Tenunan II by Tazul Izan Tajuddin (b. 1969): A Case Study of Cultural Confluence in Malaysian Contemporary Music


  • Peck Jin GAN The University of Adelaide, Australia


Malaysian contemporary music, Tazul Izan Tajuddin, cross-cultural contemporary music, Tenunan II


Malaysian contemporary music, an emerging and highly diverse art form, has rapidly gained recognition nationally in Malaysia and internationally, over the last decade. Many Malaysian composers have studied abroad and have established music careers prior to returning to Malaysia. It is their return that has served as a catalyst for the growth of Malaysian contemporary music. Despite their notable achievements, only three known studies (Dainal, 2013; Lam, 2000; Siagian, 2007) have been undertaken on Malaysian contemporary music. One of the most influential Malaysian composers currently is Tazul Izan Tajuddin (b.1969), who has received many prestigious awards including the Toru Takemitsu Composition Award 2002 and the Lutoslawski Composition Award 2005. Drawing on significant studies of Asian music by Chou (1977) and Coaldrake (2012), this paper identifies Tajuddin’s signature musical language, which incorporates elements from Asian cultures, especially Malaysian and Indonesian, within his European-derived medium. Firstly, the paper briefly explains the development of Malaysian contemporary music since the 1950s. Secondly, it provides a biography of Tajuddin and the performance background of Tenunan II (2001) for flute, celeste, piano, percussion and string orchestra. Using Tenunan II as a case study, this paper investigates the ways that Tajuddin mediates multiple cultural elements through compositional strategies such as structure, time signature, pitch and rhythmic organisation, as well as instrumentation. Finally, it argues that Tajuddin has created a musical language that employs these strategies to create music relevant to modern Malaysia that resists simple categorisation, but supports his role as a broker for cross-cultural contemporary music.


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How to Cite

GAN, P. J. (2014). Tenunan II by Tazul Izan Tajuddin (b. 1969): A Case Study of Cultural Confluence in Malaysian Contemporary Music. Malaysian Journal of Music, 3(1), 13–31. Retrieved from https://ejournal.upsi.edu.my/index.php/MJM/article/view/722