Jumat, 30 November 2007


Almost every where in Yogya, Solo, Semarang and other cities in Central Java, in Karatons, in the market, in the villages, in the hotel's lobby, you should hear the magical melodious percussion music - the gamelan Javanese orchestra.

In his book 'music of Java' Jaap Kunst says, "Gamelan is comparable to only two things, moonlight and flowing water. ...mysterious like moonlight and always changing like flowing water ...".

Gamelan music is an integral part of all cultural activities in Java such as wayang kulit (leather puppets) performance, court dance, uyon-uyon (symphony orchestra performance), etc. There are two kinds of laras (tuning) in gamelan, namely slendro (comparable to minor key in Western music) and Pelog (major key). A complete set of gamelan consist of two sets of different instruments of Slendro and Pelog, such as:

  1. Kendang (double ended drum beaten by hands)
    It is a leading instrument. The pengendang (drumer) is the conductor of the gamelan orchestra. There are five (5) different sizes of kendang from 20 cm to 45 cm.

  2. Saron
    A glockenspiel with bronze bar struck with wooden mallet. There are three kinds; Saron Barung, Saron Peking, Saron Demung.

  3. Bonang Barung
    A double row of bronze kettles resting on a horizontal frame, played with two long stick bound with red cord at the striking end.
  4. Bonang Penerus

  5. Slentem
    Thin bronze bars suspended over bamboo resonating chambers, struck with a padded disc on the end of a stick.
  6. Gender
    Similar to slentem with more bronze keys and smaller bamboo chamber, struck with two disc-shaped hammers.

  7. Gambang
    Wooden bars laid over a wooden frame struck with two sticks of supple buffalo horn, ending with a small, round, padded disc.
  8. Gong
    Each slendro and pelog set had three gongs. Two big gongs (Gong Ageng) and one gong Suwukan about 90 cm, made from bronze, suspended on a wooden frame. It marks the end of the largest phrase of the melody.

  9. Kempul
    Smaller gongs, marks a smaller phrase. In each slendro and pelog set, there are 6 (six) or 10 (ten) kempuls.
  10. Kenong
    Smaller gongs lay horizontally on crossed cord, inside a wooden frame. A complete set of kenong in each slendro and pelog consist of 10 (ten) kenongs.

  11. Ketug
    The kenong player also plays it smaller kenong, marks subdivisions of phrases.
  12. Clempung
    A string instrument, each slendro and pelog set needs one clempung.
  13. Siter
    Smaller cemplung, each slendro and pelog set needs one siter

  14. Suling
    It is a flute, each slendro and pelog set, needs one suling.
  15. Rebab
    A two stringed viol, the same as slendro and pelog.
  16. Keprak and Kepyak
    Needed for gamelan to accompany dances.
  17. Bedug
    It is a very big drum.

The bars of the gamelan instruments can be made either from iron, copper or bronze. The bronze bars are the best choice. All the gamelan players are sitting cross-legged on a mat during a performance.

In a gamelan music concert or karawitan performance, the Kendang player or pengendang conducts the Tempo, while the melody is led by the bonang player

The gamelan orchestra includes some singers (Pesinden), female as well as male. There are some very famous Pesindens, their names are almost known by everybody in this region.

Some believe that in the ancient time, the first set of gamelan, by the name of Lokananta was created by gods and played in Mount Lawu, Eastward of Solo.

In short the history of gamelan was as follow:
The first gamelan was the three-toned Munggang, then the five-toned slendro gamelan and the last: the seven-toned pelog gamelan.

In the laras slendro, there are:

  • Slendro patet nem
  • Slendro patet sanga
  • Slendro patet manyura
In the laras pelog, there are:
  • Pelog patet lima
  • Pelog patet nem
  • Pelog patet barong

Patet is a place to lay the gending or to establish the gending. In the wayang kulit (shadow puppet) whole night show, the gamelan plays,
Slendro patet nem from 9.00-12.00 p.m.
Slendro patet sanga from 00.00-03.00 a.m.
Slendro patet manyura from 03.00-06.00 a.m.

For an experienced gamelan player it should not difficult to determine the patet of a particular gamelan music. Or it can be said that patet is used to create mood, with the gamelan accompaniment. It is already known that various gamelan tunes are played to create different atmosphere of the situation or feeling such as joy, sorrow, anger etc.


The most famous pusaka or heirloom for Javanese people is Keris (dagger). In the ancient time, a man is not considered as a real man if he has no keris. The keris is highly valued, treated and respected with special care.
This pusaka is usually inherited from fore fathers. According to Javanese ancient tradition, especially in the court families, a father was obliged to give to his adult son at least a keris..
In general, keris is divided to two important parts, the blade (Wilah) and the scabbard (Warangka), to protect the blade. The process of the making of the blade in the old days may last one year only for one keris. The keris maker is called an Empu. Only the respectable Empus could make a high quality keris, physically and spiritually. Empu has to do some spiritual deeds to prepare a keris, like fasting, not sleeping for several days and nights, meditation, etc.
In Principle, a keris is a personal sacred weapon, it is made by an Empu, in accordance with the wish of the consumer. The manufacturing of keris is complicated, for short as the following : At workshop with good fire plate to case the row materials such as 5 kg iron plate, measuring; 4 cm wide, 2 cm thick, 15 cm long; 50 gr of nickel and 0,5 kg of steel. The iron is heated until it become smaller, it forges again and again. The 5 kg iron become 2 kg forged iron. The nickel inserted in between the forged iron, smolder them, forged them carefully to produce the desired 'pamor' or surface pattern. Afterward the steel sheet, together with above forged iron and nickel, smolder and forge again.

In this stage the keris should be made Keris Lurus (a straight keris) or Keris Luk (keris with curves). The keris should be formed in accordance to the blue print, using several tools such as; rough fine, triangular files, grindstone and chisels. Afterwards the keris should be heated but not smoldered and than plated, to make the keris more durable. After it has been plated, it should be soaked in a mix solution of sulfur, lemon juice and salt. The keris is ready and its weight is about 0,4 kg.
The Physical Characteristic of Keris :
Keris Lurus (straight Keris) and Keris Luk (curved keris)
Dapur Dapur or shape is the keris specific form or type and identified by particular combination of parts and curved (luk). The meaning of dapur is based on certain standard which is called Pakem Dapur Keris. The names of dapur among other :
Sangga Buwono
Jangkung Mangkurat
Tilam Upih
Jalak Nyucup Madu
Tangguh Tangguh is the estimated era of keris making. It is linked with prominent kingdoms, such as ;
Tangguh Kahuripan of XI AD
Tangguh Singasari of XII AD
Tangguh Pajajaran of XIII AD
Tangguh Majapahit of XIV AD
Tangguh Mataram of XIV - XVI AD
Tangguh Kartosuro
Tangguh Surokarto
Tangguh Yogyakarta
Pamor Surface pattern of a keris blade, the design has not been carved, it appears as a result of forging technique of different metals. Some pamor's name are :
Ilining Warih
Wos Wutah
Lintang Kemukus
Udan Mas
Mlati Sumebar

The magical Power of Keris
Despite its physical characteristic, keris contain a spiritual mission.
The original spiritual power is the wishes of the Empu, the maker. While preparing and making a keris, the Empu, in the holy state, solemnly pray to God Almighty, the keris should contain spiritual wishes as requested by the Empu or the consumer. It depends who is going to use the keris, the mission should be different, for instance, for the kings, begawans (priest), generals, high ranking officials, farmers, traders, fishermen, workers, soldiers, etc. So, it could be easy to understand that a keris which good for king , may be not good for a trader. The Additional and/or Other Spiritual Power of Keris. The keris could be filled with spiritual beings, unseen by ordinary people, such as a genie, (jin or qodam) in order to protect or to help the keris owner.

The Physical characteristic of Keris, also symbolizing its mission.
Dapur : Jalak Ngucup Madu (jalak is a starling, a kind of bird; ngucup is drink; madu is honey). The wish is clear, the owner of the keris should live in prosperity.
Pamor : Udan Mas (udan is rain; mas is gold). The keris has a mission to help its owner to have an abundant wealth.
A. Keris Lurus or Straight Keris, symbolizing self-confidence, strong mentality. B.Keris Luk or Keris with Curved
Luk 3 : symbolizing a success to achieve some wishes. Luk 5 : to be loved by other people Luk 7 : dignity. Luk 9 : dignity, charismatic and leadership. Luk 11 : to achieve high position Luk 13 : peaceful and stability of live.
Definition of a Good Keris
A keris is considered 'good' if it has perfect physical characteristics and at the same time contains good and strong spiritual power.
Menayuh KerisAs it has been explained above, that keris is originally a very personal heirloom, fit only for the owner.

Nowadays, there are a lot of keris in the market for sale, the term used is not buying and selling, but Mas Kawin (Bride price).
How could someone know that a keris should be fit for buyer ? The keris should be tayuh (asked), what is its missions, who is the Empu, etc, of course by an expert in this field who has ability to communicate with a keris.
The Price of Keris

The price in terms of money are very variable, depends to its quality. 'Ordinary' keris should be around Rp. 250.000,- (US$ 100), but a masterpiece could reach as high as US$ 50.000 !!!


Batik is one of Java's famous and highly developed art traditions, together with wayang (shadow puppets), gamelan (Javanese orchestra) and keris (the dagger - heirloom).
Anywhere, batik designed materials are clearly seen as women traditional dresses, shirts, uniforms, sarongs, bags, hats, table-cloths, napkins, painting and decorative items, etc, with traditional color of brown, indigo and blue or more colorful ones.
Nowadays, batik is an important industry in many production centers in Java. It is a proof that the people of Java do love the products, long time ago created by their ancestors..
The Symbolic Meaning of Batik's Motifs
The motifs of Batik, especially with old pattern, as in other field of Javanese tradition are symbolizing something. Might be, this is one of the reasons, why people still adore batik up to present date. Some of the motifs are :
Sido Mulyo : Sido (you should be ), mulyo (happy). Symbolizing 'you should be happy and rich man'.
Sido Dadi : Symbolizing 'you should be a man/woman as you wish (prosperous, high ranking position, wealthy, etc)'.
Satrio Wibowo : Symbolizing 'Man with dignity'.
Tikel Asmorodono : Tikel (more), Asmoro (love), Dono (gift). It is meant the one who wears this batik, should be loved more and more by others.
The Process of Batik Making
Batik, in Javanese means 'To Dot'. Basically there are two kinds of batik; Batik Tulis (hand drawn) and Batik Cap (stamped). The price of batik tulis is much more expensive than batik cap.

A canting (a pen like instrument with a small reservoir of liquid wax) is applied to the cloth of batik tulis making. The tracing of the desired design on to the prepared cloth is the first stage of making followed by the technique of applying wax and dye substances. At the final stage of the process, all the wax scraped off and the cloth boiled to remove all traces of the wax. This process of repeatedly waxing and dyeing is the batik process, used until nowadays in Java and other parts of Indonesia.
So, this kind art of batik is an indigenous to the country. The wax used in batik process is a combined product of paraffin, bees-wax, plant resins called gondorukem and mata kucing.
Batik cap, which is also using the waxing process, its process of course faster and easier. But people appreciation of batik tulis is higher, it is really a work of an artist not only a craftsman. It combines the expertise, patience, deep feeling to produce the finest product, and it may take days, weeks and even months to make only a batik tulis
The Cities of Batik
Yogyakarta and Solo are the centers of traditional of batiks, as the north coastal town of Pekalongan is the center of more modern batiks, using more floral and birds motifs. There are some well-known artists of batik design in Yogya and Solo, as well as some big batik manufacturers with famous trademarks.
The growing production of batik makes way to the establishment of mori (woven cotton fabrics) factories in Yogya and Central Java. The Batik research Institute was founded in Yogya.
When Batik is Worn
Batik dresses are worn for several purposes, such as ;
Informal Dresses It is a free choice, usually for daily casual wear.
Formal Occasions In some parties, as a state banquets, receptions, etc, the invitees are requested to wear batik. Long sleeves shirts for the men and 'kain batik' (long batik to cover the lower body) for the women.
Traditional Occasions It is worn to present the traditional wedding ceremonies, special ceremonies for the Royal families, etc.
In a wedding ceremony the bride and the bridegroom wear the same motif of batik Sidomukti, symbolizing a happiness and prosperous life. Using the same motif symbolizing the togetherness. The parents of the bride and the bridegroom wear batik with motif of Truntum, symbolizing the advice of the parents to the newly weds to enter the new life with full of love and confidence.
Traditional Dress
Women's traditional dress, especially in Yogya and Solo court families, consisting of :
Jarit or Tapih or Sinjang A 'kain panjang' (long cloth of batik) measuring around 2 m x 1 m to cover the lower body, tightened with stagen (large waist band)
Kebaya It is a traditional long sleeved shirt (the material used is not from batik, usually from silk and other fine materials).
Selendang It is used as attractive piece of clothing to compliment the traditional dress. The 2 m x 0,5 m selendang cloth hung over one shoulder.
Kemben or Semekan It is special for ceremonies in Karaton (palace) or Royal family ceremonies. Instead of wearing Kebaya, to cover the upper body, a kemben is worn.
Men's Traditional Dresses
Jarit or Bebed Men kain panjang, tightened with stagen.
Surjan Men traditional long sleeved shirt (only for Yogya style) and the material is not batik.
Beskap Instead of wearing surjan, the men wear a coat (beskap of Solo style or Atila of Yogya style), the materials is not batik.
Blangkon It is a headgear made from batik.
Keris The dagger is worn at backside of the waist, as a compliment to the dress.
Is a very long jarit to cover the lower body. It is worn only on a very special occasion such as the king coronation by the king himself. The wearing of dodot or kampuhan is very complicated. It may take two hours to wear a dodot with the help of specialist-dressers!

Performance of Wayang Kulit (Leather Puppet)

Wayang is an Indonesian word for theatre. When the term is used to refer to kinds of puppet theater, sometimes the puppet itself is referred to as wayang. "Bayang", the Javanese word for shadow or imagination, also connotes "spirit." Performances of shadow puppet theater are accompanied by gamelan in java, and by "gender wayang" in bali. UNESCO designated Wayang Kulit, a shadow puppet theater and the best known of the Indonesian wayang, as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity on 7 November 2003History of Wayang Wayang is a generic term denoting traditional theatre in Indonesia. There is no evidence that wayang existed before Hinduism came to Southeast asia sometime in the first century CE. However, there very well may have been indigenous storytelling traditions that had a profound impact on the development of the traditional puppet theatre. The first record of a wayang performance is from an inscription dated 930 CE which says "si Galigi mawayang," or "Sir Galigi played wayang". From that time till today it seems certain features of traditional puppet theatre have remained. Galigi was an itinerant performer who was requested to perform for a special royal occasion. At that event we know he performed a story about the hero Bima from the Mahabharata.
Hinduism arrived in Indonesia from India even before the Christian era, and was slowly adopted as the local belief system. Sanskrit became the literary and court language of Java and later of Bali. The Hindus changed the Wayang (as did the Muslim, later) to spread their religion, mostly by stories from the Mahabharata or the Ramayana. Later this mixture of religion and wayang play was praised as harmony between Hinduism and traditional Indonesian culture. On Java, the western part of Sumatra and some smaller islands traditionalists continued to play the old stories for some time, but the influence of Hinduism prevailed and the traditional stories either fell into oblivion or were integrated into the Hinduistic plays.
The figures of the wayang are also present in the paintings of that time for example the roof murals of the courtroom in Klungkung, Bali. They are still present in traditional Balinese painting today.
When Islam began spreading in Indonesia, the display of God or gods in human form was prohibited, and thus this style of painting and shadow play was suppressed. King Raden Patah of Demak, Java wanted to see the wayang in its traditional form, but failed to obtain permission from the Muslim religious leaders. As an alternative, the religious leaders converted the wayang golek into wayang purwa made from leather, and displayed only the shadow instead of the figures itself. Instead of the forbidden figures only their shadow picture was displayed, the birth of the wayang kulit.
The wayang klitik figures are painted, flat woodcarvings (a maximum of 5 to 15 mm thick -- barely half an inch) with movable arms. The head is solidly attached to the body. With these, it is possible to do puppet plays either by day or by night. This type of wayang is relatively rare.
Wayang today is both the most ancient and most popular form of puppet theatre in the world. Hundreds of people will stay up all night long to watch the superstar performers, dalang, who command extravagant fees and are international celebrities. Some of the most famous dalang in recent history are Ki Nartosabdho, Ki Anom Suroto, Ki Asep Sunarya, Ki Sugino, and Ki Manteb Sudarsono.

Wayang kulit, shadow puppets are prevalent in Java and Bali, are without a doubt the best known of the Indonesian wayang. Kulit means skin and refers to the leather construction of the puppets that are carefully chiseled with very fine tools and supported with carefully shaped buffalo horn handles and control rods.The stories are usually drawn from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata or the Serat Menak. The island of Lombok has developed its own style of Serat Menak called Wayang Sasak.There is a family of characters in Javanese wayang called Punakawan; sometimes referred to as "clown-servants" because they usually are associated with the story's hero and also provide humorous and philosophical interludes. Semar is the father of Gareng (oldest son), Petruk, and Bagong (youngest son). These characters did not originate in the Hindu epics, but were added later, possibly to introduce mystical aspects of Islam into the Hindu-Javanese stories. They provide something akin to a political cabaret, dealing with gossip and contemporary affairs. The puppets figures themselves vary from place to place. In Central Java the city of Surakarta (Solo) is most famous and is the most commonly imitated syle of puppets. Regional styles of shadow puppets can also be found in west java, Banyumas, cirebon, semarang, and east java. Bali produces more compact and naturalistic figures, and Lombok has figures representing real people. Often modern-world objects as bicycles, automobiles, airplanes and ships will be added for comic effect, but for the most part the traditional puppet designs have changed little in the last 300 years. Historically, the performance consisted of shadows cast on a cotton screen cast an oil lamp. Today, the source of light in Java is most often a halogen electric light. Some modern forms of wayang such as Wayang Sandosa created in the Art Academy at Surakarta (STSI) has employed Spotlight, colored lights and other innovations.The handwork involved in making a wayang kulit figure that is suitable for a performance takes several weeks, with the artists working together in groups. They start from master models (typically on paper) which are traced out onto kulit (skin or parchment), providing the figures with an outline and with indications of any holes that will need to be cut (such as for the mouth or eyes). The figures are then smoothed, usually with a glass bottle, and primed. The structure is inspected and eventually the details are worked through. A further smoothing follows before individual painting, which is undertaken by yet another craftsman. Finally, the movable parts (upper arms, lower arms with hands and the associated sticks for manipulation) mounted on the body, which has a central staff by which it is held. A crew makes up to ten figures at a time, typically completing that number over the course of a week. The painting of less expensive puppets is handled expediently with a spray technique, using templates, and with a different person handling each color. Less expensive puppets, often sold to children during performances, are sometimes made on cardboard instead of leather.Wayang topeng or wayang gedog or wayang wong

Wayang wong is a type of theatrical performance with themes from the kingdom of Jenggala, in which the players wear masks known as wayang topeng or wayang gedog. The word "gedog" comes from "kedok", which, like "topeng" means "mask". The main theme is the story of raden panji and chandra. This is a love story about princess Candra Kirana of kediri and Raden Panji Asmarabangun, the crown prince of Jenggala. Candra Kirana was the incarnation of Dewi Ratih (goddess of love) and Panji was an incarnation of Kamajaya (god of love). Kirana's story was given the title "smaradhana" ("The fire of love"). At the end of the complicated story they finally can marry and bring forth a son, named Raja Putra. Panji Asmarabangun ruled Jenggala under the official names Sri Kameswara, Prabu Suryowiseso, and Ino kertapati. Originally, wayang wong was performed only as an aristocratic entertainment in four palaces of Yogyakarta and Surakarta. In the course of time, it spread to become a popular and folk form as well.Wayang wong has fixed patterns of movement and costume: very slow, elegant and smooth movement. For example, the dance of Arjuna, Puntadewa and all other slimly built Kshatriyas. There are two types of movement, lanyap and luruh.Gagah:
  • Kambeng: a more athletic dance, used for the roles of Bima, Antareja and gatotkaca.
  • Bapang: gagah and kasar for the warriors of Kurawa.
  • Kalang kinantang: falls somewhere between alus and gagah, danced by tall, slim dancers in the roles of Kresno or Suteja.Gecul: ponokawan and cantrik
  • Kambeng dengklik: for ape warriors, such as Hanuman.Kalang kinantang dengklik: for ape warriors, such as Sugriwa and Subali.For female performers: Kshatriya noblemen. Costumes and props distinguish kings, Kshatriyas, monks, princesses, The movements know as nggruda or ngenceng encot in the classical, high style of dance consist of nine basic movements (joged pokok) and twelve other movements (joged gubahan and joged wirogo) and are used in portraying Bedoyo and Srimpi.Today, the wayang wong, following the Gagrak style of Surakarta, is danced by women. They follow the alus movements associated with a Kshatriya, resembling Arjuna. Following the Gagkra style from Yogyakarta a male dancer uses these same Alus movements to depict princes and generals. There are about 45 distinct character types.Wayang Golek or Rod Puppets

    Wayang golek are wooden doll puppets that are operated from below by rods connected to the hands and a central control rod that runs through the body to the head. The simple construction of the puppets belies their versatility, expressiveness and aptitude for imitating human dance. Little is known for certain about the history of wayang golek, but scholars have speculated that it that most likely originated in China and arrived in Java sometime in the 17th century. Some of the oldest traditions of wayang golek are from the north coast of Java in what is called the pasisir region. This is home to some of the oldest Muslim kingdoms in Java and it is likely the wayang golek grew in popularity through telling the wayang menak stories of Amir Hamzah, the uncle of Muhammad. These stories are still widely performed in Kabumen, Tegal, and Jepara as wayang golek menak, and in Cirebon wayang golek cepak. Legendary origins of wayang golek attribute their invention to the Muslim saint wali sunan kudus, who used the medium to prosletize Muslim values. In the 18th century the tradition moved into the mountains of West Java where it eventually was used to tell stories of the Ramayana and the Mahabarata in a tradtion now called wayang golek purwa, which can be found in Bandung, Bogor and Jakarta. Wayang golek purwa has become the most popular form of wayang golek today and the most famous puppeteer family is the Sunarya family which has produced several generations of stellar performers.

    Wayang klitik image of Batara GuruWayang klitik figures occupy a middle ground between the figures of wayang golek and wayang kulit. They are constructed similarly to wayang kulit figures, but from thin pieces of wood instead of leather, and, like wayang kulit figures, are used as shadow puppets. A further similarity is that they are the same smaller size as wayang kulit figures. However, wood is more subject to breakage than leather. During battle scenes, wayang klitik figures often sustain considerable damage, much to the amusement of the public, but in a country in which before 1970 there were no adequate glues available, breakage generally meant an expensive, newly made figure. On this basis the wayang klitik figures, which are to appear in plays where they have to endure battle scenes, have leather arms. The name of these figures is onomotopaeic, from the sound klitik-klitik, that these figures make when worked by the dalang.

    Wayang klitik figures come originally from eastern java, where one still finds workshops turning them out. They are less costly to produce than wayang kulit figures.

    The origin of the stories involved in these puppet plays comes from the kingdoms of eastern Java: Jenggala, kediri and Majapahit. From Jenggala and Kediri come the stories of Raden Panji and Cinderalas, which tells of the adventures of a pair of village youngsters with their Fighting ccks. The Damarwulan presents the stories of a hero (Damarwulan) from Majapahit. Damarwulan is a clever chap, who with courage, aptitude, intelligence and the assistance of his young lover Anjasmara, makes a surprise attack on the neighboring kingdom and brings down Minakjinggo, an Adipati (viceroy) of Blambangan and mighty enemy of Majapahit's beautiful queen Sri Ratu Kencanawungu. As a reward, Damarwulan is married to Kencanawungu and becomes king of Majapahit; he also takes Lady Anjasmara as a second wife. This story is full of love affairs and battles and is very popular with the public. The dalang is liable to incorporate the latest local gossip and quarrels and work them into the play as comedy.

    The wayang beber has strong similarities to narratives in the form of illustrated ballads that were common at annual fairs in medieval and early modern Europe. They have also been subject to the same fate – they have nearly vanished. A few scrolls of images remain from those times, found today in museums. Performances, mostly in small auditoriums, take place according to the following pattern:The dalang gives a sign, the gamelan orchestra (or a musician with a violin-like instrument) begins to play and the Dalang unrolls a picture related to the story. Then, speaking and singing, he narrates the story in more detail. In this manner, in the course of the evening he unrolls several pictures. The pictures are shown one at a time and are successively unrolled. Each picture represents a story or part of a story. The content of the story typically stems from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Jenggala stories or profane stories from other villages and kingdoms.Wayang SadatThis newly developed form is used by teachers of Islam to show the principles of Muslim ethics and religion to the natives of Java and Bali.



    Keroncong, a seductive music for fiddle, guitar, ukulele, flute, banjo, bass and cello, owes its origin to the Portuguese who dominated parts of the archipelago from 1512 to 1596. The early Portuguese sailors, who discovered the sea route to the Moluccas, brought their musical instruments and melodies to Indonesia. A small guitar with five strings called the pandeiro became known as keroncong (from its sound “crong”) in Batavia, and much later as the ukulele in Hawaii. The Portuguese introduced three types of music; moresco, prounga and cafrino. Moresco songs are cheerful and developed into keroncong music; while prounga tunes are more melancholic, with a strong Turkish influence, and developed into stambul tunes. Both moresco and prounga flourished in Java. Cafrino music became the forerunner of Malay and West Sumatran music.

    In the first quarter of the 17th century, the Dutch who became the new colonists, granted freed Portuguese slaves an area called Tugu (12 kilometres north east from present-day Jakarta). This group consisted of Mardijkers (former Portuguese slaves of Indian, African and Asian descent, who became Christians) and a group of mestizos (Portuguese-Asian Christians). Tugu became the heart of the mestizo culture.

    The language of this community was a mixture of Portuguese, Indian and Malay dialects. Here the moresco melodies developed into keroncong music, and were adapted to local elements. The earliest continuing keroncong ensemble History of Keroncong Music By Mariah Waworuntu and Ann Triman still exists in kampung Tugu and is called ‘Keroncong Tugu’. Much later keroncong became popular among the Indo-Dutch community in neighbouring Kemayoran and also in Depok, a village of Indo-Dutch freed slaves, south of Jakarta.

    According to Haryadi Suadi, keroncong music evolved in three distinct stages over 400 years. In the first period from the early 17th century to the early 1800’s, moresco songs were composed in Portuguese and were popular only among the Portuguese and their descendants. Little is known about this period but a keroncong expert from Maluku, claimed that along the Ciliwung river and behind the walls of Dutch settlements, keroncong music was frequently heard. Some of the Portuguese moresco songs we know today are ‘Nina Bobo’ (a cradle song), ‘Bastiana’, ‘Moresco’ and ‘Prounga’. Although these songs achieved popularity between 1830 and 1870, the Malay influence was becoming more prominent, signifying the start of the second period. The lyrics changed from Portuguese to bahasa Melayu. During this time, the famous song ‘Terang Bulan’ (bright moon) was popular and became the national song of Malaysia. Although it may not be the national anthem of this country, it is still widely recognised as the ‘song’ of Malaysia to this day.

    During the third period, after 1870, moresco melodies became keroncong songs with an even stronger local accent, and turned into urban music. This period is also known as the ‘Mahieu period’. In the late 19th century, Auguste Mahieu, an actor of Indo-Dutch descent born in Surabaya, popularised keroncong through theatre. Keroncong songs were often associated with lower class rogues and gangs called buaya (crocodile) or jago (rooster). These were known to be macho-men or hooligans who seduced innocent girls with their music. The songs are about love, yearning, sadness and the beauty of the countryside. Steadily plucked arpeggios provide the harmonic backdrop, while the flute flips up and down the scales in free improvisational flight. This music, originally the domain of unsavoury elements, eventually became assimilated into the respectable segments of society. Indonesia’s first president, Soekarno was an ardent supporter and listener of keroncong music. Other wellknown songs are ‘Keroncong Muritsku’ and Gesang’s ‘Bengawan Solo’ (Solo river).

    Although the instruments and the singing style are clearly descended from European origins, the chord progression takes the Western ear by surprise and provides an unsettling, ethereal flavor to the songs. The langgam jawa, a regional variant, has a more pronounced local character with its use of Javanese gamelan scales. The development and adaptation of keroncongto local culture in the last century, made Indonesia rightfully claim keroncong music as an important element on the Indonesian music scene.When a traveler visiting Java, in Central Java or in Jakarta, sometimes he / she hears a music with special beat , it's so melodious, romantic. The music instruments are western but played in a special way which can not be found in any other part of the world. One of the famous song is Bengawan Solo (River Solo), composed by Solonese senior artist Mr. GESANG. Bengawan Solo is not heard only in Solo or Indonesia, but its popularity has crossed the border to other countries of South East Asia & Japan . This is " The classic" of Kroncong music . Nowadays , Kroncong still has its valuable place in the world of music entertainment performed in front of the audience, in the television & radio. The origin of Kroncong MusicThis music had been first played around the year 1600 AP . Some people say that it was a modification or influenced by portuquese music.
    Mr. Andjar Any, the president of Hamkri (Association of Indonesia Kroncong Artists) Solo branch, categorically says that Kroncong music is purely Indonesian. The 61 year-old artist, a journalist strongly supports his theory. In his profession he has traveled around the world and he did not found any music similar to Kroncong even in Portugal or its ex colony. It is a probability, that our people saw the European played their music with western music instruments hundreds years ago in the old days, the Kroncong had its root in Jakarta with its Kroncong Tugu (Tugu is a village in the coast of Jakarta) & Central Java. He had composed more than 2000 songs, among other the famous Yen ing Tawang ana lintang (If there are stars in the sky), known by almost Javanese people, as it is in Javanese language. Many of his songs have been sung also in English & Mandarin. Although he has not been asked for approval, he does not mind, he is happy if others could enjoy his composition. The present Kroncong In the development, it is quite understandable if Kroncong has a deep root in Yogyakarta & Central Java, it can live in harmony side by side with Javanese gamelan music. In fact Kroncong & Gamelan , they have similarity in their rules of composition.
    Kroncong music has push highly some stars of Kroncong such as :
    Senior singers of Solo & Yogya, Mrs. Surip with her sparkling ball eyes, Mrs Any Landau, Sapari , S. Darmanto, Ismanto, Bram Aceh and from the younger generation such as Waljinah with her song " Walang Kekek", Mini Satria, Sundari Sukoco, Wiwiek Sumbogo, Mus Mulyadi etc. Keroncong music sometimes mixed with other instruments & beats. The compursari music : combining Kroncong & gamelan music instruments innovated by a senior artist , MR, MANTHOUS of Gunung Kidul, Yogyakarta, is now very popular. The Kroncong songs are also sometimes played with REGGAE or DANGDUT beats. According to Andjar Any , this development is not destructive, it is a process, it is a proof that kroncong has a place in the heart of Indonesian society.