Music Museum, Kuala Lumpur

History of Music Museum Kuala Lumpur

Formerly known as the National History Museum, the building where the newly-opened Music Museum Kuala Lumpur is located at was built in 1888. The original building, built for The Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China was opened on that year.

The Music Museum Kuala Lumpur is located along Jalan Raja, facing the Dataran Merdeka or Merdeka Square. It is one of the few heritage buildings surrounding Dataran Merdeka.

Like other buildings around this area, the Music Museum was built with influence to the Mughal style. There used to be a single-storey wing to the building which was demolished to make way for a wider Jalan Raja. The blank wall have arches now to help not make it look too bare. The corner of the domes of the arches are constructed of Kayu Belian – a type of hardwood from East Malaysia.

Why Music Museum?

Malaysia is a multiracial country that is rich in culture. The diversity of the races in Malaysia allows us to have multiple type of festivals andΒ  celebrations according to religions or races which includes music and the use of multiple type of instruments to go with it.

There have been archaeological findings that instruments such as the bronze drums or Dongsan or wind instruments like Puling Tanah has existed for many centuries in Malaysia. Some of these instruments were used for celebrations or during funeral processions.

The Objective Of Music Museum

Music Museum Kuala Lumpur is opened to showcase musical instruments available in Malaysia that dates to prehistoric times. It is a place to gather musical instruments that has been found or used in Malaysia since the 16th century. It is also to display musical instruments that connects aspects of society and culture as well as show the different materials used to make them – bamboo, wood, leaves and animal hide.

In the future, the Music Museum will have a music library and will showcase instruments by local famous musicians such as the saxophone by Dato’ Ahmad Nawab, guitar by Man Kidal and other instruments.

What To See At Music Museum Kuala Lumpur

There are a number of instruments gathered here, from Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak. The instruments includes instruments of the Malays, Indians, Chinese, Aborigines and different ethnicities from Sabah and Sarawak. Each instrument is included with their name and descriptions on the display. You will be able to take photos of the instruments as well.

Some of the instruments you can find on display are:

  1. Malay instruments : Gong, Serunai, Bonang, Gambang, Kenung and so many more.
  2. Chinese instruments : Da Luo (Big Gong), Gong Xiao Luo (Small Gong), Yan Qing, Pipa, Gu Zheng, Sheng, Shan Xian, Dizi and many more.
  3. Indian instruments : Karthal, Tabla, Baya, Kombu, Harmonium, Manjira and others.
  4. Aboriginal instruments : Ginggong, Kereb, Seruling, Keranting, Kertuk Kayu and more.
  5. Sabahan instruments : Kulintangan, Gambus Selindang Labu, Zither Buluh, Trompet Siput and so many more.
  6. Sarawakian instruments : Engkromong, Engkuratong, Engkerurai, Sape, Ketebong and Gong.

There are also live performances every Sunday at the Music Museum. There is a one hour Malay Gamelan performance inside the museum in the afternoon as well as live Busking performance outside the museum in the evening.

Below is a video of the Malay Gamelan music as well as the description of Malay Gamelan.

Malay Gamelan

How To Go There?

There’s easy access through public transport to come to the Music Museum Kuala Lumpur and Dataran Merdeka.

Via Bus: Take Go KL CityBus Number 33 / 35 / 2 / 27 / 28 / 110

Via LRT: Take the Star LRT or Putra LRT and get down at Masjid Jamek station. It’s a 10 minutes walk from the LRT station.

Music Museum Kuala Lumpur
29, Jalan Raja, 50050 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel : +603 - 2604 0176 Fax : +603 - 2604 0175
Open Daily : 9am - 6pm (Closed on first day of Aidilfitri & first day of Aidiladha)


This event was made possible by Gaya Travel Magazine for the Eat.Travel Write KL in conjunction with Citrawarna 2015