Music of Malaysia is the generic term for music that has been created in various genres in Malaysia. A great variety of genres in Malaysian music reflect the specific ethnic groups of multiracial Malaysian society consisting of Malay, Chinese, Indian, Iban, Dayak, Kadazandusun, Eurasians and other groups.
In general, music of Malaysia may be categorised as classical, folk, syncretic (or acculturated music), popular and contemporary art music. Classical and folk music emerged during the pre-colonial period and exists in the form of vocal, dance and theatrical music such as Nobat, Mak Yong, Mak Inang, Dikir barat,Ulek mayang and Menora. The syncretic music developed during the post-Portuguese period (16th century) and contains elements from both local music and foreign elements of Arabian, Persian, Indian, Chinese and Western musical and theatrical sources. Among genres of this music are Zapin, Ghazal, Dondang Sayang, Mata-kantiga, Joget, Jikey, Boria, Keroncong and Bangsawan.
Both Malaysian popular music and contemporary art music are essentially Western-based music combined with some local elements. In 1950s, the musicianP. Ramlee helped in creating a Malaysian music that combined folks songs with Western dance rhythms and western Asian music.