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 and played in a manner similar to the tambourine, 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.
This hand drum is most commonly played in a large kompang ensemble, where various rhytmic 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.
This kompang is approximately from 12 inches in diameter and covered by a skin or head on one side. It is a very shallow instrument and is played by holding the kompang in one hand while slapping the head with the other hand. It is played is manner somewhat similar to the tambourine.