic and political environment.