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Culture, Music, Dance, and Drama

Hindu, Islamic, and Indonesian forms influenced music in Malaysia. For example, wayang kulit (shadow-puppet theater), was introduced from Java in the 13th century, and today is most commonly found in the state of Kelantan. Malaysian musical instruments include distinctive drums (gendang), of which there are at least 14 types; gongs and other percussion instruments made from native materials such as bamboo (kertuk and pertuang) and coconut shells (raurau); and a variety of wind instruments, including flutes. Ensembles (nobat) and orchestras (gamelan) play these instruments at special occasions. Chinese musical forms, including Chinese opera, were more recently introduced into Malaysia; however, today’s young Malaysians of Chinese descent have little interest in such forms of music.

 

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