The Music of Malaysia: The Classical, Folk and Syncretic Traditions, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Music of Malaysia

The Classical, Folk and Syncretic Traditions, 1st Edition


494 pages

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Hardback: 9780754608318
pub: 2004-04-28
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The Music of Malaysia is a history, appreciation and analysis of Malaysian music in its many and varied forms. It was first published in Malay in 1997. This revised and updated edition is the first in English. The book categorizes the types of music genres found in Malaysian society and provides an overview of the development of music in that country. Analyses of the music are illustrated with many examples transcribed from original field recordings. Genres discussed include theatrical and dance forms, percussion ensembles, vocal and instrumental music and classical music. The Music of Malaysia is an excellent introduction to and exploration of the country's vibrant musical culture.


'… an important addition to the literature on Southeast Asian performing arts. It is indispensable as a reference book for all serious students of Malaysian music and culture, and will provide scholars interested in the performance cultures of other Asian countries with vivid comparators and points of connection and exchange.' Aseasuk News

'… this book will serve as an excellent sourcebook or textbook for courses on the music of Southeast Asia.' Asian Folklore Studies

'This useful book by two respected specialists is the first to encompass the folk, classical and syncretic music genres of Malaysia…There is no other source comparable for Malaysia, and thus this is an extremely valuable contribution…. a useful teaching tool and source of information on the major musical genres of Malaysia.’ Ethnomusicology Forum

'This study is well-written, informative and an excellent resource for seminal work with under- and post-graduate students…The book is very well-edited, includes several pictures and gives many musical examples. A long bibliography and an exhaustive index round off the impression that this overview on Malaysian music is a very useful book indeed…’ Asien

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Introduction; Music of the major theatrical forms; Music of the major dance forms; Music of the percussion ensembles; Vocal and solo instrumental music; Social popular music and ensembles; Contemporary art and popular music; Appendix; Bibliography; Discography and videography; Index.

About the Originator

Patricia Matusky is an ethnomusicologist who has done music field research and taught for many years in Malaysia. She is the author of Malaysian Shadow Play and Music, Continuity of an Oral Tradition (OUP 1993, and The Asian Centre of Penang and Kuala Lumpur 1997) as well as many articles on the traditional music of Malaysia in encyclopedias and international journals. Her publications as co-author include Muzik Malaysia: Tradisi Klasik, Rakyat dan Sinkretik (The Asian Centre 1997) and Pengantar Muzik Malaysia, Vols. I-II (The Asian Centre 1998-99) with Tan Sooi Beng, and Muzik Wayang Kulit Kelantan (The Asian Centre 1998) with the Dalang Hamzah Awang Amat. Tan Sooi Beng is an Associate Professor in Ethnomusicology at the Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang. She is the author of Bangsawan, A Social and Stylistic History of Popular Malay Opera (OUP 1993 and The Asian Centre of Penang and Kuala Lumpur 1997) and many articles on popular music, arts education and Chinese music in Malaysia. She is the editor of Wacana Seni, Journal of Arts Discourse (USM, 2002).

About the Series

SOAS Studies in Music

SOAS Studies in Music is today one of the world’s leading series in the discipline of ethnomusicology. Our core mission is to produce high-quality, ethnographically rich studies of music-making in the world’s diverse musical cultures. We publish monographs and edited volumes that explore musical repertories and performance practice, critical issues in ethnomusicology, sound studies, historical and analytical approaches to music across the globe. We recognize the value of applied, interdisciplinary and collaborative research, and our authors draw on current approaches in musicology and anthropology, psychology, media and gender studies. We welcome monographs that investigate global contemporary, classical and popular musics, the effects of digital mediation and transnational flows.


Editorial Board

Professor Kwasi Ampene

University of Michigan, USA

Professor Linda Barwick

University of Sydney, AU

Dr. Angela Impey

SOAS University of London, UK

Professor Travis A. Jackson

University of Chicago, USA

Professor Noriko Manabe

Temple University, USA

Dr. Moshe Morad

Tel Aviv University, IL

Professor Suzel Reily

Universidade Estadual de Campinas, BR

Professor Henry Spiller

University California - Davis, USA

Professor Martin Stokes

Kings College London, UK

Professor Richard Widdess

SOAS University of London, UK

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / General