INTRODUCTION: A BRIEF HISTORY OF TRADITIONAL MALAYSIAN
The history of Malaysian music needs to be viewed from the perspective of the old Malay world which covered Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Cambodia, along with parts of Thailand. Within this cultural entity, one can find numerous similarities of musical instruments and musical structures which are the result of a common cultural heritage moulded by musical elements from the West Asia, India and China
In addition to the Indian and Islamic factors, Malaysian art forms have also been influenced by the country’s neighbours, particularly Indonesia and Thailand. Indonesia immigrants, especially Javanese and Bugis, along with Minangkabau, Achinese and other Sumaterans who are traditionally concentrated in the south-western part of the Malay Peninsula (ex: Johore, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan and Selangor) brought with them several of the performing arts which are now considered Malaysian (Ghouse Nasuruddin 1992). Among them are the Javanese wayang purwa, a form of shadow play which is different from those of Kelantan and Kedah; the ketoprak, a dance drama; kuda kepang, another traditional dance; and the angklung, a musical ensemble consisting of bamboo chime instruments. In addition, the Bugis brought to Terengganu the joget gamelan from the Riau Archipelago, and also the rodat from Acheh in Sumatera via Sambas in Borneo.
The Malaysian performing arts in the northern part of the Peninsula have been greatly affected by Thais cultural influences. (Ghouse Nasuruddin 1992) In the wake of the decline of Majapahit during the course of the 14th century, the Thais started their move southwards and tried to assert their claim to over lordship of all the Malay Peninsula and forcing Malay Rulers to send ‘tribute’ to Ayuthia, and then later to Bangkok. Nevertheless, the rise of Malacca checked this southward expansion, and even after the fall of Malacca to the Portuguese in 1511, Thai influence was successfully confined to the three northern Peninsular Malay states of Kelantan, Kedah and Terengganu.
The British helped in containing Thai influence to theses states as their own power and influence grew in the Peninsula. Finally in 1909 sovereignty over these four northern states (which now included Perlis) was formally handed over to the British by the Treaty of Bangkok. Nevertheless, for over 500 years these for northern states of the Peninsula Malaysia had been periodically subjected to Thai political and cultural influences. It is, therefore, not surprising to find elements of the Thai performing arts such as the Wayang Kulit Siam of Kelantan, the Wayang KulitGedek of Kedah and Perlis, and the menora dance drama within these states. ). (Terry E, Miller, Sean W 2008)
The more recent major influence on the performing arts of Malaysia, was effected by the Portuguese are credited with the introduction of the violin and the guitar, while British cultural influence in Malaysia has been much more generalized. (Ghouse Nasuruddin 1992). In addition to popularizing western music, dance, and theatre, the Europeans have also directly influenced the development of semi-modern syncretic musical forms such as the asli, keroncong, ghazal and bangsawan, which combine both western and traditional musical elements.
As a consequence of these influences, traditional Malaysian music exhibits multi-faceted musical styles which combine regional as well western and West Asian elements. For example, the musical styles and instruments of northern Peninsula Malaysia resemble those of the Thais, while those in the southern part of the Peninsula have incorporated Indonesian musical elements. Furthermore, all over Malaysia western musical influences are glaringly evident.
Shadow puppet theatre
The shadow puppet play (wayang kulit) is an ancient form of traditional theatre in Malaysia. The stories are told by a puppet master (dalang) who manipulates the puppets (called wayang) which are seen in shadows projected on a screen. (Ghouse Nasuruddin 1992). In this very old form of theatre a small ensemble plays the music to accompany the movement of puppets and events in the stories. In Malaysia there are four types of shadow puppet play, each with a specific name and distinctive style. These are Wayang Kulit Jawa (Javanese shadow puppet play), the Wayang Kulit Gedek (mixture of Thai and Malay folk styles of shadow puppet play), the Wayang Kulit Melayu (Malay court form of shadow puppet play) and Wayang Kulit Kelantan (Kelantanese shadow puppet play)
The presence of foreign influences in puppets, repertoire or music does not in itself prove that the technique originates from the same source as these influences.
Wayang Kulit Jawa
The Wayang Kulit Jawa, Javanese influenced and originated in Indonesia and is performed today by the descendants of Javanese immigrants who settled in the southern state of Johor many decades ago. (Ghouse Nasuruddin 1992). In Malaysia, this form of shadow play still maintains the basic features of the Wayang Kulit Purwa of Indonesia, including the use of the stories, characters from the Mahabharata epic and the musical accompaniment of the Javanese Gamelan. The gamelan in this shadow play includes singers as well as xylophones, metallophones, and knobbed gongs just as in Indonesia. Malaysia maintains the basic feature of Wayang Kulit Purwa which consist the characteristic of Mahabharata epics and gamelan ensemble accompaniment.
Wayang Kulit Jawa
Wayang Kulit Gedek
This Wayang Kulit Gedek, performed in the northern peninsular states of Perlis, Kedah and Kelantan, is called Nang Talung in Thailand. (Ghouse Nasuruddin 1992). This type of shadow puppet play originated in Southern Thailand and features small-sized, flat leather puppets. In Malaysia Wayang Kulit Gedek is performed by Thai and Malay peoples using a mixture of Thai and Malay language or just the southern Thai dialect, depending upon the audience. The stories feature local tales and episodes from the Ramayana epic (called the Ramakien in Thailand). The style of performance, music and puppet design show a distinct mixture of southern Thai and Malay traits including the small orchestra of drums, knobbed gongs, cymbals and bowed stringed instruments. In former times the wind instrument called pi or pi Jawa (a quadruple reed shawm) was included in this ensemble, and it is still often featured in the Wayang Kulit Gedek orchestra in Malaysia. However, today in southern Thailand the bow lutes called saw oo and saw duang (originating from the huqin family of Chinese bowed flutes) are preferred in place of the pi.
The drums in this ensemble include klong khat, thon and klong khaek, similar to the Malay geduk, gedumbak and gendang,(Figure 1-3), respectively, a small pair of finger cymbals and the gong-chime called mong (2 knobbed gongs placed horizontally in a wooden box) are also used.
WAYANG KULIT GEDEK
Wayang Kulit Melayu
Wayang Kulit Melayu, also named as Wayang Kulit Jawa, is strongly influenced by the Wayang Kulit Purwa of Indonesia. In the 19th and 20th centuries, this type of shadow play developed under the patronage of the sultan and existed as entertainment mainly for the aristocrats connected to the palaces of Kelantan and Kedah. In earlier times it was also performed in the Malay Sultanate of Patani. Today this Sultanate is no longer exists, but the location of the former kingdom is still located at southern Thailand.
The stories of the Wayang Kulit Melayu focus on episodes of the Mahabharata epic, and the form and design of the puppets are nearly identical to the style of puppets from Java and Indonesia. During World War II this type of shadow puppet theatre was not performed; after the war years it was revived as entertainment for villagers without the patronage of the sultans. By the 1980s experienced puppet masters were difficult to find ant the Wayang Kulit Melayu. Today in Malaysia, this shadow play is rarely performed.
The orchestra consists of several bronze gongs including a pair of large, hanging gongs called tetawak(Plate 1), a single knobbed horizontal gong called the mong, and a set of six or more small horizontal gongs called the canang(Plate 2). In addition, a pair of kesi cymbals (Plate 3), a pair of elongated barrel, double-headed drums called gendang (Plate 6) and one 2-stringed rebab is used. The rebab exhibits a mixture of Malay and Javanese features using only two strings in Javanese form, but with the body construction of the Malay rebab. A specific musical repertory existed for this type of shadow play, but today only a few pieces are still known.
Wayang Kulit Melayu
WAYANG KULIT KELANTAN
The Wayang Kulit Kelantan is a folk theatre and is to be referred as Wayang Kulit Siam. This shadow puppets originally from and play around states in Kelantan, Kedah, Terengganu and formerly in Perak and Pahang. This is the most famous traditional puppet theatre among all in Malaysia. The former time, this performance is for ritual purpose, but today it been revived and to be performed as an entertainment. The Ramayana epic is the main focus for the trunk and stories for Kelantanese shadow play.
The shadow play is one of the oldest theatrical art-forms in Asia and is found as far north as China and as far west as India and Turkey. Each country has its own form and style of shadow play, and there are variations within each of these forms.
The home of the shadow play still has not been identified with certainty, as an evident from the controversies regarding its origin. According to Otto Spies, Sabri East Siyavusgil and William Ridgeway, it originated in India. Berthold Laufer, citing China as its home, tells of a legend about the later Han Emperor Kuang Wu Ti (25-57 A.D.) who instructed the court shaman to cast shadows on a screen in an effort to recall the spirit of his departed wife. Hazeu, on the other hand, credits Java as its place of origin because of the Javanese terminology in the Wayang Kulit Purwa. There are scholars who support the India origin of the shadow theatre because of the repertoire of the South-East Asian shadow plays which mainly portray episodes from the two Hindu epics, the Ramayana and Mahabharata. But as noted by Alessio Bombaci, the shadow play could have emerged on its own in all these places – India, China and West Asia, and from these separate areas spread to other countries through economic, political and cultural interaction. However whatever its genesis, the shadow play doubt began as an animistic ritual.
Even since its inception, the shadow play has been influenced by the religious beliefs prevalent in those countries where it has become established, to the extent that each variety reflects in microsm the religious history of its land of domicile. This is particularly true of the Malaysian shadow play whose rituals combine elements of animism, Hinduism and Islam.
As we have already seen, through the ages Malaysia has been influenced by strong Indian, Chinese, Thai and Javanese cultural influences, with the result that her shadow plays bear striking resemblances to the Thai nang talung, the Khmer nang trolung, and the Javanese Wayang Kulit Purwa.
The four types of Malaysia shadow play adapted from Javanese Wayang Kulit purwa, Wayang Kulit Melayu and Wayang Kulit Melayu both display similarities in structure, technique and performance with their Javanese counterpart. What differentiate is the one from the other of the configuration of the puppets and the nature of their musical ensembles. According to Patricia A, Sooi Beng T, the puppets of the Wayang KulitMelayu, which are highly stylized, have two moveable arms, while those of the less stylized Wayang Kulit Melayu have only one moveable arm. While a gamelan ensemble accompanies the Wayang KulitMelayu, the Wayang Kulit Melayu uses an indigenous musical ensemble. The repertoire of both the shadow plays consist of episodes from the Javanese and Malay versions of the Ramayana and Mahabharata, tales from the Panji cycles, the Islamic tales of Amir Hamzah, and local lore and legend. (Endon S 1999)
Wayang Kulit Kelantanuses the technique of the Javanese Wayang Kulit Jawa to perform the Thai version of the Ramayana, as well as containing elements of local lore and legend. It differs from the Wayang Kulit Gedek, in the configuration of its puppets and in the nature of the accompanying musical ensemble. (Ghouse Nasuruddin 1992) The puppets of Wayang Kulit Kelantan are only seen in profile, puppets of Wayang Kulit Gedek uses combination of full-faced and profiled. Furthermore, the Wayang Kulit Kelantan musical ensemble is larger than that of Wayang Kulit Gedek.
Wayang Kulit Kelantan
Shadow Play Music
There are seventeen repertoires in Kelantan shadow theatre and to be divided into four categories – Ritualistic, emotional, designate individual character, and variety of occasions and designate action. Two examples are show below: Bertabuh and Tuk Maha Siku
Mak Yong pieces are included in some of the repertoire in shadow play, for instance Lagu Yong Bertabuh, Sang Gendang, Pakyung Muda, and Lagu Barat. Younger troupe insert several modern pieces such as Lagu Joget Kelantan and Lagu Berlari Yong Muda, This is innovation of shadow play but was not appreciate by the older troupes to adulterate the music of shadow play; they only stick to their principle by performing traditionally pieces. For my opinion, innovation of shadow play is a significant issue for the sake of entertainment effect and also self satisfaction to make an improvement of music element aspect.
Lagu Perang (war music) is the most common piece to be play Kelantan shadow theatre. It is show in the opening continuation as Lagu Bertabuh, combat in between two Dewa Panah (mystical warriors); the whole repertoire is all about fighting and battle in the play. A few pieces were often to be played in the shadow play are Lagu Hulubalang which indicates all warriors; it accompanies Sri Rama when he is ready for war, Hanuman, lesser princes, and all warriors.
On my opinion, within the play proper of the shadow play performance, dramatic action is essential to be played in the music piece, but the structural format is remain a definite ritualistic opening of the actual play performance.
Before the proper performance start, Dalang Tua (elder Dalang) will manipulate the puppets, sing and speaks every character’s part and conduct the orchestra. The buka ponggang( opening ceremony) emerged in Mak Yong repertoire to portrayed his acts of connecting the real and nether worlds. Lagu Bertabuh is a start of informing the villagers that the play is to begin; in another way is also a conclusion of the ritualistic ceremony.
Shadow play ensembles or orchestras and instruments
The musical ensembles of the shadow play are percussion-dominated with either a solitary aerophone (wind) or a chordophone (string) instrument. An example for Wayang Kulit Kelantan ensemble has the following instruments:
Orotund material is to make to Idiophones instruments. Tetawak, kesi and canang occurs as a pairs in idiophone structure.
The pair of tetawak (Plate 1) are knobbed gongs which hung between wooden racks, and padded beater is to hit the knob. The larger tetawak played lower pitch which called“tawak ibu” (mother tawak), tawak anak (child tawak) played the high pitch. Major third or perfect fifth is the tuning in between one set to another. The standardization of the tuning of tetawak so as canang is not the main important issue in music.
Canang(Plate 2) is made of iron or metal, and it consists of two knobbed gongs, which hung horizontally on the wooden rack. The two gongs are hit by a pair of peddar beater, both gongs (anak canang and ibu canang ) played in different pitches( high and low pitch). Both gongs tuning interval may range from majors second to sixth.
Kesi Cymbals (Plate 3) have a cup-like protruding with a small hole to enable to two cymbals to be connected. It is made of booze or iron. Resonant, ringing sound occurs when striking by player on the pair of cymbals. Unison are played in two pieces of timbres with canang, canang anak (high pitch) played ringing timbre whilst canang ibu (low pitch) played damped timbre. Kesi is similar to the western cymbal.
The serunai(Plate 4) is a double reed instrument which falls into the shawm category, varying in length from 12 to 18 inches and constructed from variation of woods such as batang lada, lebam and nangka. It is divided into three sections, namely kepala (head), batang (stem) and pipit (mouth-piece) .Daun lunta, a type of fern leaf, is used for the reed. Altogether there are eight sound holes on the serunai, seven on top and one below. It is adorned with intricate carvings and painted with various shades of colour.
Three types of drum constitute the membranophone category. The first is a pair of mother and son cylindrical-shaped geduk (Plate 7), with the mother being the larger of the two. Its dimension varies from 12 to 20 inches in length, with a front circumference between 30 to 37 inches and a back circumference of between 27 to 33 inches.
The body of the geduk is mostly made from kayu nangka, but kayu sena or kayu merbau is sometimes used. Both sides are covered with cow or buffalo hide. The two legs located at one end of the geduk serve to tilt it towards the drummer to facilitate his playing, which is done with a pair of drum sticks.
The pair of gendang (Plate 6), mother and son, are both barrel-shaped, with the mother being the larger of the two. The mother drum measures from 20 to 22 inches in length, and has a front circumference which varies between 24 to 33 inches and a back circumference of between 24 to 29 inches. The length of the gendang anak (son drum) varies from 19 to 22 inches with a front circumference of between 22 to 25 inches and a back circumference of between 19 to 22 inches.
More often than not, the body of the gendang is made from kayu nangka rather than from kayu merbau. Both the front and back faces of the drum are covered with animal skins, cow hide for the mother drum and goatskin for the son drum. Rattan strands are coiled around one end of the body as an anchor to stretch the skin and vary the tension of its surface. The drums are played with both hands, one for striking each face.
Texture and Form
The texture of shadow theatre can be categories into melodic line played by serunai, variety of drum rhythmic pattern and bronze instruments play the element of gong.
The form and structure in each piece of shadow play is determined and defined by colotomic structure or gong unit in the music. (Ghouse Nasuruddin 1992) .The gong unit is a time unit marked at its end by lowest pitches gong is the tetawak ibu, which is stuck at the last beat of gong unit. Gong unit is to be served as a basis element to be play in shadow plays and Mak Yong, multiples of two beats are based on the total number of colotomic structure. (Patricia A, Sooi Beng T 2004). Hence, in the gong unit, there are no 2- beat but continuously with 4-, 8-, 16-, 32-, 64- and so on.
The gong unit is to be identifying by particular gong tone to played specific beat, as a result binary form is occurs in gong unit as the subdivision of internal gong to be played. Division of half occurs in first gong unit, for example gong tones occurs in beat 8 and 16 in a 16- beats gong unit.
Another significant trait in 2-beat stress in the gong unit, firstly it( pulse weakly on the first beat and continue with a strong stress on the second beat. Patricia A, Sooi Beng T 2004) Repetition of the weak and strong stress in the repertoire is to gain the appropriate number of beat at variety gong unit. Canang gong chime play the 2-beat stress gong unit in shadow play, sometime ding-dong vocalized syllabus will be use as ding to be the first weak beat by canang anak (high pitch); whereas dong is to be played on the second strong beat by canang ibu ( low pitch). At the meantime, kesi cymbals are played to mark a resounding timbre in the weak beat and damped timbre in the strong beat.
In the piece of Pak Dogol, the gedumbak and gendang anak produce specific 4-beat rhythmic patterns that combine to give a complete resultant rhythmic pattern for piece. Because the piece Pak Dogol based on 8-beat unit gong unit, the 4-beat resultant drum pattern is played twice in the time one complete gong unit. (Example 1)
Pentatonic, hexatonic and heptatonic are the main three scales in shadow play pieces. These three scales type are established in the repertory, hexatonic and heptatonic scales accent on five specific pitches which may contemplate a pentatonic core within the larger scale system. Semitone or whole tone are contains at all level of intervals. For example, third interval include in some scales. Sampling to be shown below: (Patricia A, Sooi Beng T 2004)
Dalang can be found at padi harvest, the wayang season thus beginning of the rainy season. A popular dalang may expect to receive invitation to perform which will keep him occupied throughout the season, extending from about March to October. Dalang incomes (Amin.S 1972) entirely from the wayang and those that attempt to do so have a meager existence during the rainy season when they are forced to live on what has been saved during the wayang season which is seldom much. The dalang have a secondary occupation, and where the dalang does not enjoy much success, the wayang will be his secondary occupation.
The performance definitely entertainment for humans not spirits. These rituals are performed for various purposes, propitiation of spirits, releasing a person from a vow, and initiating a pupil, but their form is basically the same and consists of a synthesis of Javanesse wayang ritual and local spirit medium ship. The importance of these rituals is that performed to ward off the threat of cholera by placating the local spirits.
The dalang learn their art from a teacher, the few exceptions to this merely imitating the performances of others. The teacher is rarely the dalang’s father and the art is not hereditary. (Amin.S 1972). Comparison of the repertoire, performance and ritual of a dalang with those of his teacher reveals, almost without exception, considerable differences. There are several reasons for this: It is rare that a dalang learns everything from one source and it is not unsual to have had more than one teacher, though this may not be admitted.
A dalang may further learn pieces of repertoire from persons who are not even dalang and information are also gleaned by observing the performances of other dalang. It is clear, therefore, that every dalang’s knowledge is to a greater or lesser extent a pot pourri gathered from several sources. (Amin.S 1972)
Several reasons for becoming a dalang but the primary motive is nearly always that he experiences intense pleasure from observing the wayang and that he has the urge and desire to perform himself.
Dance Theatre – Mak Yong
Human characters but not puppet play performed the traditional theatres known as Mak Yong. Mak Yong is forms by three integral- dance, dialogue and music with the legend story from local place. While there are common denominators in dramatic, musical, and dance structure, there are, however, marked difference among them in dance and music styles.
The Mak Yong has been noted as an ancient Malay form of theatre as witnessed in legends, myths and by its close ties to the traditional healing ceremony called the main puteri. (Ghouse Nasuruddin 1992) Besides that, Common feature are shared in these various traditional theatres. The performances are usually to anticipated and down mainly from stories and legend known to the community. Generally, plots are episode and long enough to allow audience members to drift in and out during the performance.
Mak Yong is a traditional form of dance originated in Southern Thailand, it appears in Kelantan since last two hundred years, and is one of the popular traditional dances in Terengganu and spread to Kedah. In the early 20th century, Mak Yong was given royal patronage by the court of Kelantan which established a “theatrical village” known as the “Kampung Temenggung” in the town of Kota Bahru. (Ghouse Nasuruddin 1992) This form of theatre was supported and patronized by His Highness Temengung Ghaffar from the Kelantan palace at that time. But the patronage did not last long until the death of Sultan Mohamad IV at 1920, although Mak Yong was originally about rural regions as a folk tradition, through its years of royal patronage the music, dance, costumes and other theatrical aspects were refined because of the constant opportunities for practice and performance in Kampung Temengung.
In between the changes; Mak Yong became popular as an entertainment in the public and lost its artistic quality which is normally connected with a court oriented performance. When time goes by, the court dance eventually turn to a normal performance to the public and created new audience, portraying the folk life. Mak Yong performs at many occasions, but emphasize specifically on padi harvest, that is a thanksgiving ceremony for bounteous crop. Wedding, king’s birthday and national holiday were the occasions Mak Yong to be performed.
According to Patricia A, Sooi Beng T, Mak Yong traditional performances have a connection with ritual and the world of spirits. Mak Yong served as healing rituals. Main Puteri is the healing person and the healing section involves soporific dance and spirit possession. In some traditional cities, the healing rituals are still pursuing but they are mainly frowned nowadays. It reflects the inner, the significant and mysterious of stories. High ritual performance sometimes occurs in Mak Yong. A good example: sembah guru (paying homage to one’s teacher) ceremony and performance in which a student, who is ready to go on stage as a principal, performs certain rites within connection of a performance itself. The main puteri healing ceremony for the intention of healing a sick people will sometime found in the main structure element of Mak Yong. Shaman (bomoh) take the lead to communicate with the spirit world to discover the root of an illness and the main actress (the Pak Yong character), although main puteri ceremonial elements become dominant in the performance, the music used is still that of the Mak Yong.
Troupe of women performed the main role whilst men played the clown roles. This form of dance was established as a court form (C.1875) that became well known to villages. The women sing, dance and perform improvise dialogue especially in the clown and contemporary section. The action takes place in the round, with all nonnative cast members sitting casually around the outside of the circle. (Anonymous n.d) Performers are considered to be off-stage or members of the chorus when not in the central acting space. Performers work towards the creation and identification character types, stylized motion, poetic language and rhythmic language. Along with dialogue and notated passage, music, song and dance is also incorporated into traditional performance. Serious or tragic events are intermingling with comedy.
The original story in the Mak Yong dramatic repertory is called the Dewa Muda, which is a Malay folk tale. The stories Dewa Muda come along with about twelve other tales consist the dramatic repertory. (Patricia A, Sooi Beng T 2004) Several of these stories are also performed in other local theater forms such as the wayang kulit, menorah and the bangsawan. The stories focus on folk heroes, heroines, their fantastic adventures, and are told using dialogue, singing and dance by the characters along with the accompaniment of vocal and instrumental music. Some of the especially important roles are the Pakyung and Pakyung Muda (the king and prince), the queen or Makyung and the princess or Puteri Makyung, the old and young clown-servants known respectively, as the Peran Tua and Peran Muda, and the astrologer or expert of some kind called Tok Wak. In the 20th century, and still today, all principal roles are taken by women who dress according to the role played. However, before the 1020s men played the roles of the Pakyung and Pakyung Muda and not women.
The Makyung performance begins with an opening ceremony called the Buka Panggung (opening of the stage) with prayers, offerings of food and the consecration of the musical instruments and other items. (Patricia A, Sooi Beng T 2004). Immediately following the official opening is the performance of several pieces before the story itself actually begins. These pieces each have a special function and serve to introduce the characters or carry out some other special purpose. For example, the actors and actresses come onto the stage with the accompaniment of the piece called Pakyung Turun (The king descends), an instrumental piece. This piece is followed by a ritual song and dance called the Menghadap Rebab (paying homage to the rebab), which salutes the musical instrument called the rebab.
The opening section of the performance continues with the pieces entitled Sedayung Mak yong and Sedayung Pak yong. These two pieces are performed to introduce the Mak Yong and Pak Yong characters. Another piece entitled Ela is performed by the Pak Yong character to introduce the character he will play in the story for the evening.
All of these pieces (except the Pak Yong Turun) also involved specific dances, which are performed by the main singer along with the members of the chorus (the jong dondang). This group of sung and danced pieces comprises a fixed opening, which is performed each time a Mak Yong performance takes place. A given story takes several nights to complete and, before its continuation from night to night, the fixed opening of sung and danced pieces is repeated. From a repertory of some thirty named tunes the actors and actresses use the various musical pieces and dances that are appropriate at specific times in the unfolding of the drama.
Mak Yong musical instruments
Mak Yong music is performed by a small orchestra consisting of a pair of gendang drums, a pair of tetawak gongs and one three-stringed rebab. Additional instruments such as the serunai, canang and the geduk drum are sometimes borrowed from both the Wayang Kulit Kelantan and the Thai menora ensembles to play instrumental pieces for special purposes such as the dance piece entitled Tari Ragam.
Tetawak and gendang: The tetawak and gendang in the Mak Yong orchestra are identical to those instruments found in the shadow play ensemble
Rebab: The three-stringed rebab plays melody in Mak Yong music. This bowed lute belongs to the chordophone family of musical instruments. It has a triangular-shaped wooden body, and its front (or face) is covered with a membrane from the lining of the cow’s stomach that has been cleaned and dried. A small knob called the susu (nipple) made from bee’s was is attached to the upper left side of the face and serves to dampen the sound. The back side of the body is covered with cloth and colorful yarn. A thick, rounded wooden neck extends from the body and is attached to it by a long, thin wooden spike placed vertically inside the body (hence this instrument is often called a ‘spiked fiddle’. At the lower end of the spike and at the base of the body another thick peg is attached and serves as a ‘foot’ on which the instrument rests when it is played. The rebab is completed by a head piece located at the upper end of the neck. This head piece is carved in the bamboo shoot design and painted, while the very top of the head piece is finished off with a removable finial.
The three metal strings on the instrument are attached to the bottom of the body and stretched over a small wooden bridge, located near the front upper middle part of the body. From the bridge the strings run along the neck and are attached to three lateral tuning pegs. The pegs are turned to tighten the strings. The placement of the strings is secured with thick cotton string tied around the neck just below the tuning pegs. (Patricia A, Sooi Beng T 2004). The three strings are tuned (from the lowest to the highest) at the intervals of the Perfect 4th and a Perfect 5th or in two Perfect 4th. The actual register and pitches of the open strings depend on the vocal range of the singer.
The metal strings of the rebab are bowed using a wooden bow with nylon strings that are tightened by the player’s hand as he holds the bow (today the nylon replaces the original strings made of coconut husk fibers).
Mak Yong music
Pulse is integral element in Mak yong music, every pulse represent and determine the play, the color, portrays moods, the place and tempo. Every pulse beating have to be accurately played so it combination with other instruments would create a fusion effect.
The Mak Yong musical repertory consists of ‘drummed’ or instrumental pieces (lagu paluan) and sung pieces (lagu nyanyian). The instrumental pieces are played for a number of specific activities including the Pak Yong to accompany the actors and actresses onto the stage at the beginning of a performance, the piece Barat which usually accompanies a traveling scene in a story, and the piece entitled Sang played to conclude the performance.
Most Mak Yong pieces, however, are vocal and are performed for specific purposes and scenes in a given story. For example, the piece entitled Ela is sung to give news, while the piece Mengulit Raja Nak Tidur is played for sleeping or other scenes of an intimate nature. For sad scenes the pieces Jembar or Mengambul may be played, and for extended walking scenes the appropriate pieces are Timang Welu and Kijang Emas.(Patricia A, Sooi Beng T 2004)
Texture and musical form
Mak Yong has three layers of sound which similar to Kelantan shadow play and it is polyphonic presented. Singing or rebab will bring out the melody line and gendang drums, tetawak gong unit are played for the percussive rhythm pattern.
In Mak Yong music organization, the tetawak gong shows the layer of sound that is fundamental of formal form and time organization. (Patricia A, Sooi Beng T 2004). The colotomic unit is the music form of Mak Yong which duplicate with Kelantan shadow play of using two hanging tetawak unit.
Tari Ragam and Barat Cepat (Example 5a) from Mak Yong repertoire are identical the 8-beat unit gong of shadow play. Beside 8-beat unit, 16- and 32- beats unit can be defined in Mak Yong repertoire – Sedayung Pak Yung and Sedayung Mak Yong. (Example 5a-b) and (Example 6 b-c)
Example 6 (Patricia A, Sooi Beng T 2004) indicates tetawak ibu (designed G in the circle representation) and tetawak anak (high pitch, g). Tetawak ibu only played the last beat of the unit, while tetawak anak played particular beat of the unit.
Four or eight beat is basically the rhythmic pattern of Mak Yong, but sometime two beats motifs are found. The combination of short phrase and percussive rhythm brought respective matters to produce resultant rhythm pattern in Mak Yong. Partially of Mak Yong pieces is in slow tempo, steadily main down beat to be played. Also, nearly all the rhythmic pattern of Mak Yong pieces is concentration of the drum strikes and timbre.
The melody line is usually to be solo part of singing or rebab playing. Both the solo singer and rebab player, melodic of all Mak Yong pieces is to be performed complicated ornamented. The rebab part and singing will usually to be played in unison to create heterphonic effect. Both variations of the melody are simultaneously be played by the two players. Perspicacity and skill of the player are presented in the variation that are played and sung. On my opinion, rebab create a resounding sound which might be annoyed and odd for the first heard. To sing unison with rebab exhibit definite difficulties for a singer who can’t provide resounding voice to contrast the effect.
Various singers sing the basic melody simultaneously at the chorus part and this is the heterphonic texture to be found in Mak Yong. Another example which typically found in Mak Yong is between musical instrument and solo. In Example 7 (Patricia A, Sooi Beng T 2004) show at chorus part when several singers in the chorus sing the same, basic melody while each singer simultaneously varies it,
Characteristic of pitch and scales are involved in Mak Yong melody. In general, the shape of melodic is to characterize by the arrangement of ascending and descending line. (Example 8) (Patricia A, Sooi Beng T 2004)
Panggung is the place Mak Yong to be performed, the early days, due to the force of the earth spirit; panggung was built on the ground, so the performer could move their gesture with flexibility. A typical Mak Yong performance will hold between three and five evenings. The performance be allocate to three section, first was the buka panggung (the open of the theatre), menghadap rebab and pecah ceria. The buka panggong ceremony will only present on the first day of the performance to ensure it goes smooth and success. Throughout the ritual, musician, actors and Shaman show their respect to the nature force. The ceremony begun with incantation of shaman, continuously conduct the instrumentals ceremony by relieving the spirit of the musical instruments. Lagu lagu permulaan is the music prelude before the performance start formally. In Menghadap rebab, Mak Yong will be sing the aria,
Mak Yong repertoires are very much larger if compare to other dance music, nearly thirty musical are currently to be use.
Menghadap Rebab (salutation to rebab) is the longest and significant piece among all as it is to be played at the beginning of every performance. Pak Yong and Mak Yong were the main character with comprise of dancing and singing, the chorus duration can last up to an hour. The music symbolizes the paying of honor to rebab and the spirit of Mak Yong.
Kijang Mas is a piece which performed occasionally. The accompaniment of dancing and singing after menghadap rebab, Pak Yong or Mak Yong will sung the chorus when he or she to communicate to convey the message. The Kijang Mas presented grief mood whilst singing. Kijang Mas was often to be played during interlude before Mak Yong performance start.
Sindong is more and less similar with Kijang Mas as it is also often to be played as an instrumental during the interlude before the evening show start. This piece was sung by Pak Yong when he orders the two clowns and the way his expressing his emotional and feelings, the elder clown was participated in the singing of this piece.
Sedayong occurs to has various varieties pieces. Sedayong Pak Yong was the most common performance which is currently played. Mak Yong sung the Sedayong Mak Yong. Pengasuh sung the Sedayong Tonggek and Sedayong Peran and Sedayong Indik sung by the princess or sometimes by Mak Yong. Sedayong Mak Yong and Sedayong Pak Yong operate as explanatory piece to inform the Perans or the audience of certain incidents.
Mengambul is the piece sung by Mak Yong, Pak Yong and other related characters, it is played on the sadness moment to inform the pengasuh (Clowns) or other characters about certain incidents; it is also used for general narration of sad incidents.
Saudara is a dance which emerged the dance of Menghadap Rebab dance and Inang (ladies in waiting) is usually the character to sing. In other examples, Saudara is connect with the two clowns and is sung in a happy and somber mood depending on the nature of the scene.
Pak Yong was the main singer to sing in Pak Yong Muda and it was immediately to be played after the three dance pieces when he narrates certain events or situation in the kingdom. It is also sung by young prince, especially in the later part of a play which includes the prince as one of the principal characters, during scenes of pathos and sorrow.
The Queen (Mak Yong) will be sung at the later part of the play at Mak Yong Muda, through anguish scenes in which sorrow emotion is to be expressed by her. Mengambul can be interchange with Mak Yong Muda.
Tuk Wok is a song sung by the old man in a lighter mood usually by perans when they are jesting and clowning or journeying from one place to another. Besides the Perans, the old man characters sing this piece when relating events or just expressing their feelings.
Lagu Barat consists of four version, Barat Anjur, Kisah Barat, Barat cepat and Gunung Barat. Barat Anjur is usually sung by the main characters on their first entrance, when they introduce themselves or narrate certain incidents. It is also sung by the main characters in their reentry after exiting for quite some time or when they (especially the Perans) are on a journey, and it is played as an instrumental piece at the end of a performance to accompany the finale in which all the characters assemble on stage to pay homage to the rebec and audience. Kisah Barat and Gunung Barat are two other expository pieces. The most frequently used piece in Mak Yong is Barat cepat. Lasting between thirty seconds to one minute, it is played to mark the entrance and exit of characters, to indicate a change of one scale, and the mark the end of each scene. When accompanying the first entrance of Mak Yong and the chorus, it is known as Mak yong Terbit or Sang Gendang. The melody of Barat Cepat is simple and brief with the drums playing a dominant and aggressive role.
Lagu Pikir is the meaning of expressing a thought or to think, it is used by characters that need to express their feelings. Sometimes, it accompanies the dance which comes after the Menghadap Rebab dance.
Today, existance of Mak Yong remains a folk theatre to be performed in common people as an entertainment. However, a serious declined over the past few years due to limitation of musician and Mak Yong performers. The recent past (2000) saw the passing away of one of the Mak Yong’s highly esteemed singers or actresses, Katijah Awang, many of her children and other relatives are still deeply involved in the art form, on my opinion, it will remains to be seen Mak Yong will survive in 21st century Malaysia.
Desire of performer
The desire of performer is to understanding the role of the dance and music to preserving the Malay cultural heritage in Malaysia. The performers train and learn within a climate of respect for the tradition and form. They have own targeting to augmentation self knowledge towards Traditional music. Intention to further related courses to improved their technique skills so their presentation would reach a climax. In Malaysia, there are colleges providing relevant course, for example: Malaysia Institute of Art and International College of Music.
Besides courses, seminar workshops organized were one of the excellent role to excavation potential of the performer as this is majoring on practical instead of theory and this lead an influence to the performer into an imagination thought to perform, nevertheless a massive different could be seen and to compare in between theory and practical affected. The dept did not realize in lyrics nor would inner feeling of self experience bring unexpected pleasantly surprised consequence eventually. They become engaged in forging of culture and characteristics.
The interpretation from video showing or music heard definitely accomplished a thought by performers, but the performer firstly have to perceive understanding of what they want rather than making a blind stab on decision. Therefore, a clear demand should have on every performer.
Grasping the knowledge and understanding of traditional music are a basic requirement for every perfumer. Several of them attempt to be creative and innovative on managing new style, structure, form and stories. A example from you tube, a school organized a show of Wayang Kulit, this creative dayang allocate the charater of Mat Rempit, (a Malaysian form of illegal bike race) to the screen of Wayang Kulit with funny dialogue. The purpose of it is to transmit the message of the race dangerous circumstances. For my thought, indirectly advised is always a best way to expressed and educate the teenagers in Malaysia.
Participants bring back the traditional Malay performing art to the grassroots for the purpose of the heritage to Malaysian for knowing their traditional dance, making it accessible to everyone. The performance presented to public is to obtain approach to the art world, to be a spectator of its ritual and its diverse community, and to be surprised by the unexpected, always unorthodox presentations that the artists devise. Expand intention to build the popularity of Traditional Music towards foreigner and specially target on Malaysian as a whole. For a foreigner, the performing art of Malay Traditional Music obviously a factor of their curiosity exists. That’s a reason why the desire of the performers aim for international reputation that the whole world would start knowing slight about the vision and mission of Malay Traditional Music. This expansion not merely an advantages for promoting Malay Traditional Music to be well-known, in a way it assist Malaysia on tourism development on the expenditure earning.
It might sound weird, why Malaysian to be consider as a targeting? Foreigner might think as a Malaysian born, they should have the knowledge on the cultural itself. But as a result, majority of Malaysian except those who stayed in Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah, their knowledgeable towards Malay Traditional Music would regretfully equal to zero. It’s such an insult for the Malaysian that some foreigner had better knowledge than Malaysian.
Why the Malaysian did not fully understand of its own cultural? On my opinion, Malaysia is composed by three races – Chinese, Malay and Indian and the main reason rise because of the racist problem to occur these consequences. Every race did not involve or participated on each other festival. In a way, everyone behaved and carrying the attitude of can’t be bother too much. Peoples are only paying attention on own culture and neglects the others. Never ever seen a Malay or Indian visit to my home on Chinese New Year, it’s actually proved the relationship between the three races aren’t close. The three races were rarely understand, concerned or connected to each other life, culture, custom and etc. This is such a failure of Malaysia as the country could not unity the nation together to achieve the same goal.
There are Chinese, Malay and Indian primary and high schools in Malaysia. A huge gap and different could be seen in each school. For example, Chinese and Malay schools, in Malay School Malay Traditional Music are brought on the stage for occasional events, the students would have the chance to know and understand it. Where as in Chinese school, this screen of Malay Traditional Music would never ever appear to see or listen.
For the sake of the custom not vanish slowly, the participants attempt spread and maintain the heritage custom to propagate next generation as they put all the effort to do as much as they could. Their diligently not merely kept the custom but also for the country and the people to be united.
Every participants respect Malay Traditional Music because of the meaningful in it could happen anytime in real life. It brought a different mean when peoples come to the situation, a good example of the lyrics of popular music, whilst listening to a song which expressing one inner feeling, the one would be touched and the feeling growth deep into it, the one will impressive and remember the song forever because it been accompanying the one in such situation.
An opportunity to pull closer relation between people of the society, global, nation gets involved, understanding the whole of the different. On my thought, it provable improvement and develop relation in between. Fascinating of a dance or music would bring unexpected result, for instances, a corporation duet of two different country singers eventually buildup relation of two country. “Myth” was sung by Jackie Chan and Korean singer Katie or American born Chinese Lee Hom Wang feat Korean famous singer Rain. This combination obtained beneficial of both parties as a result.
From the last decade, the awareness of performing art has become popular in Malaysia, an evolution in the industry. Besides that, intention of changing the idea for elitist groups and to bring it closes to people so this precious dance and music will propagate to next generation.
Potential Growth of Performing Art
Performing art has the potential growth in Malaysia as the potential involved politically, socially and economically of the country.
On my opinion, the government should faced the realistic problem occurs in Malaysia for the reason why majority nation have limited knowledge towards precious heritage of traditional music and culture, attempts revolution ways would be efficient as the world changes in a way of old matter are hardly to be accept and approach towards nation.
The government agencies organised and sponsored competition and festivals of local cultural, to promote what if called the performing art. Designed boost for attracting tourists. For example: Pesta Budaya (cultural festival) in Kuala Lumpur and Pesta Pulau Pinang and Pesta Theatre (theatre festival) held every year to promote Malay theatre. This is a very helpful and attractive ways to promote, the government should take granted of Malaysia nation were utterly generous and enthusiasm on charity function, for example a charity dinner, a troupe of Malay traditional performers have a chance to expressed their passion and accomplish their hope, in a way an opportunity to obtains sponsor from the big groups would create a different consequences to develop and carry forward the aim, vision and the meaningful.
Seminar and workshops in between performer, academics, administrators and department involved to discuss and talk about the documentation and preservation of the performing art and to pass resolution about their revival.
The execution in primary, high school and universities is another potency matter because school is a place to instil knowledge to students, every education department should emphasis on the significance by organising contest among students, not merely Muslim students, and non Muslim students were encouraged to participate for exploring the difference experience and innovation inspiration, unpredicted future music might be a output of student creation, and built up a development of different innovation music style and inspiring, this ensure a good point to be attracted for curiosity.
Research and graduate level dissertation on Malay performing arts were encouraged by offering course of Wayang Kulit, University Sains Malaysia offer course of Bangsawan (popular theatre) and University Kebangsaan Malaysia provided gamelan music. Additional recruit and training for more qualified teacher in music and dances are needed for there is lack of experienced teacher.
The cultural polities and national bodies for cultural affairs have been formed in Malaysia, the purpose to be uniting different ethnic groups as the region feel they belong to the same nation. “One Malaysia” concept mooted by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak launched in Malaysia is to revive the morale of nation and the importance of unifying all Malaysian. Nation of Malaysia was encourage to express and explore their thought in the free and open forum specially designed for “ One Malaysia” so different nation would unity in diversity of thought and structure to accomplish the same goal for future hope, intention, guidance, and identity. Despite “One Malaysia” responded to produced 15 different short video clips to portray the diversity culture, lifestyle, custom, races behaviour on behalf the influential of the whole thread of unity exploring.
Tourism in Malaysia is one of the main factors for the growth in term of cultural awareness and also economically. Cultural Village in Sarawak organised various programme, not merely performing art of Malaysia but also globalise. “The Rainforest World Music Festival “ is one of the massive festival held every year, has come a long way since 1997, invite performers around the world, gather to performed and share their country music. This festival gives benefits of both parties to understand and getting aware of the dance and music. According to festival organizers Sarawak Tourism Board, estimated total revenue of RM 44 million for the festival, not merely profit earned, a popularity of the heritage and other country music cultural are well promoted and the best part ever is the gaining of participants towards the experience.
For all the supportive ways, the growth of Malay traditional music in Malaysia is provably to be potentially in term of itself and also the whole of country wise, This apparently not merely focusing on Malaysia but also targeting to expand all over the world.
In Malay music, variety types of music and levels of musical ensemble portrayed the varied nature which acculturating Indian, Middle Eastern, Indonesian and Thai musical forms and developed the process of present form. Though some may label Malay music as derivative, it has nevertheless progressed in its own identity.
angklung; a processional dance of Indonesian origin, its Indonesian counterpart is known as reog
bertabuh: to strike or play loudly
canang: pair of small brass or copper gongs
dalang: the puppeteer
dalang muda: younger puppeteer
dalang tua: elder puppeteer
dewa: mystical beings
dewa panah: the two mystical warriors of the shadow theatre
gambang kayu: wooden xylophone
gendang: barrel-shaped drum
geduk: cylindrical-shaped drum
gedombok: pear-shaped drum
gong anak: son gong with a high pitch
gong ibu: mother gong with a low pitch
kijang emas: golden deer
klong khaek: barrel-shaped drum of Thai origin
klong that: Thai cylindrical-shaped drum
Mahabharata: one of the two great Hindu epics which tells about the conflict between the Pandaras and Kauraras
mak yong: the lead female, the queen, in the makyung dance drama
main puter: spiritual aspects of the mak yong including the music and dance are utilized.
manora: a dance drama found in Thailand and northern Peninsular Malaysia. The Thai version portrays the Buddhist Jataka stories, while its Malaysian counterpart relates local legends and love.
Menghadap rebec: to pay homage to the rebab
Mong: a tuned-knobbed gong
Nang trolung: it is the Khmer shadow theatre which uses smaller puppets that its counterpart.
Nobat: a court musical ensemble exclusively used for royal occasions such as coronations, royal wedding and etc.
Pak Dogol: the clown character of Kelantan shadow play.
Pak Yong: the lead male character, the king, in the mak yong dance drama
pi: a Thai aboe-like end blown flute
Ramayana: one of two great Hindu epics which tells about the life of Rama.
rebab: a three-stringed spiked fiddle
serunai: an aboe-like instrument
Tuk Maha Siku: a mystical puppet character from Kelantan shadow play.
Tuk Wok: old man
Wayang kulit Gedak: Localised in Kedah, the north western state of Peninsular Malaysia and derived from the Thai” wayang Siam”.