Musicalbody: A Study of Malaysian 24 Festive Drums with Specific Reference to Pan-Asian Performance Theory

Siu, Giano (2020) Musicalbody: A Study of Malaysian 24 Festive Drums with Specific Reference to Pan-Asian Performance Theory. PhD thesis, University of Lincoln.

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Musicalbody: A Study of Malaysian 24 Festive Drums with Specific Reference to Pan-Asian Performance Theory
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Abstract

The Malaysian 24 Festive Drums (24 FD) is a new emerging performance form, which was initiated in 1988 in Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia. The performance concept is derived from the 24 solar terms (minor festivals) in the Chinese lunar calendar system. Yet the performance practice features a combination of ensemble drumming and a wide range of choreographed bodily movements. An actor-drummer’s body is performatively used in the 24 FD performance and training. The current scholarship of 24 FD is situated within the domain of ethnomusicology, which offers an ethnographical description of 24 FD to readers who are not familiar with the form. Ethnomusicology and performance studies, although, offer valuable tools to understand performativity in the context of social and cultural identity, an in-depth discussion of how various factors are related to the performativity of 24 FD has not yet been given. The actor-drummer’s body is the source for creating the performance and performativity. The technical, physical, psychophysical and aesthetic aspects of this form, however, have not been explored seriously in the current academic discourse. A series of significant research gaps lead me to address the inaccuracy of the existing research methods and the necessity of establishing a new methodological framework to thoroughly examine how philosophical concepts are relevant to performance in aesthetic and technical ways, and how this new approach aids the understanding of the aesthetics and performance practice of 24 FD. As a result, in order to frame a pan-Asian foundational framework, I draw theories from selected Asian philosophies, religions, aesthetics, and bodily traditions. Indian, Japanese and Chinese philosophies and aesthetics theories are selected in this project, as these cultures are relevant and play an influential role in Malaysian culture due to their historical interaction and multi-cultural exchanges. By using a specific pan-Asian methodological foundation, 24 FD training will be investigated on the basis of an epistemological debate demonstrated in training to perceive technique as knowledge, and the Chinese concept of yin yang and martial arts in Asian actor training, which are closely associated to 24 FD in philosophical and practical ways. To better understand the performative dynamics of 24 FD, I conceptualise a term musicalbody as a critical term to describe the fusion of musicality and corporality in the phenomenon of 24 FD. The repertoire/performance entitled The Memories will be analysed to illustrate and explain this phenomenon. The foci of the study, therefore, will be: 1) to examine the designated pan-Asian (Indian, Japanese and Chinese) aesthetic and performance theories with a specific focus on the role of the body in Asian concepts, 2) to explore the performance/training principles of 24 FD mainly focusing on the bodily movement, percussion, dynamics and choreography, 3) to contextualise the current research background of 24 FD, updating the contemporary development of the form, 4) to conceptualise critical terms, such as “actor-drummers” and musicalbody in order to facilitate a better aesthetic and artistic understanding of 24 FD.

Divisions:College of Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts (Performing Arts)
ID Code:44268
Deposited On:09 Mar 2021 10:57

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