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Dobbs, Jack P. B. (1972) Music in the multi-racial society of West Malaysia. MPhil thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis aims to survey the music of the various peoples that form the multi-racial society of West Malaysia. The music peculiar to each race and common to them all is discussed, with greater attention to the music of the aborigines and the Malays than to that of the other communities. The music of the aborigines is indigenous. That of the Malays belongs to the peninsula, although it is largely derivative and reflects influences from several areas, chiefly the Middle East, Thailand and Indonesia. No comprehensive study of the music of either the aborigines or the Malays is at present available. The music of the Chinese and Indian communities, in contrast, was brought to the peninsula by the immigrants. It has been diluted, but it remains closely related to the music still performed in the homelands from which they came. As authoritative studies already exist of Chinese and Indian music (both North and South), only details immediately relevant to West Malaysia are included here. Although the primary concern of the thesis is music, the close association of much of the peninsula's traditional music with dance and ritual made it impossible to write exclusively of that one art. Some account of the social and religious environment of the music has seemed important as has also descriptions of performances, now obsolete, which are known to have included music. In this way an attempt has been made to provide a representative survey of the place of music in the lives of the peoples of the peninsula in the past as well as at present. The survey is still incomplete. Its area has proved more extensive than at first appeared, and every aspect of it warrants further investigation. It is hoped that this introductory study may indicate possible lines for future research.

Item Type: Theses (MPhil)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 14:59

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