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The music of Indonesia demonstrates its cultural diversity, the local musical creativity, as well as subsequent foreign musical influences that shaped contemporary music scenes of Indonesia. Nearly thousands of Indonesian islands having its own cultural and artistic history and character. This results in hundreds of different forms of music, which often accompanies dance and theatre. The musics of Java, Sumatra, Bali, Flores and other islands have been documented and recorded, and research by Indonesian and international scholars is ongoing. The music in Indonesia predates historical records, various Native Indonesian tribes often incorporate chants and songs accompanied with musical instruments in their rituals. Today the contemporary music of Indonesia is popular in the region, including neighbouring countries; Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.
|The gamelan performance in the palace of Surakarta Sunanate||Balinese gamelan performance.|
|The student angklung performance.||SambaSunda music performance, featuring traditional Sundanese music instruments such as kecapi, suling, and kendang.
© Raimond Spekking / CC-BY-SA-3.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)
The musical identity of Indonesia as we know it today began as the Bronze Age culture migrated to the Indonesian archipelago in the 2nd-3rd century BC. Traditional musics of Indonesian tribes often uses percussion instruments, especially gendang (drums) and gongs. Some of them developed elaborate and distinctive musical instruments, such as sasando string instrument of Rote island, angklung of Sundanese people, and the complex and sophisticated gamelan orchestra of Java and Bali.
A Gamelan Workshop taking place at the University of Cambridge
The most popular and famous form of Indonesian music probably is gamelan, an ensemble of tuned percussion instruments that include metallophones, drums, gongs and spike fiddles along with bamboo flutes. Similar ensembles are prevalent throughout Indonesia and Malaysia, however gamelan is originated from Java, Bali, and Lombok.
In Central Java, gamelan is intricate and meticulously laid out. The central melody is played on a metallophone in the centre of the orchestra, while the front elaboration and ornamentation on the melody, and, at the back, the gongs slowly punctuate the music.
Kecapi suling is a type of instrumental music that is highly improvisational and popular in parts of West Java that employs two instruments, kecapi (zither) and suling (bamboo flute). It is related to tembang sunda.
Angklung is a bamboo musical instrument native to Sundanese people of West Java. It is made out of bamboo tubes attached to a bamboo frame. The tubes are carved so that they have a distinctive resonant pitch when being vibrated.
Kolintang or kulintang is a bronze and wooden percussion instrument native to eastern Indonesia and also The Philippines. In Indonesia it is particularly associated with Minahasa people of North Sulawesi, however it also popular in Maluku and Timor.
Sasando is a plucked string instrument native of Rote island of East Nusa Tenggara. The parts of sasando are a bamboo cylinder surrounded by several wedges where the strings are stretched, surrounded by a bag-like fan of dried lontar or palmyra leafs (Borassus flabellifer), functioned as the resonator of the instrument.
Musical performance from Tapanuli area of Batak of North Sumatra. Tapanuli ogong is a form of dance music played with a type of lute, trumpet and flute.
A one-stop shop for all things Gamelan in the UK click here
In London there are two organisations that run regular workshops for schools:
LSO St Luke’s, LSO Music Education Centre
Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre
The University of Cambridge have a set of Gamelan Dutå Laras (Javanese bronze sléndro/pélog)
Sessions open to the public: Mondays 7.30-9.30 pm
Here is the music, text and translation of the National Anthem
National Anthem Info
National Anthem Text and Translation
National Anthem Sheet Music
National Anthem (Backing Track orch)