• Malaysia
  • Wednesday, 11 Jan 2012

The kompang is arguably the most popular Malay traditional instrument, for it is widely used for all sorts of social occasions, from National Day parades and official functions (to signal the arrival of VIPs),  to wedding ceremonies and football matches.

Resembling the tambourine, the kompang is approximately 40cm in diameter, with a narrow circular frame called the balos (made out of the dried wood of the balau tree) that is covered with a goathide skin on one side (which serves as the drumhead).

This hand drum is most commonly played in a large kompang ensemble, where various rhythmic composite patterns are produced by an interlocking technique; sometimes to accompany the choral singing of zikir.

It is believed to be of Arab origin, introduced to Malaysia during the days of the Malay Sultanate by traders.

Video: Kompang


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