13 Most Famous Musical Instruments in Indonesia

There are so many languages in the world because each country has different language with the others. That is why there are sayings who said that music is a universal language which can touch and unite people no matter where that music comes from.

Have you ever liked a song even though you do not understand its language? that is a concrete example that music is a universal beauty which does not have to be said. Music instrument has a magical touch to make the song sounds beautiful. Here are some Indonesian music instruments from Indonesia which amaze the world.

See also :

1. Gamelan

This is an instrumental ensemble from Indonesia and generally it consists of bronze percussion instruments. Each gamelan has different sound and tuning to prevent it being interchanged one to another. Gamelan is played in traditional way but it is very popular in foreign countries, even gamelan is added to the curriculum.

Some countries which added gamelan into their curriculum are New Zealand School of Music (NZSM) in New Zealand, California University, San Jose University, and Lewis and Clark College in United States.

Meanwhile in Singapore gamelan is an obligated subject for the elementary students, and almost all regions in Singapore has gamelan. The most surprising part is that in Japan gamelan becomes a hgh-class music because it has a relaxing vibe and produces a soft sound. Read about  Facts about Gamelan Music Indonesia

2. Angklung

Angklung is a traditional music instrument which often being performed world concert or world music performances. It is made of some bamboo tubes which attached to a bamboo frame. Read more about 4 Things about Indonesian Angklung Facts

Those tubes are carved so that they will have resonant pitch. One hand is to hold the frame meanwhile another hand shakes the instrument. Angklung belongs to Sundanese people and is originated from West Java.

Not only functioned as the traditional instrument, angklung becomes the cultural identity for Sundanese communities. It could promotes several values such as teamwork, mutual respect, and social harmony. UNESCO recognized as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2010. In order to celebrate its 5th year anniversary as the UNESCO cultural heritage, an angklung concert was held in United States and it is making 500 audiences echanted.

3. Kolintang

This traditional music instrument comes from Minahasa, North Sulawesi. Kolintang is made of local woods which placed horizontally. The name kolintang itself is taken from local language in Minahasa; Tong (vat), Ting, Tang (pliers).

The local people used to say ‘Let us do TONG TING TANG’ or ‘Mangemo kumolintang’ so that kolintang is the simplification of those sayings. Different technique to bang the stick to the kolintang bar produces different rhythm. Kolintang music can be performed at many ocassions such as social enterntainment as festival, harvest ceremony, parades, wedding ceremony, religious rituals, and even informal events.

4. Gambus

Gambus is a stringed instrument comes from Riau. This music instrument is pretty similar with Kordofun. It is played like guitar, you pluck it with fingers. Gambus is related closely with Islam, it is said that this music instrument is used as a way to spread Islam in the past. You can find gambus easily in Sumatra island.

This musical instrument is an accompaniment of singing in wedding occasion or any celebratory events, the songs that are played is usually identically with Islam. To make the rhythm more beautiful, this musical instrument is accompanied by marwas (another musical instrument). It has a unique shape which is a squash or water gourd so you can recognize it easily.

5. Gendang Melayu

This is one of the most favorite musical instruments in Indonesia. Even though gendang is only considered as a complementary musical instrument but its popularity is no joke.

There are no specific way to play gendang, you only have to hit it with your palm therefore each gendang player has his/hr own characteristics in playing this musical instrument.

Gendang nowadays is used as a magic touch in dangdut music. The gendang’s surface itself usually made of animal’s skin such as cow skin. It can be found in many places in Indonesia.

6. Bonang

Bonang is a musical instrument which becomes part of gamelan perfrmance. Looking at its visual, it is pretty similar with bende but bonang has smaller size compared to bende. In a gamelan performance, bonang takes an important role in making a good rhythm to the current played song. Bonang is functioned as the tone leader, it starts and ends the song.

This musical instrument is originated from Java region, you can find bonang in each Java region. This musical instrument was used in a performance to accompany wayang. So the performance will not complete witthout bonang.

7. Sasando

This musical instrument is quite unique and it is originated from Indonesia. The popularity of this musical instrument is not only between the Indonesian but also to the foreign countries, even foreign ordinary people and artists are interested to play sasando. In order to know more about this unique musical instrument, they deliberately come to Indonesia just to learn this traditional musical instrument.

Its artistic appearance is the main attraction, so people are attracted not only towards its melodious voice but also to its unique shape.

On the other hand, The color of sasando is white and it use woods to strap the stretch. This musical instrument is played by plucking way. The sounds of the melody is very good and it is fascinating.

8.  Gong

This is one of the most familiar traditional instruments for you, right? Gong is also included as one instrument in gamelan. The shape is rounded big and it has bulge in the middle part. Gong is a traditional musical instrument from Central Java.

Bonang is used as the leader in gamelan but gong is functioned as a guardian of gamelan performances. Now gong is not only used for gamela performance but also as the symbol of inauguration in several ceremony or events.


  • Calung : This is almost similar with angklung but calung has different technique with angklung. You need to hit the bamboos in calung to make it sounds however for angklung you only need to shake the bamboos.
  • Kecapi : This is a stringed musical instrument that has a distinctive sound. You need to pick the string to make sounds when playing kecapi. This musical instrument produces a beautiful and pleasant sound for you to enjoy.
  • Tifa : Originated from Papua this musical instrument has a shape like a small drum and has a long size. You need to hit it by your hand to play tifa.
  • Saluang : This musical instrument comes from Minangkabau, made of bamboo and has aerophonic music type. This is pretty similar with flute but it only has 4 holes in the middle.
  • Tehyan : Tehyan is made of traditional strings that are neatly arranged. People said that Tehyan is quite similar with violin but it has simpler string. Comes from DKI Jakarta and the way to play this is similar with the way you play violin.

Here I give you Beautiful,wonderful, as well as live performance of Angklung Music. Check this out.

That is all about 13 most popular musical instruments in Indonesia nowadays. Some of the mentioned musical instruments are popular globally so Indonesian need to be proud of it!