Malay Singing in Pahang Villages: Identity and Practice

SHAFA’ATUSSARA SILAHUDIN is a Senior Lecturer of Malay Studies at the Universiti Malaya. She is also a Fellow at Universiti Malaya Community Engagement Centre (UMCares) and a Guest Researcher affiliated with Faculty of Humanities, Leiden University, Netherlands.

DBP (Frist printing, 2023)
268 pages including Bibliography and Index


In stock

ISBN: 9789834938956 Product ID: 38758 Subjects: , , Sub-subjects: , , , ,

Malay Singing in Pahang Villages: Identity and Practice uncover and reflect on the fundamental dimensions of singing and musical practices among the Malays in Pahang villages; by looking at the ways in which legacies from the past can still be heard in the present and considers the extent to which musical practices in the present are shaped by ideas, beliefs, and feelings about the past. Understanding what people do and how they partake in musical activities helps to provide evidence of the nature of music and the function it fulfils in their lives. The Malays engage in a variety of singing and music-related activities. Thus, this study deals with the cultural meanings of singing and musical practices by the Malays that in this case, in Pahang, Malaysia.

The presence of a considerable number of the past vocal forms in present-day music genres is identified. Some of the functions and meanings of the vocal forms/songs have continued to be present in today’s music genres, while others have undergone changes as to adapt the music for today’s performance outlets. The performance of traditional music and regional pop music, and kugiran and punk rock is heavily weighted towards men. Women singing in bands are seen as uncommon. They are not supposed to master modern/Western musical instruments that are mainly associated with men. Furthermore, women in general are linked to the ideal of womanhood and behaviours that are perceived as non-provocative. The study conducted by the author on songs and music practices in Pahang also addresses the topic of community and how it is formed. The author suggests that there are two kinds of community that can be formed through music: short term and long term. A short-term community is formed during a performance event, over a short period of time.

In contrast, a long-term community is the result of a longer involvement by its members, beyond the performance event. The author concludes Malay Singing in Pahang Villages by reflecting on Geoffrey Benjamin’s works in light of the research findings. Benjamin investigated the different types of Malay music performed by Malay groups and how they encode a cline of Malayness. Benjamin concluded that a heightened degree of melismatic elaboration corresponds to a higher degree of cultural Malayness. Creating a sense of Malayness in music as discussed in Benjamin’s works, the author argues, is an achievement. Benjamin’s attempt to evaluate Malayness in songs relies on several generalisations. Some Malay performers acknowledge that a higher degree of melodic ornamentation corresponds to increased Malayness. This association between ornamentation and Malayness, however, is insufficient without adjusting for the performer’s competence (singing technique).

List of Illustrations
List of Tables

1. The Past Music Identity and Social Environment of the Malay World

Malay Classical Literature
Hikayat Bayan Budiman
Hikayat Amir Hamzah
Hikayat Raja Pasai
Hikayat Pandawa Lima
Hikayat Indraputra
Sejarah Melayu
Hikayat Aceh
Bustan as-Salatin
Hikayat Hang Tuah
Misa Melayu
Adat Raja Melayu
Syair Seratus Siti
Songs from the Past in Malay Classical Literature
Song Forms
The Representation of Songs
Songs with Instrumental Accompaniment
Concluding Thoughts

2. Traditional Music and Regional Pop Music

The Background of Traditional Music
The Background of Regional Pop Music
Traditional Music
Aripin Said
Roslan Madun
Anak Kayan
Community Formation Around Traditional Music
Regional Pop Music
Anok Semantan
Community Formation Around Pahang Regional Pop Music
Concluding Thoughts

3. Kugiran Music and Punk Rock

The Background to Kugiran and How it Relates to the Emergence of Rock and Punk Music
The Background to Punk Rock Music
Kugiran Music
Kugiran Muzik Asli of Paya Luas Village
Community Formation Around Kugiran Music
Punk Rock Music
Community Formation Around Punk Rock
Concluding Thoughts

4. Amateur Music Groups (Nazam Berendoi and Dikir Rebana), and Young Women and Music

The Islamic Book, The Kitab Barzanji
Nazam Berendoi
The Women’s Singing Group and its Background
The Performance of Nazam Berendoi
The Creation of Community Through Nazam Berendoi
Dikir Rebana
The Women’s Singing Group and its Background
The Performance of Dikir Rebana
The Creation of Community Through Dikir Rebana
Young Women and Music
A Brief Summary of the Participants’ Backgrounds
Participants’ Music Consumption
Musical Activities at School
Karaoke Singing after School
Concluding Thoughts

5. Multifaceted Socio-Cultural Landscapes That Embrace Musical Practices in Pahang’s Villages

Social Status of Musicians
Continuity and Discontinuity in Genres
Gender-specific Songs
Community Formation in Genres
Final Remarks

Appendix I – VII
Author’s Biodata

Weight0.417 kg
Dimensions21.5 × 13.9 × 1.7 cm




Year Published


There are no reviews yet

Only logged in customers who have purchased this product may leave a review.