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Gendang Melayu Sarawak: A pantun exchange of the Sarawak Malay community

Robson, Rachel (1995) Gendang Melayu Sarawak: A pantun exchange of the Sarawak Malay community. Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.

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In this paper I investigate an oral pantun exchange (known as Gendang Melayu) of the Sarawak Malay community. Fieldwork was completed in two trips to Kuching, Sarawak in 1990 and 1991.

The paper begins with a brief history of the Sarawak Malay community. I then look in some detail at traditional Malay poetry and pantun in particular before going on to look at the gendang tradition in Sarawak.

I begin with a detailed examination of a gendang performance and its setting as well as what is involved in a bermukun exchange. The training and role of the various singers and dancers is also documented. I have looked briefly at the music and the instruments but lack the musical expertise to do justice to this aspect of gendang. A history of gendang performance and an examination of historical changes in performance have also been included.

In addition, I examine the performance situation closely. Firstly to determine what constitutes a performance and secondly what constitutes an exchange of pantun as part of a performance. I examine the techniques used by performers both to compose and select pantun in an exchange and to adapt pantun to a performance situation. Finally, I look at the pantun collected during my fieldwork in terms of accepted definition; to see if they are distinctive, or part of an established body of pantun. The pantun are also examined in terms of a sequence and an exchange.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Humanities
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Thomas, Phillip and Mintz, Malcolm
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