The musical identity of Indonesia as we know it today began as the Bronze Age culture migrated to the Indonesian archipelago in the 2nd-3rd century BC. Traditional musics of Indonesian tribes often uses percussion instruments, especially gendang (drums) and gongs. Some of them developed elaborate and distinctive musical instruments, such as sasando string instrument of Rote island, angklung of Sundanese people, and the complex and sophisticated gamelan orchestra of Java and Bali.
In Central Java, gamelan is intricate and meticulously laid out. The central melody is played on a metallophone in the center of the orchestra, while the front elaboration and ornamentation on the melody, and, at the back, the gongs slowly punctuate the music. There are two tuning systems. Each Gamelan is tuned to itself, and the intervals between notes on the scale vary between ensembles. The metallophones cover four octaves, and include types like the slenthem, demung, saron panerus and balungan. The soul of the gamelan is believed to reside in the large gong, or gong ageng. Other gongs are tuned to each note of the scale and include ketuk, kenong and kempul. The front section of the orchestra is diverse, and includes rebab, suling, siter, bonang and gambang. Male choruses (gerong) and female (pesindhen) solo vocalists are common.
With the arrival of the Dutch colonizers, a number system called kepatihan was developed to record the music. Music and dance at the time was divided into several styles based on the main courts in the area — Surakarta, Yogyakarta, Pakualaman and Mangkunegaran.
Gamelan from eastern Java is less well-known than central or western parts of the island. Perhaps most distinctive of the area is the extremely large gamyak drum. In West Java, formerly Sunda, has several type of gamelan. Gamelan Degung, gamelan salendro and tembang sunda are three primary types. The Osing Javanese minority in eastern Java are known for social music for weddings and other celebrations, called gandrung, as well as angklung, played by young amateur boys, which is very similar to Balinese gamelan.
Musical performance from Tapanuli area of Batak of North Sumatra. Tapanuli ogong is a form of dance music played with a type of lute, trumpet and flute