Gulingtangan orchestral music of Brunei has always amused me. The metallic melody reverberating from the wooden instruments is soothing to the senses. Often played on board the Royal Brunei Airlines, the melody lingers long after the journey ends.

Traditionally, anyone who owned the orchestral set was considered noble and wealthy. Gulingtangan music is used for royal celebrations, opening ceremonies that involve royalties and official events. It also acts as leisure or entertainment during ceremonies such as Hari Raya celebrations, weddings and get-togethers.

One of my Masters students, Abdul Zul’adly Bin Haji Mohaimin (Zul) is part the gulingtangan orchestra. He and his team deliver lessons and conduct performances at several events in Brunei.

Gulingtangan (literally ‘rolling hands’) is a series of small gongs in a casing made from the special wood of timbaran. The gongs are struck with wooden sticks to create melodies. It is played with other traditional instruments in the orchestra, typically consisting of Gongs, Canang Tiga, Tawak-tawak, 2 sets of Gendang Labik along with Gulintangan set. Modern musical instruments may also be added on to the ensemble. Although songs and instruments have evolved to include modern music, Gulintangan is at the heart of the orchestral band.


Traditional music of a region evolves with the human experience and helps trace the roots of culture and tradition.

The traditional Brunei rhythm consist of

  1. Irama Gulingtangan (traditional Gulingtangan rhythm)

which includes Kudidi, Gabungkok, Avasan, Seri Rama, Raja Lalu, Sakai, Hujan Lari, Raja Sehari, Seri Rama Bovan, Abut-abut, Gelombang Bertaduh

  1. Lagu-Lagu Brunei Asli (Brunei traditional folklore songs)

which include Alus Jua Dendang, Dang Mengalai, Kampong Ayer, Zapin Tar, Tudug Dulang, Adai-adai, Samalindang, Dong-Dong Oma, Indung Anak among others.

Below are some of the musical performances created by Zul and his team:

Kampong Ayer
Joget Seri Kenangan
Raja Lalu

Pooja Shivanand and Abdul Zul’adly Bin Haji Mohaimin