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Open Access Negotiating ‘His Master’s Voice’: Gramophone Music and Cosmopolitan Modernity in British Malaya in the 1930s and Early 1940s

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Negotiating ‘His Master’s Voice’: Gramophone Music and Cosmopolitan Modernity in British Malaya in the 1930s and Early 1940s

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AbstractThe label ‘His Master’s Voice’ (HMV) dominated the recording technology, production and distribution of 78 rpm discs in British Malaya in the 1930s and early 1940s. By analysing the lagu Melayu which formed a large part of the repertoire recorded by HMV, this article shows that musicians were able to decentre colonial hegemony by combining Anglo-American popular music idioms with Malay and other foreign musical elements. The new hybrid music with texts about progress was a vehicle for disseminating a form of national culturalism that advocated vernacular modernity, rooted cosmopolitanism, inclusiveness, and a broader sense of Malayness.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Music School of the Arts, Universiti Sains Malaysiasbtan@usm.my

10.1163/22134379-12340066
/content/journals/10.1163/22134379-12340066
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AbstractThe label ‘His Master’s Voice’ (HMV) dominated the recording technology, production and distribution of 78 rpm discs in British Malaya in the 1930s and early 1940s. By analysing the lagu Melayu which formed a large part of the repertoire recorded by HMV, this article shows that musicians were able to decentre colonial hegemony by combining Anglo-American popular music idioms with Malay and other foreign musical elements. The new hybrid music with texts about progress was a vehicle for disseminating a form of national culturalism that advocated vernacular modernity, rooted cosmopolitanism, inclusiveness, and a broader sense of Malayness.

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/content/journals/10.1163/22134379-12340066
2013-01-01
2016-12-03

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