Malaysia My Destination : Info about Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
 
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Kuala Lumpur : Malaysia Capital - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Putrajaya : Federal Territory - Malaysia
Selangor : Central Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
 
Terengganu : East Coast Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Kelantan : East Coast Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Pahang : East Coast Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
 
Johor / Johore : Southern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Malacca / Melaka : Southern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Negeri Sembilan / The Nine State : Southern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
 
Kedah (Langkawi) : Northern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Penang / Pulau Pinang : Northern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Perak : Northern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Perlis : Northern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
 
Sabah : East Malaysia / Malaysian Borneo - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Labuan (Federal Territory) : East Malaysia / Malaysian Borneo - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Sarawak : East Malaysia / Malaysian Borneo - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
 
 
 
 
ARTS & CULTURE

| Overview | Architectural Heritage | Ethnic & Customs | Games & Pastimes | Handicrafts |

| Traditional Attire | Traditional Music & Dance |

 
 

TRADITIONAL MUSIC & DANCE

 

Among Malaysia's many cultures, music and dance are almost inseparable. Where there is one, the other is present. True to Malaysia's mixed heritage, the music and dances vary greatly and have evolved the enchanting and complex art forms that are enjoyed today. Eventually the drumbeats evolved into entertaining accompaniments. Drums then complimented the gamelan, an exotic orchestra with its ensemble of gong percussion and stringed instruments shared with Indonesia, with its otherworldly lilting melodies. Another ensemble was the nobat, solemn court music with its serunai and nafiri wind instruments. As with other things, foreign musical influences found fertile ground in Malaysia. Over the centuries, Persian, Arab, Indian and Chinese music and instruments made Malaysia their adopted home and contributed to the nation's rich musical heritage.

 

The musical instruments used in the traditional Malay music are always classified into four categories.  Aerofons are wind instruments which consists of Serunai; Chordophones are stringed instruments which are either plucked or bowed, eg Gambus; Idiophones are percussive instruments which are struck or shaken, Canang and Drum or Rebana Ubi in Membranofons, the largest group, are the drums and get their name from the skin or membrane which is stretched over the instrument to produce its sound when struck. Long before the invention of modern telecommunication devices, drum or rebana were used as a way to convey massages from one area to another area. Today these instruments are used not only to convey the messages from the soul and heart, it is also a medium to reflect the daily life and belief of the people.

 
Malay Traditional Music & Dance
 

There is so much variety in Malay dance. Yet the oldest may not even have begun as a dance, but as the deadly martial art of Silat. With flowery hand and body movements to mesmerise and confuse opponents, silat evolved into a danceable art form. The various Joget dances, one of Malaysia?s most popular cultural dance forms, have lively movements with an upbeat tempo performed by couples. The Tarian Lilin candle dance is one of the most enthralling and beautiful performances. Female dancers hold saucers containing a candle each and move in graceful turns without extinguishing the delicate flames, entrancing spectators. Zapin was inspired by the Arabs and originally performed by male dancers. Today, females also perform it in covered attire. Boria mixes song and dance, with a lead who sings solo and those behind singing the chorus while dancing in unison. Kuda Kepang dance-drama performers ride two-dimensional hide or rattan horses in vigorous moves to re-enact the early Islamic battles for survival, accompanied by hypnotic music from exotic instruments such as angklungs and gongs.

 
 
Chinese Traditional Music & Dance

Although the Chinese only contribute a very small percentage to the overall population of the state, Chinese culture is another element that is somehow making the art and culture of the state more colourful. The traditional Chinese Lion dance is usually part of festivities such as during the Chinese New Year or launching ceremony of a business. It is believed to bring happiness and luck simply because lion is a holy animal and should be seen as a spirit that has its own place in Chinese Mythology. Accompanied features are fireworks (usually crackers) and sometimes also the Dragon apart from a few other instruments necessary to make the music that comes along with lion dancing: a large drum, cymbals and a gong and the music matches the movement of the lion.   The dance always starts with the deifying hits from the drum for a few seconds before the lion start its movements. The lion is animated by 2 performers who are normally Kung Fu practitioners, as these dancing require suppleness, flexibility, fitness, strength and good balance. In most of the performance, a bunch of lettuce will be hang on a string and the lion is required to reach the lettuce and grab between its jaws then tear the lettuce and throw it to the audience as a symbolic of luck.

 
 
 
Indian Traditional Music & Dance

Among the popular Indian dances in Malaysia are the Bharata Natyam and Bhangra. The former is a classical style characterized by fast and complex dance moves that tell a story. This classical dancing combines about 100 steps and gestures, choreographed into dance dramas from ancient Indian epics. Classical dancers are initiated early, by the age of five, in order to master the intricate movements. The Bhangra dance is very much a colourful feature of the Malaysian Sikh community. Originally a harvest dance, it integrates a host of lively turns and stunts by the dancers in turbaned headdresses, making it vibrant and raucously cheerful.  It is accompanied by a medley of folk songs, clapping, drums and tambourines.

 
 
Sarawak Traditional Music & Dance

The Datun Julud and Ngajat are among the popular dances of Sarawak.  Datun Julud illustrates the age-old tradition of storytelling in dance, relating the legend of a prince's happiness when blessed with a grandson.  The dance became widespread among the Kenyah tribe. The sape, the native guitar of Sarawak, renders the dance beats accompanied by singning and hand-clapping.

 
 
Sabah Traditional Music & Dance

An exotic dance found only in Sabah is the Sumazau, performed by two rows of men and women who face each other and move with a steady hypnotic rhythm.  Their hand gestures imitate the fight of great birds.  Another dance in both Sabah and Sarawak requires dancers to perform with bamboo poles moving back and forth in between their feet.  This requires great agility to avoid their feet being trapped as the beat accelerates.

 
 
Portuguese Traditional Music & Dance

The Farapeira and Branyo are two famous dances among Malacca's Portuguese community.  The Branyo is more staid, with male dancers in Western-like costume and ladies in Kebaya dancing to a steady rhythm played by drums and violin.  The Farapeira is a fast, cheerful dance accompanied by guitars and tambourines, performed by couples dressed in the traditional costumes of the Portuguese descendants.

 
 
Orang Asli Traditional Music & Dance

Many dancers of the Orang Asli of Peninsular Malaysia relate to belief in spirits.  Traditional witch-doctors employ rituals to communicate with these invisible powers.  These rituals may involve dancers such as Genggulang for the Mahmeri, Berjerom for the Jah-Hut and the hand-swaying Sewang for the Semai and Temiar.

 
 
 
 

| Overview | Architectural Heritage | Ethnic & Customs | Games & Pastimes | Handicrafts |

| Traditional Attire | Traditional Music & Dance |

ARTS & CULTURE