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Mak yong or makyung is a traditional form of dance-drama from northern Malaysia, particularly the state of Kelantan. It was banned by the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party in 1991 because of its animist and Hindu-Buddhist roots which pre-date Islam in the Asian region by far. In 2005 UNESCO declared mak yong a "Masterpiece Of The Oral And Intangible Heritage Of Humanity". The late Cik Ning was a leading mak yong performer in the 1980s.

Mak yong is considered the most authentic and representative of Malay performing arts because it is mostly untouched by external sources. Although most traditional Malay dances were influenced by India, Java and other parts of Southeast Asia, mak yong's singing and musical repertoire are unique. Of the major stories performed in mak yong, most are derived from Kelantan-Pattani mythology. Some of those obtained from outside the Malayan-Thai region have now died out elsewhere such as Anak Raja Gondang, a story originally from the Jataka tales but now almost unknown in India.

A performance begins by paying respect to the spirits (semah kumpung) with an offering. This is followed by dancing, acting and improvised dialogues. Stories were presented in a series of three hour performances over several nights. The lead dancer is called the pak yong and dresses as a king. The cast usually includes a queen in second lead, palace girls and jesters. Traditionally, all performers were female except for the clowns who are always male. A group called Jong Dongdang sings and dances in between chapters and at the story's closing. The mak yong orchestra is small with the main instruments played being the three-stringed spiked lute, drum (gendang) and a pair of gong. It may also include the flute (serunai), keduk drums and small cymbals (kesi).

Today there are less than ten veteran mak yong performers. Although there have been a few attempts to revive the art form, seasoned performers have noted a clear difference between the commercialised mak yong of urban dancers when compared with the movements of rural performers. Not many young people are willing to undergo the rigorous apprenticeship so the art is now on the decline.


Mak yong was founded in the Pattani kingdom which is now a province of Thailand. Because it was passed down orally among villagers, mak yong's exact age is uncertain. However, the fact that it is mostly free of outside influence would make it 800 years old at the very least and almost certainly much older. Legend generally credits the dance to a rice spirit called Mak Hiang but others believe it was created by a being called Semar. Historians are unsure whether mak yong evolved as a folk tradition or a palace theatre. Either way it was patronised by all layers of society to pay respect to the spirits, give thanks for the harvest or to cure a person's biorhythm.

According to the Hikayat Patani mak yong was brought to Kelantan more than 200 years ago. From there it spread to Kedah. Mak yong was mostly performed for royalty until then but by 1920 it was more often seen among common folk. Whereas the palace theatre mirrored the elegance of royalty, peasant performers enacted the life of workers in the rice fields. Nevertheless mak yong's delicate movements, polite mannerisms and refined speech endured. In 1923, the king's youngest son Long Abdul Ghaffar wanted mak yong to retain its courtly look. He built a cultural precinct called Kampung Temenggung on palace grounds to lend his support to the arts. During this time it became conventional to have a lead female. His death in 1935 was followed by World War II. Mak yong was once again a folk tradition but it now regained much of the sophistication it had as a court theatre, especially in the costumes, make-up and music.

The traditional mak yong had continued into the 1960s and 70s but was later impeded by the Islamic revival. When PAS took control of Kelantan in 1991, they banned mak yong in the state for its "un-Islamic elements" and clothing which leaves the head and arms uncovered. Although many old performers defied the ban, mak yong could no longer be shown in public. Some thought the tradition would die out until UNESCO declared it a masterpiece of mankind's heritage. There has since been some effort to preserve mak yong outside Kelantan but interest among the younger generation is lacking.

Nowadays mak yong is seldom performed at cultural shows because priority is given to modern Malay dances like joget. It is sometimes still staged at weddings, to celebrate a state's independence or to pray for the king's long life. But these modern shortened performances are stripped of the old animist rituals and their music is simplified because the songs are played so infrequently. There are only a few troupes left who perform traditional mak yong in the villages of Kelantan and Terengganu.


As with many other ancient Malay forms of theatre, mak yong was once used for healing purposes. Healing mak yong is called mak puteri and involves trance dancing and spirit possession. It is closely connected to another traditional healing method called main pateri. These healing rituals are still practiced in some more traditional cities but they are largely frowned upon today.

Ritual performances are more elaborate than those staged for entertainment, combining shamanism, feasting the spirits and dance theatre. It reflects the deep, mystical significance of mak yong's stories and dances and its original aim to serve as a conduit to the spirit world. Ritual performances are enacted for spiritual healing, to pay homage to a teacher and for the graduation of a performer.

The most important dance in Mak Yong performance is Mengadap Rebab dance sequence which now lasts anywhere between 10 to 15 minutes and is performed at the beginning of every performance. It is divided into four sections: namely, sitting, kneeling, squatting, standing and walking. The lead dancer and the supporting dancers must be able to sing the haunting melody.


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Berikut adalah instrumen-instrumen yang terdapat dalam muzik Caklempong:



Gereteh terdiri daripada 15 Bonang yang disusun dalam nada C Major satu oktaf, termasuk 7 not pilihan di dalam dua baris selari (Baris 1 mempunyai 8 Bonang dan baris 2 mempunyai 7 Bonang). Gereteh merupakan melodi utama. Terdapat dua set Gereteh di dalam satu set lengkap caklempong.

Tingkah dan Saua

Tingkah terdiri daripada lapan biji bonang yang bermula dari not E, F, G, A, Bb, B, C dan D. Permainan Tingkah banyak tertumpu kepada pengawalan rentak dan menghasilkan irama mengikut pukulan gendang.

Saua juga mempunyai lapan biji bonang dan berbentuk seperti Tingkah cuma yang membezakan antara keduanya ialah cara ia dimainkan. Saua diketuk mengikut corak irama Ostinato dan bergerak mengikut kod melodi. Corak irama Ostinato yang sesuai hendaklah terlebih dahulu diajarkan kepada pemain Saua. Notasi Caklempong Tingkah dan Saua tidak disediakan, sebaliknya hanya kod blok sahaja disediakan. Notasi untuk Saua bermula dari not E rendah.

Bangsi dan Serunai

Bangsi berbentuk seperti rekorder bersaiz 25-30 cm, notasi buluh dan mempunyai 7 lubang untuk menghasilkan 7 skala ton menyamai Gereteh. Bangsi boleh ditiup dengan kuat tanpa menaikkan tonnya.

Serunai juga diperbuat daripada buluh tetapi jauh lebih kecil daripada bangsi. Serunai berukuran lebih kurang 14 sentimeter dan hanya mempunyai 4 lubang. Serunai menghasilkan skala pentatonic menyamai 5 ton terawal Gereteh iaitu C, D, E, F dan G.


Gendang atau tambor biasanya diperbuat daripada kayu nangka. Kulit yang digunakan pula ialah daripada kulit lembu atau kulit kerbau. Gendang lembu mempunyai getaran yang rendah (bass). Kedua-dua gendang ibu dan gendang anak mempunyai dua permukaan berkulit yang dipalu dengan tangan. Peranan Gendang Ibu ialah mengawal tempo dengan cara pukulan melalu.


Kayu Pengetuk
Kayu pengetuk Caklempong berukuran kira-kira 22 sentimeter panjang. Satu pertiga daripada kayu pengetuk dibalut dengan tali gasing supaya apabila diketukkan ke cembul Caklempong hasil bunyinya tidak terlalu nyaring.


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Caklempong tergolong di dalam kumpulan Idiofon (Idiophone) iaitu kategori alat muzik yang dibuat daripada bahan logam, kayu, buluh dan tempurung. Biasanya ia dimainkan dengan cara pukulan, hentakan, goncangan dan ketukan. Antara alat muzik yang termasuk dalam klasifikasi ini ialah gong, saron (gamelan) bonang (caklempong) kenong (gamelan) angklung, gambang, kertuk dan lain-lain. Selain caklempong yang terdapat di Negeri Sembilan dan talempong di Sumatera Barat, alat muzik berbentuk seperti gong kecil juga terdapat di tempat lain dan dikenali sebagai kyi-waing (Myanmar),Trompong (Bali) dan Kulintang (Filipina).

Bonang caklempong yang berbentuk seperti gong kecil diperbuat daripada tembaga berdiameter 16cm, tinggi 8-10 cm dan mempunyai cembol setinggi 2.5cm di tengah-tengahnya. (Rujukan: Music of Malaysia, 2004). Asalnya, caklempong dimainkan mengikut skala pentatonic yang terdiri daripada notasi C, D, E, F dan G, tetapi kini telah dimasukkan kesemua notasi


Muzik tradisional caklempong dikatakan telah dibawa ke Tanah Melayu oleh masyarakat Minangkabau dari Sumatera Barat yang menetap di Negeri Sembilan seawal kurun ke-14. Masyarakat Minangkabau memanggil caklempong sebagai talempong.

Di dalam tradisi terdahulu, selain daripada tujuan untuk berhibur,caklempong turut memainkan peranan penting di dalam kehidupan seharian masyarakat Minang seperti menyatupadukan penduduk setempat caklempong dimainkan semasa upacara pertabalan Sultan. Hari ini caklempong dimainkan untuk pelbagai tujuan antaranya ialah upacara perkahwinan, perasmian, keraian, muzik iringan pencak silat, tarian dan sebagainya.

Muzik caklempong kini telah diterima oleh masyarakat majmuk di Malaysia sebagai muzik warisan bangsa milik semua dan bukannya tertumpu kepada Negeri Sembilan sahaja. Muzik caklempong telah diajar di institut perguruan seluruh negara dengan tujuan untuk turus menyemai semangat kecintaan kepada muzik tradisional di Malaysia.


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Angklung berasal dari Indonesia. Sebelum berkembangnya pengaruh Hindu di Indonesia, Angklung sudah merupakan alat muzik yang digemari penduduk. Angklung adalah alat muzik terbuat dari bambu, dimainkan dengan cara digetarkan dan satu alat menghasilkan satu nada. Termasuk dalam kategori alat musik idiophone.

Asalnya Angklung dimainkan dengan nada pentatonik. Angklung pentatonik adalah angklung dari suku kaum Sunda (dan dari daerah lainnya di Indonesia), dan dimainkan dengan lima nada tradisional, sehingga disebut pentatonik 5 nada: 1,2,3,5 dan 6. Antara lain: pelog, salendro, madenda.


Angklung dibunyikan dengan cara digoyang-goyangkan seperti loceng. Suatu masa dahulu, Angklung biasa digunakan dalam upacara ritual. Contohnya di Bali, Angklung digunakan dalam upacara pembakaran mayat. Namun, di Banten Selatan, orang Baduy menggunakan angklung sebagai alat muzik untuk upacara menanam padi di ladang. Mereka juga menggunakan Angklung dalam upacara 'Bersih Desa', permulaan musim menggarap sawah.

Di samping Angklung digunakan untuk upacara pertanian, Angklung biasanya digunakan sebagai alat muzik angkatan bersenjata, seperti 'Marching Band'.

Kemudian pada tahun 1937, Bapak Angklung Diatonis Daeng Sutigna, mulai membuat angklung yang bertangganada diatonik atau dikenali sebagai kromatik, sehingga jumlah nadanya menjadi 7 nada seperti alat muzik lain seperti bunyi piano, yang lengkap do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do.

Pengenalan Asas Tentang Seni Muzik Gamelan Melayu  

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1- Apakah itu Gamelan?

Gamelan terbit daripada perkataan Gamel yang membawa maksud sebagai alat tukul dalam bahasa Jawa. Oleh itu, dari segi bahasanya, Gamelan boleh didefinasikan sebagai ensemble alat-alat muzik yang diperbuat daripada perunggu dan dimainkan secara mengetuk atau memukul alat-alat tersebut dengan menggunakan pemukul tertentu.

2- Bagaimanakah sejarah Gamelan Melayu bermula di Malaysia?

Seni Gamelan Melayu di Malaysia dipercayai berasal dari Riau- Lingga dan diperkenalkan di Pahang pada kurun ke 19. Mengikut sejarah pada tahun 1811, keluarga di-raja Riau-Lingga dan keluarga bendahara dari negeri Pahang meraikan satu majlis perkahwinan. Dalam perayaan itu, Gamelan berserta pemain dan penari telah mula berpindah dari istana Riau- Lingga ke istana Pahang. Sejak dari itu, seni muzik Gamelan ini diperkembangkan ke istana Pahang dan tradisi muzik dan tarian ini dikenali sebagai Gamelan Pahang. Pada awal abad ke-20, Gamelan Pahang dan kumpulan penarinya telah dipindahkan pula ke istana Terengganu untuk meraikan majlis perkahwinan. Tengku Ampuan Maryam ialah seorang yang mempunyai pengalaman luas sebagai penari dalam tradisi joget Gamelan.

Selepas perang dunia ke-2, Gamelan Melayu telah dihidupkan kembali. Walaubagaimanapun, persembahan Gamelan bukan lagi dalam istana sahaja tetapi sudah dikembangkan di luar kawasan istana. Semenjak itu, muzik Gamelan bukan lagi menjadi ekslusif bagi golongan istana sahaja tetapi bagi orang kebanyakan yang berminat boleh mempelajarinya dan memainkan alat muzik Gamelan. Pada masa dahulu, pemuzik adalah terdiri daripada lelaki sahaja sementara wanita sebagai penari. Kini, wanita sudah boleh bermain alat-alat muzik Gamelan.