Biography of WR Supratman, the creator of the song Indonesia Raya

Biography of WR Supratman – Sinaumed’s must be familiar with the song “Indonesia Raya” which we always sing every Monday at school during the flag ceremony. The song “Indonesia Raya”, which was later used as the national anthem, was composed by Wage Rudolf Soepratman, or WR Supratman as we know him. In fact, at every official national event or activity, even the lowest level, the obligatory anthem Indonesia Raya is always sung.

As valuable as the song “Indonesia Raya” WR Supratman is a figure who plays a role for the Indonesian nation. Even the day of his birth has been named a national music day since March 9 2013. This shows that WR Supratman’s role is very influential for the Indonesian nation. From the life journey of this national hero, we can learn a lot about his history and struggle for Indonesia.

WR Supratman’s biography traces his life story fighting for the Indonesian nation from a musician, journalist to a national hero. The story is certainly not a short journey but a long and not easy road to conquer the Indonesian invaders at that time.

WR Supratman is a national hero that Sinaumed’s needs to know about. Through WR Supratman’s Biography, Sinaumed’s can get to know this great figure and adopt positive values ​​that inspire. Learning history is a wise behavior that can be carried out by the nation’s younger generation.

The more Sinaumed’s friends understand history, it means that the nation’s younger generation has appreciated history and learned to become a better nation. The following is a review of WR Supratman’s biography that Sinaumed’s needs to know in order to get to know history and emulate the struggle of the Indonesian national hero.

WR Supratman biography

WR Supratman has six siblings, 1 brother and the rest are sisters. WR Supratman grew up in Makassar with his older brother, Roekijem, since 1914. Since then, Roekijem’s husband, Willem Van Eldik, has financed his schooling.

WR Supratman’s educational history was recorded at the age of 4, he attended Frobel School (Kindergarten) in Jakarta in 1907. He then continued his education at Tweede Inlandschool which finished in 1917.

WR Supratman took the Klein Ambtenaar Examen and passed to become a lowly employee candidate. After that, WR Supratman continued his education at the Normaalschool or Teacher Education School at that time. He eventually became a teacher at the Numbers 2 School until he finally got the Klein Ambtenaar diploma.

WR Supratman grew up in a family of musicians. His older brother, Roekijem is also very fond of plays and music. He even exhibited many of his works in military messes.

Roekijem is also good at playing the violin, his hobby is what made WR Supratman also able to play the violin and made him read a lot of music books.

WR Supratman started getting involved in the music world when his brother-in-law, WM Van Eldick gave him a violin as a gift on his 17th birthday. It was the violin that made WR Supratman become familiar with music, especially jazz. He and his brother-in-law eventually founded a jazz group called Black And White.

This jazz group was once popular among Dutch singers. Before the musician was transformed into a national figure, he often had spree and dated Dutch sinyos.

The various conditions of the nation succeeded in urging and attracting its attention to take part in the political field, such as various speeches and political readings. Especially WR Supratman really liked reading the Makasar Newspaper.

His political knowledge finally made WR Supratman have a desire to create a national anthem. He had experienced difficulties when writing the national anthem because WR Supratman felt that his political experience was insufficient. Eventually he got involved in the struggle and met movement figures.

Armed with WR Supratman’s violin, he went to the island of Java, to be precise, the city of Bandung, where the area is the center of the movement of young figures. Before arriving in Bandung, WR Supratman apparently stopped in Surabaya and got along well with the students there who were full of fighting spirit.

WR Supratman, A Musician and Journalist

After stopping briefly in Surabaya for several years, in 1924 WR Supratman finally went to Cimahi. It was there that he liked to read the Kaoem Muda newspaper which eventually led WR Supratman to become a journalist. Before he was accepted at the Kaoem Muda Newspaper, WR Supratman had taken courses on political cadres at the organization formed by Soekarno, namely the General Study Group.

His journalist career at Koran Kaoem Muda did not last long. He then moved to the Press Bureau of Algemene Pers News Agency (Alpena) as a reporter and editor. Because the economic condition of the media company where WR Supratman worked was stagnant, he finally decided to switch to other media. WR Supratman then joined the Sin Po Newspaper which made his economic life better.

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In the media company, Sin Po also made WR Supratman closer to movement figures. Namely Sumarno, M. Tabrani, Bahder Djohan, Paul Pinontoan, and Sumarto. WR Supratman expressed his admiration for M. Tabrani and Sumarto during a speech at the First Indonesian Youth Congress.

It was from there that WR Supratman had the idea to compose the song “Indonesia Raya” with the inspiration “Aspirations of one homeland, one nation which is called Indonesia Raya.”

After the congress was over, WR Supratman began drafting the national anthem by writing it in musical notes and numeric notes. The song Indonesia Raya was finally created with three couplets with repeated verses and the rhythm of the song 6 by 8.

As a journalist he was assigned to cover the Second Congress on 28 October 1928 in Batavia. But this time, WR Supratman didn’t want to just write news, instead he took the initiative to sing his own song.

Leaflets copies of the Indonesia Raya anthem were distributed to the leaders of youth organizations. Finally WR Supratman got permission from Sugondo to sing it during recess.

However, because of Sugondo’s doubts after reading the very straightforward lyrics of the song, he was worried that the government might boycott the congress. Therefore Sugondo only allowed WR Supratman to perform it on the violin only.

When the break came, the song Indonesia Raya was sung with the amazing instrumental version of WR Supratman. All congress participants were stunned and moved by the beauty of WR Supratman’s violin friction.

That was the first time the Indonesian Raya anthem was sung and received a warm welcome from the audience. The lyrics and notation for the song Indonesia Raya were first published in the 10 November 1928 edition of the Sin Po Newspaper with a total of 5,000 copies.

It was from this issue of the Sin Po Newspaper that finally the title of WR Supratman’s song, which was all “Indonesia” became “Indonesia Raja” which is now familiarly known as Indonesia Raya.

After that the national anthem was then sung again by WR Supratman at the dissolution of the second congress committee in December 1928. At this event the national anthem Indonesia Raya was performed complete with the lyrics.

The performance of the Indonesia Raya anthem was also sung to the accompaniment of the choir. Next, the Indonesian song was performed at the opening ceremony of the PNI Congress from 18 to 20 December 1929.

The congress participants then stood up and joined in singing following the curation and WR Supratman’s violin accompaniment as a form of respect for Indonesia Raya.

WR Supratman’s work worried the Dutch 

The popularity of the Indonesian Raya anthem was even wider, making the Dutch worried that the song could awaken the spirit of independence.

Due to the Dutch’s unrest, in 1930 it was forbidden to sing the Indonesia Raya anthem at any event or occasion.

The colonial government used the excuse to the public that the Indonesia Raya anthem could disturb order and security.

Not only was he banned, WR Supratman as the songwriter also received threats, he was even detained and interrogated for the lyrics of the song he composed (merdeka, merdeka, merdeka).

Thanks to finances from various groups, the Dutch East Indies government finally withdrew its claim against WR Supratman and allowed the Indonesian song to be sung on condition that it was only sung in closed spaces.

The success of the song Indonesia Raya prompted WR Supratman to re-create a song called Matahari Terbit. The Dutch government again detained WR Supratman because his song creations were considered dangerous to their position.

The Song of the Rising Sun was considered by the Dutch government to praise Dai Nippon, namely the Japanese. However, WR Supratman was free from accusations by the Dutch thanks to the help of Van Eldik. After being released from detention briefly, WR Supratman actually fell ill.

This bad condition made the Dutch government happy. Due to his deteriorating condition, on August 17, 1938 WR Supratman died at the age of 35.

Before his departure, WR Supratman had said to his brother-in-law, Oerip Kasansengari that he was sure that Indonesia would definitely be with them.

Unexpectedly, the day of his death finally coincided with Indonesia’s Independence Day 7 years later. WR Supratman is buried in a public cemetery on Jalan Kenjeran, Surabaya.

The departure of WR Supratman certainly means that the Indonesian people have lost a very brave warrior. He has fought for Indonesia in his own way with his favorite violin.

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His ability in music he used to fight for the nation and show his courage against the Dutch. Thanks to WR Supratman’s ability and role in creating the Indonesian national anthem, he finally set his birthday as National Music Day.

Based on Presidential Decree (Keppres) Number 10 of 2013 concerning National Music Day which was first established on March 9, 2013.

The determination of this National Music Day has sparked debate because many have stated that WR Supratman’s birthday was March 19, not March 9.

However, Megawati Soekarnoputri as the 5th President of the Republic of Indonesia at that time had already set March 9 as National Music Day.

The decision actually referred to WR Supratman’s date of birth. This decision has not been revised even though the Purworejo District Court has determined that WR Supratman was born on March 19, 1903. Until now we still celebrate National Music Day on March 9.

Apart from the national anthem Indonesia Raya, WR Supratman also composed several national anthems which we now know as the national anthem. The following are WR Supratman’s past works that you need to know about:

  1. Indonesia Raya: The National Anthem of the Republic of Indonesia which was composed in 1924
  2. Ibu Kita Kartini: National Compulsory Song composed in 1929
  3. Di Timoer Matahari: Compulsory Song which was composed in 1931
  4. Indonesia Iboekoe : Created in 1926
  5. Our Flag is Red Poetih : Created in 1928
  6. Bangoenlah Hai Kawan : Created in 1929
  7. Mars KBI: Indonesian Pandoean Song Created in 1930
  8. Mars PARINDRA: Indonesian Party Song Composed in 1930
  9. Mars Soerya Wirawan: Created in 1937
  10. The Rising Sun: Created in 1928
  11. Selamat Tingga : Unfinished song WR Supratman wrote in 1938

In addition to writing songs, WR Supratman also wrote several books, namely Perawan Desa, written in 1929, Moeda’s Blood, and Kaoem Fanatik. One of his books was once confiscated by the Dutch East Indies government and banned from circulation, namely the book Perawan Desa.

Thanks to the role and great work, the government built the WR Supratman museum which is located on Jl Mangga No. 21 Tamansari, Surabaya, East Java Province. This museum contains several items belonging to WR Supratman, one of which is the legendary violin of the Musician.

The museum apparently was WR Supratman’s residence before he died in 1938. Before being made into a museum, the place was occupied by a family until 1974 and finally was empty for 27 years.

The traces of WR Supratman’s struggle are also on display at the Youth Pledge Museum located at JL Kramat Raya Number 106, Jakarta.

WR Supratman is a national hero who played a role with other youth leaders of the national movement in the event that gave birth to the Declaration of the Youth Pledge on October 28, 1928.

It was because of his role that WR Supratman became an activist for the national movement who created the song Indonesia Raya as a form of the Indonesian nation’s sense of unity and desire for independence.

So, that’s WR Supratman’s biography that Sinaumed’s friends need to know about his role for the Indonesian nation. Even today WR Supratman’s work has become the national anthem that unites all Indonesian people.

His work has succeeded in becoming a trace of the Indonesian nation’s historical struggle towards independence until now. Apart from the Indonesia Raya anthem, there are several national and regional obligatory songs that Sinaumed’s need to know about.

These song works are symbols of nationalism created by great figures who tell about the Indonesian nation.

sinaumedia friends can visit sinaumedia’s book collection at to find book references on national and regional obligatory songs.

These books are recommended for Sinaumed’s to read because they contain a complete collection of national and regional obligatory songs. As a nationalist generation, of course, Sinaumed’s must know what and how national and regional obligatory songs are as a form of love for the nation and respect for the works of heroes.

Book & Article Recommendations

The following are books recommended by sinaumedia that sinaumedia friends can read. Have a good study. #Friends Without Limits