The Most Popular Form of Music in Indonesia: Exploring the Vibrant Music Scene

Choose the form you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Jun 16, 2023 10:18 (Updated on Dec 6, 2023 07:58)
Welcome to StrawPoll, where your opinions come to life! We are excited to present our latest ranking - "What is the most popular form of music in Indonesia?" This culturally diverse and melodious archipelago has a rich array of musical genres that resonate across its many islands. From the enchanting rhythms of Dangdut to the vibrant beats of Pop, the soothing tunes of Keroncong to the electrifying sounds of Rock, we've got it all covered! Join us and thousands of others in this melodic quest to uncover the true musical essence of Indonesia. Cast your vote for your favorite genre or suggest a hidden gem that we've missed. Together, let's embark on an unforgettable journey and celebrate the harmonious symphony that is Indonesian music!

What Is the Most Popular Form of Music in Indonesia?

  1. 1
    Dangdut is the most popular form of music in Indonesia because it combines elements of Indian, Arabic, and Malay music with Western rock and pop. It is popular among all classes and ages and is frequently played at weddings and other social events.
    Dangdut is a genre of Indonesian popular music that combines traditional Indonesian music with influences from Indian, Malay, Arabic, and Western music. It emerged in the 1970s and has since become the most popular form of music in Indonesia, known for its catchy melodies and energetic rhythms.
    • Instruments: Typically includes keyboard, electric guitar, bass, drums, and traditional Indonesian instruments such as the gendang and suling.
    • Vocals: Characterized by melodious and emotive singing styles with vocal ornaments and vocalizations.
    • Rhythms: Features a mixture of traditional Indonesian beats, Indian tabla rhythms, and Western drumming styles.
    • Lyrics: Often tells stories about love, social issues, and everyday life.
    • Dance: Accompanied by lively and expressive dance movements known as 'joget dangdut'.
  2. 2


    Pop music is also very popular in Indonesia, especially among younger generations. Indonesian pop music is heavily influenced by Western pop and often features catchy melodies and upbeat rhythms.
    Pop is a genre of popular music known for its catchy melodies, upbeat rhythms, and relatable lyrics. It is often characterized by its broad appeal and accessibility to a wide audience. The genre emerged in the mid-1950s and gained popularity with the rise of radio and television broadcasting. Pop music incorporates elements from various genres, including rock, R&B, electronic, and dance. Its main focus is on creating commercially successful songs that can top charts and gain mass popularity.
    • Catchy melodies: Melodies that are memorable and easily recognizable.
    • Upbeat rhythms: Energetic and lively rhythms that encourage dancing and movement.
    • Relatable lyrics: Lyrics that focus on universally relatable themes such as love, relationships, and personal experiences.
    • Broad appeal: Music that appeals to a wide range of listeners regardless of age, gender, or musical preferences.
    • Commercial success: A focus on creating commercially viable songs that achieve high chart positions and sales numbers.
  3. 3
    Gamelan is traditional Indonesian music that features a combination of percussion instruments such as gongs, metallophones, and drums. It is often used in religious ceremonies and cultural events.
    Gamelan is a traditional form of music that originated in Indonesia. It is an ensemble of percussive instruments, primarily consisting of metallophones, xylophones, drums, and gongs. Gamelan music is known for its intricate rhythmic patterns, rich textures, and mesmerizing melodies. The word 'gamelan' itself comes from the Javanese word 'gamel', which means to strike or hammer.
    • Instruments: Gamelan ensemble typically includes metallophones (such as saron, slenthem, and gender), xylophones (such as drums, gong ageng, and kenong), drums (such as kendhang), gongs (such as bonang and kempul), and various other instruments.
    • Tuning System: Gamelan instruments are tuned to a specific and unique tuning system called 'sléndro' or 'pélog', which differs from the Western equal-tempered scale.
    • Rhythms: Gamelan music features complex, interlocking rhythmic patterns called 'colotomic structure', where different instruments play specific cyclic patterns that fit together to create a layered and cohesive sound.
    • Styles: There are different regional styles of Gamelan, such as Javanese Gamelan, Balinese Gamelan, Sundanese Gamelan, and more, each with their own unique characteristics.
    • Performance Context: Gamelan music is often performed as part of traditional ceremonies, rituals, dance performances, and wayang kulit (shadow puppetry). It is deeply intertwined with Indonesian cultural traditions.
  4. 4
    Keroncong is a type of Indonesian music that originated from Portuguese influence in the 16th century. It features stringed instruments and is known for its relaxed, romantic style.
    Keroncong is a popular form of music in Indonesia that originated in the late 19th century. It is a traditional Indonesian music genre that combines elements of Portuguese, Malay, and Javanese music. Keroncong is characterized by its unique sound, which is created by a ensemble of instruments including the ukulele-like instrument called the 'cuk', guitar, strings, flute, and sometimes a violin.
    • Origin: Late 19th century in Indonesia.
    • Influences: Portuguese, Malay, and Javanese music.
    • Instruments: Ukulele-like 'cuk,' guitar, strings, flute, and sometimes a violin.
    • Rhythm: Laid-back and melodic.
    • Lyrics: Often romantic, poetic, or social commentary.
  5. 5
    Rock music has a significant fan base in Indonesia, especially among younger generations. Indonesian rock bands often sing in Bahasa Indonesia and incorporate traditional instruments into their music.
    Rock is a genre of popular music that originated in the United States in the late 1940s and early 1950s. It emerged as a blend of various influences, including rhythm and blues, country music, and gospel. Rock music is characterized by its heavy sound, loud electric guitars, prominent bass lines, and energetic drum beats. It often features passionate and expressive vocals, as well as lyrics that tackle a wide range of topics, including love, rebellion, and social issues.
    • Instruments: Electric guitars, bass guitar, drums, keyboards, and sometimes additional instruments like saxophone or synthesizers.
    • Rhythm: Driving and energetic beats, often provided by a combination of electric guitars, bass guitar, and drums.
    • Sound: Powerful and raw, defined by the use of distorted electric guitars and amplifiers.
    • Vocals: Varies from melodic to aggressive, often showcasing vocal range and emotional delivery.
    • Lyrics: Themes range from personal experiences, societal critiques, love, and politics.
  6. 6
    Jazz music is also popular in Indonesia, especially in urban areas. Indonesian jazz musicians have gained international recognition in recent years.
    Jazz is a genre of music that originated in the African-American communities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is characterized by its improvisation, syncopation, and swing rhythm. Jazz is known for its expressive and emotional qualities, often featuring solos and intricate musical arrangements.
    • Improvisation: Jazz musicians often improvise, creating new melodies and variations on the spot.
    • Syncopation: Syncopated rhythms, where accents fall on unexpected beats, are a vital element of jazz.
    • Swing: Jazz has a distinct swing feel, with a rhythmic groove that encourages dancing and a sense of flow.
    • Blues Influence: Jazz has strong roots in blues music, incorporating elements of the blues into its melodies, harmonies, and improvisation.
    • Instrumentation: Jazz often features a variety of instruments, including saxophone, trumpet, piano, double bass, and drums.
  7. 7
    Reggae music has a small but dedicated fan base in Indonesia. Indonesian reggae bands often sing in Bahasa Indonesia and incorporate traditional instruments into their music.
    Reggae is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s. It is characterized by a distinctive rhythmic pattern, known as the 'riddim', and it combines elements of Jamaican folk music, rhythm and blues, and jazz. Reggae is often associated with themes of social justice, peace, love, and spirituality.
    • Rhythm: Reggae music is known for its off-beat accents, often referred to as the 'skank'.
    • Instruments: Typically, reggae music includes instruments such as drums, bass guitar, electric guitar, and keyboards. Other instruments like horns and percussion may also be used.
    • Vocals: Reggae vocals often feature smooth, melodic singing with a focus on expressing the lyrics and delivering the message of the song.
    • Lyrics: Reggae lyrics often address social and political issues, as well as themes of love, spirituality, and personal empowerment.
    • Message: Reggae music often promotes messages of unity, equality, and love, and seeks to inspire positive social change.
  8. 8
    Hip-hop music has gained popularity in Indonesia in recent years, especially among younger generations. Indonesian hip-hop artists often incorporate traditional instruments and elements of Indonesian culture into their music.
    Hip-hop is a music genre that originated in African American and Afro-Caribbean communities in the Bronx, New York City, in the 1970s. It combines rhythmic and rhyming speech (rap) with music that typically consists of beats produced by a DJ or a drum machine. Hip-hop often addresses social and political issues and serves as a platform for self-expression and storytelling.
    • Origin: Bronx, New York City, United States
    • Creation Period: Late 1970s
    • Key Elements: Rap (rhyming speech), Beats (music), DJing (turntablism), Breakdancing (b-boying)
    • Influences: Funk, Soul, R&B, Reggae, Disco, and various African and Latin American musical styles
    • Lyrics: Often reflect the experiences, struggles, and aspirations of the artists and their communities
  9. 9
    Traditional music from various regions of Indonesia is still popular among older generations and is often played at cultural events and ceremonies. Examples include Javanese and Balinese music.
    Traditional music in Indonesia refers to the musical styles that have been passed down through generations in various regions of the country. It is deeply rooted in local cultures and reflects the diversity of Indonesia's ethnic groups.
    • Geographical diversity: Traditional music varies greatly across different regions of Indonesia, reflecting the unique cultural characteristics of each area.
    • Ethnic influences: Traditional music incorporates elements from the various ethnic groups in Indonesia, including Javanese, Sundanese, Balinese, and many others.
    • Instruments: Traditional music features a wide array of traditional instruments, such as the gamelan (a traditional ensemble of percussion instruments), sasando (a plucked string instrument), angklung (a bamboo instrument), and many more.
    • Vocal techniques: Traditional music involves various vocal techniques, including melisma (ornamental vocal improvisation) and vocalizations mimicking natural sounds.
    • Dance connection: Traditional music often accompanies traditional dances, forming a harmonious blend of music and movement.
    Traditional music in other rankings
  10. 10
    Heavy metal music has a small but dedicated fan base in Indonesia. Indonesian metal bands often sing in Bahasa Indonesia and incorporate traditional instruments into their music.
    Metal is a genre of music known for its aggressive and heavy sound, characterized by loud, distorted guitars, fast-paced drumming, and powerful vocals. It emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s as a response to the mainstream rock music of the time. Metal often explores darker and more intense themes, featuring lyrics that tackle topics like death, war, and societal issues.
    • Guitar Techniques: Fast and intricate guitar solos, heavy palm-muted riffing, and alternate picking.
    • Vocal Style: Powerful and aggressive vocals, ranging from high-pitched screams to deep growls.
    • Drumming Style: Fast and complex drum patterns, including double bass pedal techniques and blast beats.
    • Bass Role: Heavy and prominent bass lines that often create a solid foundation for the music.
    • Lyrics: Exploration of darker themes such as death, war, politics, and introspection.

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Ranking factors for popular form

  1. Cultural diversity
    Indonesia is a country with diverse ethnic groups, each having its unique music style. Therefore, the popularity of a music genre may vary across different regions and communities.
  2. Modern music
    Consider the popularity of modern music genres, such as pop, rock, jazz, hip-hop, and electronic dance music, among different age groups and in various social contexts.
  3. Local and international music
    It is essential to consider the balance between local Indonesian artists and international artists when evaluating the popularity of music forms in Indonesia.
  4. Live music events and concerts
    The frequency of live music events, concerts, and music festivals featuring specific music genres can also be an indicator of popularity.
  5. Social media presence
    Look at the social media presence and following of Indonesian artists or music genres to evaluate their popularity.
  6. Awards and recognition
    Music awards, both national and international, can be used to gauge the popularity and influence of a specific music genre or artist in Indonesia.
  7. Music and cultural influence
    Evaluate the influence of music genres on art, fashion, lifestyle, and tourism in Indonesia, as this can reflect the popularity and importance of the music forms in the country.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular form of music in Indonesia. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or form is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 231 votes
  • 10 ranked items

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Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each form once every 24 hours. The rank of each form is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular form of music in indonesia

Indonesia is a country with a rich and diverse cultural heritage, including a vibrant music scene. Traditional Indonesian music incorporates elements of gamelan, a style of music featuring percussion instruments, as well as folk and classical influences. However, with the increasing globalization of music, popular Western genres such as pop, rock, and hip-hop have also gained a significant following in Indonesia. In recent years, Indonesian musicians have also emerged on the international stage, contributing to the global music industry. With such a diverse and dynamic music culture, it is interesting to explore what form of music is the most popular among the Indonesian audience.

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