16 mei 2009 07:07
The Ghazal Music`s Uniqueness
|Title ||: |
|Selayang Pandang Musik Melayu Ghazal |
|Author ||: |
|Editor||:||Mahyudin Al Mudra|
|Publisher||:||The Center for Research and Development of Malay Culture|
|Edition||:||1st Edition, August 2008|
|Page||:||xiii + 67 pages|
Music as an inseparable element of living culture is the best medium to express and deliver the existing socio-cultural values and principles that underpin culture itself generally. Even more, a kind of music persisting in a society plays role to determine both collective and individual values to be discerned and admitted by the society where the music exists within.
Ghazal, which originally came from the Arab countries with the great influence from the Indian culture, is an inseparable matter of the Malay culture. Ghazal‘s sound is the mixture of percussion beatings, Arabian guitars, violins; hence produces harmonious rumbling music arrangement that suits to the characteristics of the Malay people in general. At least that is the brief description of Ghazal as what Mahyudin Al Mudra said in the preface of the book written by Asri, an alumnus of Indonesian Arts Institute Yogyakarta.
Mahyudin, who is also the head of the Center for Research and Development of Malay Culture, views the Ghazal Malay music as the depiction of the Malay‘s characteristics; that of rumbling and melancholic. With the Malay pantun-nature in the lyrics, the Ghazal music does fully represent the soul and lifestyle of the Malay society (page vi).
For its similar characters to the Malay people, the Ghazal music can still exist amongst the Malays, especially those settling down in Penyengat Island, Riau Islands Province, Indonesia. The Ghazal music has grown and developed widely; thus it can still be enjoyed by the Malay people there. Therefore, when other traditional music begins disappearing from earth, along the huge wave of globalization, the Ghazal keeps alive amongst the Malay people.
It is Pak Lomak, who has successfully introduced the Ghazal from Arab countries to Johor of Malaysia before reaching Indonesia via Penyengat Island, Riau Islands Province. Through his attempt of combining the traditional Ghazal with other musical instruments from other countries, then he could make the Riau Islands Malays know and love the Ghazal. For that reason, the Ghazal‘s existence in the ‘modern‘ world is simply because of its capability of adjusting the ‘modernity‘ without leaving the original values behind.
Further the author added that the Ghazal development is predominantly because of three elements; positive responses from society, well-coordinated inheritance across generation, and the massive publication as well as Ghazal musical performance. For that reason, the Ghazal can still be heard and enjoyed by a number of society members (page 5).
From this point we may say that the Ghazal is not a sole means of appreciating the art, but also a medium to express one‘s feeling, entertainment, and communication medium. Likewise, it is capable of strengthening kinship and religious practice, as well as the symbol of socio-cultural values and norms existing in the Malay society.
It is clear enough that the Ghazal music play significant role as the medium to express one‘s or society‘s feeling. The expression then takes the forms in specific-nature songs mostly themed with social issues and love songs mostly telling about one‘s or society‘s feeling and satisfaction.
In the other words, there is a magnet to gain response and action from society towards the expression of feeling coming out along with the Ghazal music performance. The magnet alone is the result of the savvy thoughts of the Ghazal players who cleverly adjust their songs to the situation and condition of a venue where they are performing. Sure there will be differences of the Ghazal music performance played in burial ceremony with the Ghazal music played in wedding party.
One of the most notable differences, in term of adjusting the Ghazal music to the situation and condition of a society, is the tempo. In the Ghazal music alone there are some tempos recognized by most of the Ghazal players. The tempos usually played in the Ghazal music are syarenggi sitar, harmonium, and tabla. Middle and fast rhythmic tempos are often used to express the cheerful condition; while slow tempo for the yearning and sadness.
Further adjustment of the Ghazal music to the situation and condition of a society is materialized in its various lyrics, which are mostly adapted from the Malay poems and pantuns. From such an adaptation, from poems or pantuns into lyrics, the Ghazal is capable of giving a brief description on the perception of the Malays to their culture. From this point it can be said that the Ghazal plays significant role to preserve and develop the Malay literature.
Two of the many songs adapted from the Malay pantuns are Embun Berderai (dew falls) and Patah Hati (broken heart). From those two titles, it appears that this is the way the Riau-Islands Malay people express their sadness. Other songs often played in a Ghazal music performance are Soleram, Sri Mersing, Gunung Banang, Sri Tamiang, Sri Kedah, Sri Taman, and Pak Ngah Balik.
Through this book, which was written from her graduate thesis, Asri seems to emphasize the role of music as a means of communication. With the various nuances of the Ghazal music, there are possibilities of the Ghazal music to represent one or society‘s feeling through symbols of happiness or sadness.
More than that, the Ghazal music is also a medium to communicate the world about the Malay identity as an ethnic with the diverse culture. As the most dominant ethnic in Indonesia, the Malay ethnic is well-known for its dances and traditional music. Indeed, the Malays do realize their musical uniqueness as materialized in the Ghazal music.
Keeping up the pace at the whole chapters in this book, it can be concluded that the Ghazal music plays important role in the Malay society. It plays role both as Malay cultural development as well as the unique symbol of the Malay ethnic. The Malay people take proud of it; thus it has vital position in preserving the tradition of the Malay society on Panyengat Island, even outside of the island.
Its function then broadens into a means of strengthening the Malay kinship ties. The scattered Malay societies around the globe are united in the same understanding of one culture and art, that of the Ghazal music art. It teaches the Malays about the local wisdom in attempt to live as social creatures – thus it has social values – and about the way of gaining the highest values, that of religious values.
The Ghazal music, in the further development, then suffers from some alterations. The Ghazal is forced willy-nilly to adjust itself to the development of knowledge and technology. Taking into account is the use of electronic keyboard to replace harmonium. Unfortunately, the Malay youths‘ interests in learning and playing the Ghazal begin to fade along with the adjustment to the modernity.
Luckily, the Ghazal music still persists amongst the Riau-Islands Malays. It is unnecessary to discuss about the origin of the Ghazal because at least, it has been part of the diverse Malay culture in Indonesia. But the question is how long it will exist amidst the lack of appreciation and preservation efforts? This is an irony so that all the Malay people should work together to save the existence of the Ghazal music from extinction.
Finally, this book, published by the Center for Research and Development of Malay Culture in cooperation with AdiCita Publisher, is an effort to appreciate, to study, and to document the values borne within the Ghazal music. Hopefully, those values can be passed on to the coming generation in order to see the Ghazal music persists not only amongst the Malay people but also amongst the people around the globe in the future.
Tasyriq Hifzhillah (res/03/10-08)
Translated by Irfan Nugroho (ter/117/04-09)
Read : 3.714 time(s).