Malaysian traditional Gambus Music

November 9, 2012 | Fascinating

Soothing, is the best word to describe the beautiful rhythms and easy to produce from gambus music. Gambus is very similar to the “Oud” from Arab lands until now synonymous with ghazals and music zamrah, and Johor’s dance Zapin.

Unique pear-like shape made of fine wood and golden brown finish highlights the unique identity. When the string is plucked, the tenor of the instrument that is not only entertaining but also heal the body and mind.

However, many people did not know the healing and medicinal elements of gambus rhythm.

Fauziah Gambus performing Gambus Music

Fauziah Gambus by Voltron_Pilot, on Flickr

Healing therapy

Medicinal properties of music therapy gambus’s remedy traced back to the 9th century. truely, gambus use for healing is not new.

Rhythm gambus beneficial therapeutic effects on the body and mind.

The traditional music using instruments such as gambus help bring the internal energy that helps in the treatment of depression, pain management and other psychological problems of recovery.

In those days, it was observed that every musical scale (gambus music equivalent of C major or G minor in Western music) caused different emotional response. Such as “Rast” scale create happiness, “Neva” scale release of joy and satisfaction, “Huseyin” scale establish peace while “Saba” scale release the feel of happy.

Music research

Meanwhile, the rhythm gambus widely used therapy in the Western world and the Arab world since the beginning but not in Malaysia.

To learn music “effectiveness in the process of recovery, the University of Science Malaysia’s Neuro Sciences Studies Department spearheaded an effort to describe the nature of music’s therapeutic.

Study was conducted using a special children – who suffer from cerebral palsy and autism.

This research aims to enable and circulating internal energy by expanding the range of motor neuron function and enhance cognitive faculties and stimulate a sense of achievement, accomplishment, especially by themself.

About 30 special children (17-12 years old) from Penang Spastic Centre selected for the study using gambus and other traditional musical instruments such as violin and orchestra during therapy sessions.

Notes and frequency resulting from the gambus music rhytm runs parallel to the frequency of brain waves and internal energy of the people. The result is that the emission of emotional and physiological responses that help the process of recovery.

Music effectiveness

During the four years of trial, the children respond positively to mark improvement.

With an improvement in motor function that allows better coordination of the limbs, and they have perform tasks faster than ever before.

In the past, the children face difficulties in improving their posture and correct posture even if they only take up to five minutes, but after the therapy sessions the could maintain their posture from 30 minutes to an hour. They also has shown a marked improvement in basic movements such as jumping and walking.

There is also a great improvement in the power of memory and concentration.

A Gambus life

In addition to its use in the treatment, the rhythm of gambus music have enriched Malaysia’s musical landscape.

Previously gambus was exclusive to ghazals and Zapin dance but now it has made its way into mainstream music.

The rhythm of gambus has changed and now accompanies modern music as seen in Egypt, Iran and Turkey with some adjustments in the field to go along with the Western music.

Traditionally gambus have two pitch namely Arab and Turkey. Though the instrument was modified by tuning the pitch, the Arabic rhythm tone preserves 1/4 and 1/8 in scale. This is something recognized by Raja Zulkarnain Raja Yusof, lecturer at the National Arts Conservatory students also of King of Gambus, the late Fadzil Ahmad.

Raja Zulkarnain mentioned, in the context of traditional songs in Malaysia, the modifications made to the song with a modern twist. Vocal is synchronized with contemporary songs that brings rich gambus music notes compared to the original style.

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