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Title: The Malay nobat : a history of encounters, accommodation and development
Author: Bin Raja Halid, Raja Iskandar
ISNI:       0000 0004 5368 4733
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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The Malay nobat is the only court ensemble found in the Islamicate world that is still performed within its original context to serve political rulers. It symbolises power and sovereignty, and no ruler who possesses a nobat is legitimately installed unless he is dinobatkan (drummed) to its sound. Guarded as part of court regalia, the nobat is revered for its perceived mystical powers and ability to consolidate and maintain socialpolitical order (Andaya 2011). Like many musical traditions, the nobat institution is a product of a long process of encounters, shaped by interactions within and across imagined boundaries; and developed through the accommodation of different cultures and beliefs. Who brought the nobat to the Malay world and why? How was the new musical culture adopted and indigenised? What crucial role did the nobat play in the development of Malay political and social systems? Did the nobat go through a critical transition as a result of western colonisation? By setting up a dialogue between indigenous and western sources, this study situates the nobat in a wider, connected historical milieu (Subrahmanyam 2005), to find a common, multi-lateral historical thread contextualised within the Malay notion of sovereignty (Milner 1982, 2008) and communal identity (Stokes 1997). It explores the development of the nobat with reference to important themes in Malay historiography which include pre- and Islamic influences, connections with South Asia and the Middle East, political rivalry and intrigues, interregional migration, ethnicity and foreign intervention. The first chapter will explain the objectives and research questions regarding the study. Chapter Two looks back at the early Islamicate military/ceremonial band and its relations to the Malay nobat. The third chapter will introduce the current nobat ensembles, including their instruments and music. By studying the Hikayat Patani, Chapter Four explores the importance of the ensemble in a Malay sultanate in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Chapter Five takes a look at another Malay court literature, the Adat Aceh and accounts of European encounters with the nobat in the seventeenth century. Chapter Six will discuss the impact British colonisation had on the nobat and the final chapter summarises the thesis with a look at the development of the ensemble and its possible future.
Supervisor: Schofield, Katherine Ruth ; Stokes, Martin Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available