Instruments of Malay Traditional Music

Harmonium

Harmonium

This instrument originates from Great Britain, and was introduced to India where it established itself as a vital part of Indian music ensembles.

Later adapted by the Malays for ghazal performances.

Rebab
Rebab

The rebab is the most important bowed lute and is the main melodic instrument in the mak yong and is used to accompany the wayang kulit.

Angklung

Angklung

A hand-held musical instrument made of bamboo, originated from Java, perhaps during the Majapahit era. One angklung produces one note, hence angklung is a team performance.

Kompang

Kompang

The kompang is played in a large kompang ensemble. The percussion is played with an interlocking rythmic pattern to accompany choral singing. Popularly used in wedding ceremonies.

Gamelan

Gamelan

This is a set of brass percussion, performed like an orchestra from the Majapahit era in the l0th century AD.
Seruling

Seruling

The Malay flute is made of bamboo. Perhaps the most original musical instrument, often used by the indigenous tribes (earlier Malays or Proto-Malays' who inhabit the jungles).

Nafiri

Nafiri

The nafiri is a kind of trumpet found only in the nobat orchestras of Malaysia. It is related to a similar instrument known as the naifr from the Middle East.

Gambus

Gambus

The Arabian Oud is the ancestor of lutes and guitar. Used in zapin and ghazal.

Rebana

Rebana

Hand-held drums made of taut goat skin, originated from the Middle East. The name rebana may come from the Arabic word rabbana.

Gong

Gong

Commonly found in Southeast Asia. This hanging instrument looks like a big brass tray with a protruding navel (boss) at its centre where it is struck.

Marwas

Marwas

Marwas is struck using one hand, to accompany the Zapin dance. Originates from the Middle East.
Serunai

Serunai

Another wind instrument, made of wood with seven holes on the upper part and one hole at the other end. Often used in shadow play (wayang kulit) performance, menora (in Kelantan) or in silat (martial art).
Gendang

Gendang

Malay drums of varying sizes, made of taut buffalo or cow hides. The biggest drum used in the palace is called gendang nobat. For a commoner, the biggest drum is rebana ubi found in Kelantan.