12 Traditional East Java Musical Instruments That Will Amaze You

Indonesia has so many varieties of traditional culture and arts. This is of course the result of the many different ethnic groups that inhabit the archipelago. One of the many types of local culture, there are traditional musical instruments which are still used in various events and occasions.

One of the areas that has a diversity of traditional arts and musical instruments is the Province of East Java. East Java with its Reog Ponorogo, Karapan Sapi in Madura, to Banyuwangi musical instruments are always hot to discuss.

In this post, we will explore the diversity of traditional musical instruments stored in East Javanese culture. Enjoy!


Kenong is a Javanese gamelan instrument. In gamelan units, kenong is included in the ‘pencon’ group, along with gongs, bonangs, and kethuks. Among the instruments in the pencon group, the kenong is the fattest compared to the kempul and gong.

In the dish, kenong is arranged on a ‘pangkon’ in the form of hard wood covered with rope. So that when hit the kenong does not sway sideways, but can sway up and down. In gamelan, kenong is used to amplify the tone by filling in the voice between the kempul sounds.

Kenong has two different size variations. Smaller sizes produce higher notes, while larger sizes produce lower notes. Kenong, so named because to the ears of the Javanese people, the sound of kenong is caught sounds ‘ning-nong’.


Kempul is a musical instrument from the Javanese gamelan family. This musical instrument is very identical to the gong, but with a smaller shape, so you can say that the kempul is the child of the gong. In addition, kempul are often hung as a set with a gong.

In East Java society, kempul is part of the art of Jaranan Sentherewe, which is a folk art that has been known since the 13th century. The art is also visually carved on the reliefs of Penataran Temple in Blitar. This art set consists of: 2 jaranan, 1 jejaplok, accompanied by 1 drum, 2 sarone, and 1 kempul.

Jaranan Sentherewe tells the story of the might of the cavalry belonging to King Klana Sewandana. These troops fight against their enemies which are manifested in the form of barong or jejaplok. This art is held to gather residents at a village clean-up event.

Today, the art of Jaranan Sentherewe is staged as entertainment at the Indonesian Independence Day ceremony.


Bonang is also part of Gamelan instruments, included in the ‘pencon’ category in addition to kenong, kempul, and gongs. The shape of the bonang is more similar to a pot or kettle, at the top there is a convex shaft (pencon) as a place to be beaten.

The bonang musical instrument is very popular not only in East Java, but also throughout Java. How to play it by hitting the ‘pencon’ section using a special bat called the ‘bindhi’.

Kethuk Estri

In Javanese gamelan, kethuk is also included in the ‘pencon’ category, which is a metal musical instrument which has a convex axis at the top as the main striking place (pencon). In a set of kethuk, there are two pencons with each having a different sound and tone.

Kethuk Jaler

This jaler kethuk musical instrument is still a relative with the estri kethuk that we have discussed above. Only difference lies in the sound produced. The sound of the jaler kethuk musical instrument is one quint higher pitched than the estri kethuk.


Saronen is a traditional Madurese musical instrument. The shape is more like a trumpet, but there is a difference in the blower which is made like a mustache. Each saronen musical instrument is made with different shapes according to the creativity of the saronen maker.

The material used in its manufacture is special teak wood with a cone length of 40 cm. In the saronen rod, 6 holes are made in a row at the top, plus 1 hole at the bottom, similar to a flute.

Then on the blower, there is a mustache carving made of coconut shell that was previously formed first. When played, the saronen player looks as if he uses a fake mustache. But in fact, the mustache is part of the saronen stem.

Usually, the saronen musical instrument is played during traditional events, such as a bridal procession, or as an accompaniment to a bull race. The pattern of the game is done in collaboration with other musical accompaniment instruments, such as kempul, big gong, korca, drum, and kenong.

Trumpet Reog

As the name suggests, the trumpet, which is known to have originated from Ponorogo, is commonly used as an accompaniment in Reog Arts in East Java. Reog itself is a traditional orchestra which is usually played by a group of people consisting of 20 to 30 members. Reog is known as a traditional art from Ponorogo which is still thick with mystical nuances and mysticism.

In modern times, Reog is usually played in moments of celebration of an event, such as circumcision parties, weddings, and also in celebration of national holidays. This Reog art is a manifestation of a belief in ancestral heritage that has been preserved from generation to generation by the Ponorogo community.

Angklung Reog

As the name suggests, Angklung Reog is a musical instrument used in the performing arts of Reog Ponorogo in East Java. The loud sound of angklung actually contains its own distinctive value. The shape is also distinctive, with an attractive rattan arch (unlike angklung in general, which is in the form of a cube), plus yarn decoration with a distinctive color.

It is said that the angklung was a weapon from the Bantarangin Kingdom when it faced the Lodaya Kingdom in the 9th century. When the victory was won by the Bantarangin Kingdom, all soldiers without exception held the angklung which produced a sound containing spiritual power.

Not only as an accompaniment to traditional arts, angklung reog seems to have also penetrated the music scene. The use of angklung reog is found in a number of musical works, including: Tahu opo tempe by Manthous, Bumi Ponorogo by Dalang Poer, Kuto reog by Paito, Resik Endah Omber Girang, and campursari smelling Ponorogoan.


Selompret is also a wind instrument that is unique to the people of East Java. This musical instrument is commonly used to accompany various arts in East Java, whether dance in the Banyuwangi area or Reog Ponorogo art.

Bamboo Flute

The bamboo flute may have spread to various regions in Indonesia, not only in East Java. This wind instrument generally has 6 tone holes at the top, and 1 hole at the bottom. To play it, it takes a special technique to achieve certain notes. The sound produced from the bamboo flute is also distinctive.


Kluncing is an East Javanese musical instrument that has a shape similar to a triangle. This is influenced by European culture that entered the archipelago. The traditional musical instrument is made of metal. How to play it by being hit using a special bat.

Kendang Banyuwangi

As the name suggests, this drum comes from the Banyuwangi area, East Java. This typical Banyuwangi drum is commonly used in the typical arts of the Banyuwangi region, such as: Kuda Lumping Art, Janger Art, Gandrung Dance Art, and Kendang Kempul.

In addition, this drum is also often called the Gandrung drum because it is often used in Gandrung Arts. Likewise, because it is often used in Janger Arts (in Jogja it is called Ketoprak), this musical instrument is also often called Janger drums.

Generally, Banyuwangi drums are made of old coconut wood (glugu) or jackfruit tree wood, usually the hump part is taken. Meanwhile, at the end of the drum, animal skin is attached as a place to hit it. For the string of drums (wangkis), use rattan. So is the soup and the blengker.

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