Category Archives: Musical Instruments

Cirebon Mask Dance (Tari Topeng Cirebon), West Java

The art of dance became one the richness cultur that is owned by Indonesia. Each region has a dance with its own uniqueness.

Mask Dance from Cirebon in West Java is a dance that is full of meaningful symbols which are expected to be understood by its audience. Symbols can be a value of leadership, love, or wisdom.


Mask DancerPublic domain
Mask Dancer
Public domain


Mask dance  was developed a lot in Cirebon in West Java. It became famous because of the expression of movements. The dancers covered their face with a mask when dancing, that is why it is called by the name Mask dance. This dance is usually performed by one or several beautiful dancers, the singers, and some men who play musical instruments.

Symbols and meaning of a Mask Dance performance are delivered through the mask colors, sum of masks, the number of gamelan players and naturally through the dance itself.

Mask Dance Movement which is played by the dancers in each performance is different, depending on the theme that will be displayed.

After some swirling movement the dancers cover the face with a cloth that contains the mask,  then put the mask on the face as a symbol that the show has begun.

A similar process is performed when the dancers change the mask with a red mask. Uniquely, along with the change of the mask, the music accompanying  will become loud. The loudest music is played when a red mask is worn by the dancers. These movements are a form of opening dance in the mask dance performances.


Cirebon Mask Dance


The one of mask dance maestro was Mimi Rasinah, an active dancer and teacher of studio art at The Mask Dance Mimi Rasinah located in the village Pekandangan, Indramayu . Since 2006 Mimi Rasinah was suffering from paralysis, but still excited to performe, dancing and teaching mask dance until the end of her life. Mimi Rasinah died in August 2010 at the age of 80 years.


Mask Dance Maestrothe GNU Free Documentation License ,
Mask Dance Maestro
the GNU Free Documentation License


Rasinah Topeng Cirebon (Cirebon Mask) Documentary


Location of Cirebon, West Java

Lihat Peta Lebih Besar

Various Mask Dance information can be found at wikipedia


“Legong Dance”, one of the amazing traditional dances from the island of Bali Indonesia.

Cultural and creative arts in Bali are extremely diverse, one of them is the art of dance and from various dances that exist in Bali,  Legong dance is one of the dances that are worth to be watched. This dance is a Balinese cultural heritage that has undergone many developments.

Legong Dance in Bali culture is included in the type of classical dance, which at the beginning of its development originated from the royal palace in Bali. The dance was once only enjoyed by the noble families in their neighborhood in the palace as a dance entertainment. The dancers who have been asked to dance in front of the king will certainly feel a great pleasure, because not everyone is allowed to enter the palace.


Bali Legong Dance
Source : The work itself
Maker : Yves Picq
GNU Free Documentation License


The use of “Legong” word in the dance is a combination of the word ‘leg’ and ‘gong’. The word of ‘leg’ means flexibility and dynamically as the depiction of the dance movement that is performed by female dancers and “gong” means gamelan Balinese gamelan [1] as a musical instrument that accompanies this dance.

Explanation about Legong Dance [2]


Balinese dancer
Source : Own work
Author : Yves Picq
GNU Free Documentation License


Awesome Legong Dance 


Balinese Dancers in Ubud Bali

Balinese Dancers Ubud Bali

References and further Information

  1. Balinese gamelan (Wikipedia)
  2. Legong Dance (Wikipedia)

Paradise Birds from Eastern of Indonesia

Birds of Paradise that are typical of Papuan birds, Indonesian peoples call them by the name Cenderawasih, especially males, they have a beautiful hair like an angel coming down from heaven with a very beautiful fur.
Birds of Paradise are collection of bird species that are grouped in families Paradisaeidae derived from the word Paradise.

Birds that found only in eastern Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and eastern Australia consists of 14 genus and about 43 species, 30 species of them can be found in Indonesia, 28 species of them living on the island of Papua. Indonesia is a country with the largest numbers of the Cenderawasih species.

The Birds of Paradise have a beautiful fur characteristics possessed by the male birds. Generally light-colored fur with a combination of several colors like black, brown, red, orange, yellow, white, blue, green and purple and the size of the birds are various.


Bird of Paradise


Bird of Paradise

The beauty of fur from male used to attract the opposite sex. To attract the attention of females that are willing are invited mating, the male bird will show off fur to make beautiful dances. While singing on the branches, swaying with different movements in different directions.
Sometimes even up hanging upside down rely on branches. However, each species of Cenderawasih would have their own dances.

Populations of birds of Cenderawasih in Papua are endangered. The road project workers and employers in the area of forest often hunted birds for sale, either because of low salaries or for other reasons they often slept in the woods to catch the birds. The price a dead bird of Cenderawasih can be up to millions of rupiah in foreign countries, much higher for those which are still alive.
There are 11 types of Cenderawasih that are still roam in 13 districts in Papua, but has not been recorded. One time the population of Cenderawasih in Papua would be extinct. The reason is, there is no proper maintenance and care, while the forests in Papua from year to year continues to be cleared (deforestation).

Bird of paradise (from Wikipedia) in Indonesia


Lesser Bird of paradise

Lesser Bird of Paradise by Roderick Eime.
en:Image:BOP 0004-i.jpg by en:User:Rodeime
GNU Free Documentation License


Brown Sicklebill ( Epimachus meyeri )

Epimachus meyeri Papua New Guinea male
Creator markaharper1, for Wikipedia
The Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.


Ribbon-tailed Astrapia

Ribbon-tailed Astrapia (Astrapia mayeri) juvenile (male)
Author : pomfoto
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic


Ribbon-tailed Astrapia mayeri with long tail, Papua New Guinea
Creator : markaharper1 for Wikipedia
Licensed under the Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic


King Bird-of-paradise (Cenderawasih Raja)

King Bird of paradise (Cicinnurus regius)
Creator Doug Janson
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported


Red Bird-of-paradise (Cenderawasih Merah)

Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra)
License GNU Free Documentation License (Wikipedia)


Female Red Bird of Paradise
Creator : Doug Janson
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported


Paradisaea rubra
GNU Free Documentation License (Wikipedia)


 Raggiana Bird-of-paradise (Cenderawasih Raggiana)

Raggiana_Bird of Paradise
Author : markaharper1
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic


Raggiana Adult Male Bird of Paradise
Author : Photo by Brian McNab
This file is the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 General


 Greater Bird-of-paradise (Cenderawasih Kuning-besar)

Greater Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea apoda)
Author : Andrea Lawardi
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic


Greater Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea apoda). Male at Bali Bird Park.
Author : Andrea Lawardi
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic


Twelve-wired Bird-of-paradise (Cenderawasih Mati-Kawat)

Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise (Seleucidis melanoleuca)
GNU Free Documentation License. (Wikipedia)


Paradise-crow (Cenderawasih Gagak)

Author : Richard Bowdler Sharpe for Wikipedia


Superb Bird-of-paradise (Cenderawasih Kerah)

A male Superb Bird of Paradise in Papua New Guinea.
Author : markaharper1
Creative Commons Deroadenn-Kentanna 2,0 Hollek


Superb Bird-of-paradise (Cenderawasih Kerah)

A male King of Saxony Bird of Paradise in Papua New Guinea.
Author : markaharper1
licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.


Wilson’s Bird-of-paradise (Cenderawasih Botak)

Wilson’s Bird of Paradise
Author : Serhanoksay
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported


Blue Bird-of-paradise (Cenderawasih Biru)

Blue Bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea rudolphi)
Author : Richard Bowdler Sharpe


The most famous birds of paradise, are the member of the genus Paradisaea, including species of large yellow of paradise, Paradisaea apoda. This species is described from specimens were taken to Europe from trading expeditions. The specimen was prepared by native traders by removing the wings and legs in order to be decorated. It is not known by the explorers and lead to the belief that these birds never landed but remain in the air because of feathers. This is the origin of the name bird of paradiseand apoda name which means no legs.

Birds of paradise without legs
Author : John Johnston


Communities in Papua often wear fur Bird of Paradise (Cenderawasih), in their dress and customs, and a few centuries ago, fur were important for making women’s hats in Europe. Hunting fur and habitat destruction causes a decrease in the number of Cenderawasih in a few species, endangered their species, also their habitats. Deforestation is still a major threat.


Paradisaea apoda (Cenderawasih Kuning-besar)
This image was copied from wikipedia: en. The original description was:
Birds Paradise ff (Greater Bird of Paradise, Wilson’s Bird of Paradise)
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic



Lihat Peta Lebih Besar

In both videos the music is played by gamelan-orchestras which is typical for Java.

Interesting activity at the “Karinding attack” workshop

It is interesting to take the time to see the students activity at the Karinding Attack workshop and saw how the kids practice there. At this time because of traditional music Karinding already known and developed, especially among young people, many of them who want to learn traditional music. They are free to choose what the song they want, which of course combined with traditional music like played by “Karinding Attack”.

I watched the kids practice at the “Karinding Attack” workshop



Video that I took when the kids practiced 

 Not only young kids, even adults from within country and overseas, as well as band from domestic and abroad want to collaborate with “Karinding Attack”, and they produce a unique tracks.
 Burgerkill Band Feat Karinding Attack and Fadli Padi (one of the domestic popular band vocalist, in Indonesia).


Location Karinding Attack Workshop (Commonroom, Kyai Gede Utama No 8 Bandung West Java Indonesia


View Larger Map

Cool Man from “Karinding Attack”

Me and Man Jasad

Man Jasad is the main figure in Karinding Attack . On the basis of the flow of metal music, he picked up a musical instrument Karinding which then combined with the flow of metal music, making the instrument Karinding (traditional musical instrument) is known to many people, especially among young people.

With some of his students



Traditional instruments that are used by Karinding Attack

 Single Bamboo Celempung (Zither)


Bamboo zither (Traditional Hit Musical Instruments). Zither is a traditional musical instrument from West Java, which is unknown from where and when the instrument was created.

Zither itself is a musical instrument made from bamboo that utilizes resonant wave is in the segment of bamboo. Currently bamboo zither is still used and maintained in the Village District Narimbang Conggeang Sumedang District.

The bat instrument can be also from wood, the edges are given a cloth or a thin object that produces a loud sound. There are two ways to play, 1) hit/beat, whistle beat the groove are alternately depends on the rhythm and the sound of music player. 2) the processing of the sounds. Left hand to process the sounds by adjust the size of the air which out from the body zither. If you want high sound, hole opened larger, lower sound can be made by closed the hole.


Celempung Renteng (Zither jointly and severally)

Celempung (Zither) in a row until 5-6, at present can be reach up to 12 pieces zither with different characteristics. Diatonisnya the voices can be “do-re-mi-fa-so-la-si-do”. How to play it is, by beat it.


Kohkol (Drum)


Another form of the kohkol 

Kohkol, made of bamboo or wood that is cut, then in the middle the hole is created, so that when beaten could cause a loud noise. Its size varies, but still elliptic, beaten by bat, so it can create a nice sound. Kohkol shaped like this, used for the the performing arts of Sundanese.

Kohkol and celempung shaped nearly the same, but creation, function and the sound different.


Toleat (Flute)

Toleat wind instruments (single Aerophon ritz) and traditional musical instruments from traditions Pamanukan, Subang regency of West Java. Toleat can be combined by other traditional instruments, for the various performances in the land of Sundanese.


Gong Tiup 

Is made from bambo, with beautiful coloring, Looks like horn, how to play it is blow it out, and produces the sound of bass. The sound is deep and vibrating like a degeridoo. About musical options of both instruments we don’t know very much so this description maybe only useful as a raw description of the sound.



Is made from bamboo, we call it low brass sexion, similar to the instrument played by the Aboriginal Australia.


Karinding Toel (Touched Karinding)

is made from bamboo, how to play it is by blow it out and touch it.

Karinding biasa (Common Karinding)

is made from bamboo, the way play it by blow and hit it.



is made from bamboo, how to play it is only by blow it out and produces the sound of birds.



Serunai ( Serunai on Wikipedia)  is a traditional wind musical instrument from Minang part of West Sumatera Indonesia (About Minang on Wikipedia).


 The Sound of Serunai



Saluang a wind instrument developed in Minangkabau. Made from a selection of pieces of bamboo trees. The shape is similar to the flute, bamboo piece ends is not closed like a flute in general, end and base were several holes perforated and usually there are 4 holes. The instrument can produce sound by blowing on the edge or corner of the upper cavity and requires special training in order to make a sound typical Saluang, the nuances of dark, mysterious and gothic. About Saluang on Wikipedia


The sound of some instruments can be heard in this video


“Karinding Attack” personnel in practicing


Karinding Attack is one of the musical group that uses bamboo musical instrument, musical instruments are used, including the Karinding, celempung indung, celempung anak, celempung renteng, khohkol renteng, toleat, suling Padang, suling and goong tiup. From the how they played, although only with bamboo instruments, can make Karinding Attack widely known, particularly among young people in the city of Bandung, and indonesian people.

Karinding Attack is commonly abbreviated as ‘KARAT’ began in 2008, Mang Engkus and Mang U Tun introduced karinding to the community of Karinding Bandung Syndicate (young people), one part of the Ujung Berung Rebels community (in the other area of Bandung), who immediately fell in love with Karinding , because Karinding have a good product design, and the sound is very nice to hear, sound of Karinding makes peaceful sense, good for playing and exploring, free to make a sound with a variety of strange and unique voice.

Karinding Attack is a group that has a vital role in the preservation of Karinding, not just as a musical instrument players, but they have a workshop to introduce these traditional tools. They teach you how Karinding can be something so precious. Each personnel has own role, making the lyrics, music base, making beat-beat groovy, and the arrangements together. The most interesting is the vocals, the exotic soft sounds, with typical Karinding Attack lyrics which are satirize.


Some Photos of “Karinding Attack” personnel





Trailer Recording for the first album of Karinding Attack in September 2010


“Karinding Attack” Personnel practicing


Modern Karinding

Karinding musical instruments, classified as very old, and not too many modern societies are know of this unique thing.Currently Karinding as a traditional musical instrument is combined with contemporary music, such as guitar, and various other modern musical instruments. As a result, Karinding voice and modern musical instruments which are combined, becomes nice to hear, like a percussion instrument which performed by foreign artists. Sundanese young men came as a “heroes” who made the impression of the ancient Karinding become famous and controversial. They are KARINDING ATTACK, a group of young people who combine the purity of the sound of this instrument with a high distorted.This creative idea has revived public curiosity Sundanese culture that is packed with more fresh and interesting to listen to. This group not only show a sharp lyrics and tunes who full of Sundanese cultural values, but the magical element in this music. Karinding Attack personnel doing the recording songs in a very unique place, like one of the songs made in the mountain forest conservation Kareumbi – Masigit. In addition to the limitations of weather and natural disturbances increase the effect of magic in the songs they created. Natural sounds, also seemed accompany every rhythm.


One of the songs from KARINDING ATTACK

“Karinding Attack” feat Peterpan Band (One of the famous Indonesian Band)


Traditional musical instrument “KARINDING”, what is Karinding?

Karinding is a Sundanese traditional musical instrument. Originally, the Karinding is used as a tool to ward off pests by farmers in the rice field. Karinding generally made from bamboo, in some places made of palm midrib and metal. How to play are placed in the mouth and then pounded or vibrated  the rope ends. Vibration between the Karinding and mouth combined with the air from the mouth produces sounds not common. Karinding standard size is 10 length cm and 2 cm width. Now Karinding can be called a musical instrument because it produces a unique sound.



A brief description of Karinding (Wikipedia)

The Sound of Karinding
Traditional Music Instrument from West Java – Indonesia
Player : Mang Udung


Famous types of puppet that performed in Indonesia

There are several types of puppets in Indonesia in addition to the puppet show which originated from Indonesia, which is:

  • Wayang Kulit (Shadow Puppet), made of cow leather or calf, generally taking the story from the Mahabharata and Ramayana manuscript. The story of the Ramayana and Mahabharata stories prototype is played by a puppeteer. Puppet show is more popular in central and eastern Java. 


Wayang kulit performance, Museum Wayang. SourceOriginally from en.wikipedia; description page is/was here. Author :Original uploader was Jpatokal at en.wikipedia Permission (Reusing this file)  Released under the GNU Free Documentation License.
Wayang kulit performance, Museum Wayang.
Source Originally from en.wikipedia; description page is/was here.
Author : Original uploader was Jpatokal at en.wikipedia
(Reusing this file)
Released under the GNU Free Documentation License.



  • Wayang orang/ Wayang Wong (Puppet human), puppet is played by people, who also tells the story of Ramayana and Mahabharata. 


Wayang Wong (Wayang Orang) Javanese dance performance in Wayang Orang Bharata Theatre, Senen, Jakarta. Depicting the character Pandawa Lima with their guard in left, and Sri Kresna in the right. Source :Own work Author :Gunawan Kartapranata Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Wayang Wong (Wayang Orang) Javanese dance performance in Wayang Orang Bharata Theatre, Senen, Jakarta. Depicting the character Pandawa Lima with their guard in left, and Sri Kresna in the right.
Source : Own work
Author : Gunawan Kartapranata
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported



  • Wayang Golek (Wooden Doll Puppet) are marionette puppets often made ??of mahogany with the same performance like other puppets, but it is not only tells the story of the Ramayana and Mahabharata, but also with clown servants characters. Funny and make allusions to the government. Accompanied by gamelan music.


Panakawan, the friendly gestures of cepot, the red face; petruk the long noses and gareng the round nose
Source : Wikipedia
Author : Monty32
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported



  • Wayang Klitik (Klitik puppets), puppets made of mahagony wood, constructed similarly to wayang kulit figures. Klitik name was created because of the sound generated by the friction between the puppets are made from wood. Unlike the puppet show that is similar to the dolls, puppets klitik shaped like a flat leather puppets. Klitik puppets stories taken from the cycle of stories Panji and Damarwulan. Gamelan is also used to accompany the puppet show, although different for a certain instruments. 


Wooden wayangpuppet of Shiva. Source :Originally from de.wikipedia Author :Original uploader was Dieter Sedlaczek at de.wikipedia Public domain
Wooden wayangpuppet of Shiva.
Source : Originally from de.wikipedia
Author : Original uploader was Dieter Sedlaczek at de.wikipedia
Public domain



  • Wayang Beber, puppets made of cloth roll and unroll the mastermind, drove it and telling scenes in the reels. Named for a puppet beber sheet (explanation) that formed the cast of characters in the story of Mahabharata and Ramayana puppet either. This puppet show is still growing in certain areas on the island of Java. 


The painting of Bharatayudha battle in Wayang style. Wayang Exhibition, Bentara Budaya Jakarta. Source :Wikipedia Author : Gunawan Kartapranata Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
The painting of Bharatayudha battle in Wayang style. Wayang Exhibition, Bentara Budaya Jakarta.
Source : Wikipedia
Author : Gunawan Kartapranata
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported



Indonesian Puppet Show in english Language:


More details about the types of puppet above, can be found at Wikipedia.