Javanese poetry

Javanese poetry (poetry in the Javanese or especially the Kawi language; Low Javanese: tembang; High Javanese: sekar) is traditionally recited in song form. The standard forms are divided into three types, sekar ageng, sekar madya, and tembang macapat. All three types follow strict rules of poetic construction. These forms are highly influential in Javanese gamelan.

Contents

Sekar ageng

The most sacred are the sekar ageng (Low Javanese: tembang gedhé; "great songs"). These were traditionally held to be the most ancient of the forms, but Jaap Kunst believed that the indigenous forms represented an older tradition. The ancient forms of these, known as kakawin, use meters from Indian poetry, specifying the number of syllables in each line, their vowel length, and the location of caesurae. Exactly how this ancient form sounded when sung is hard to know, as the modern form has been influenced by gamelan structures. It may have resembled modern Indian or Balinese chant.

The modern form of sekar ageng are always in stanzas of four lines, and the number of syllables in each (lampah) is fixed and divided into parts (pedhotan) by caesurae. (Vowel length is no longer distinguished.) These indications are ordinarily indicated with the form; for example, sekar ageng Bongsa patra, lampah 17, pedhotan 4,6,7. According to Padmasasustra, there are 44 types of sekar ageng used in Surakarta.[1]

A sekar ageng is sometimes used as a type of buka (song introduction) known as a bawa. It is sung solo, or may be supported by the gendér. Only the first line is used in the introduction, and the rest may follow in the actual gendhing. Martopangrawit believes that this began only in the late 19th century, at the time of Paku Buwana IX (r. 1861-93).[2]

Sekar madya and tembang macapat

Sekar madya (Low Javanese: Tembang tengahan; "middle songs") are supposed to lie between the other two genres, but there is no agreement about which genres are considered sekar madya and which are tembang macapat (old orthography: machapat). Both of these, in contrast to sekar ageng, use varying number of lines of varying length, but always in a specific form. Furthermore, the vowel sound of the final syllable must match a specific pattern (note that this is different from syllable rime, as consonants that follow, if any, do not have to match). The pattern of the length of lines is known as guru wilangan, guru pètungan, or guru wichalan, while the pattern of vowels is known as dhongdhing or guru lagu. In the schemes below, the number represents the guru wilangan, while the letter is the guru lagu of the corresponding line.

In addition to these formal structures, each of these forms has a specific mood. The typical use is indicated after the form for many of the structures below.

Padmasoesastra listed 11 types of sekar madya forms used in Surakarta.[3] Many of them, however, are no longer used. The ones in modern use are:

  • Juru demung: 8A, 8U, 8U, 8A, 8U, 8A, 8U
  • Wirangrong: 8I, 8O, 10U, 6I, 7A, 8A
  • Balabah: 12A, 3É, 12A, 3Á, 12A, 3Á

Two meters were classified as macapat forms in the past, but are now considered sekar madya:

  • Megatruh (or Duduk wuluh): 12U, 8I, 8U, 8I, 8O
  • Gambuh: 7U, 10U, 12I, 8U, 8O (there are a number of variants of this form)

The common macapat forms are:

  • Dhangdhang gula: 10I, 10A, 8É(O), 7U, 9I, 7A, 6U, 8A, 12I, 7A; neutral character, used especially for introducing another poem
  • Sinom: 8A, 8I, 8A, 8I, 7I, 8U, 7A, 8I, 12A; didactic poems
  • Asmarandana: 8I, 8A, 8O(É), 8A, 7A, 8U, 8A; love poems
  • Kinanthi: 8U, 8I, 8A, 8I, 8A, 8I; love poems
  • Pangkur: 8A, 11I, 8U, 7A, 12U, 8A, 8I; violent passions or fighting
  • Durma: 12A, 7I, 6A, 7A, 8I, 5A, 7I; violent passions or fighting
  • Mijil: 10I, 6O, 10É, 10I, 6I, 6U; love poems
  • Mas kumambang: 12I, 6A, 8I, 8A; longing or homesickness
  • Puchung: 12U, 6A, 8I, 12A; neutral character, used for riddles

As an example, consider the following Kinanthi verse, a stanza from the Serat Centhini:

Ki Jayèngraga agupuh
anggamel rebab respati
rebabé langkung prayoga
watangan pinonthang gadhing
kosok pinatra pinrada
batok jamangan balenggin[4]

These forms are the basis of kidung poetry.

The text for these songs is frequently used in works for the gamelan, frequently sung by the gerong. Indeed, many modern gendhing share common macapat texts, especially Kinanthi, fit into their individual melodic pattern. Sumarsam believes that the singing of these forms led to the development of the early gendhing gerong, in the mid-19th century.[5] Wayang performances make use of the Mahabharata and Ramayana in macapat form, created in the 18th and 19th centuries.[6]

Notes

  1. ^ Padmasoesastra, Tatatjara; publication no. 2 of Volkslectuur, 1891, page 249 et seq. Cited in Kunst, 123.
  2. ^ Sumarsam, page 97.
  3. ^ Padmasoesastra, Tatatjara; publication no. 2 of Volkslectuur, 1891, page 251. Cited in Kunst, 123.
  4. ^ Serat Centhini, Canto 276, stanza 5; cited in Kunst, 224.
  5. ^ Sumarsam, page 98-99.
  6. ^ Sumarsam, page 96.

References

  • Kunst, Jaap. Music in Java: Its History, Its Theory and Its Technique. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1949. Pages 122-125 discuss the forms, and is the source for the article except when noted above.
  • Sumarsam. Gamelan: Cultural Interaction and Musical Development in Central Java. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Poetry — This article is about the art form. For other uses, see Poetry (disambiguation). Literature Major forms Novel · Poem · Drama Short story · Novella …   Wikipedia

  • National poetry — This is a list of articles about poetry in a single language or produced by a single nation. World languages will tend to have a large body of poetry contributed to by several nations (Anglosphere, Francophonie, Latin America, German speaking… …   Wikipedia

  • English poetry — The Seeds and Fruits of English Poetry, Ford Madox Brown. The history of English poetry stretches from the middle of the 7th century to the present day. Over this period, English poets have written some of the most enduring poems in Western… …   Wikipedia

  • Indian poetry — Indian poetry, and Indian literature in general, has a long history dating back to Vedic times. They were written in various Indian languages such as Vedic Sanskrit, Classical Sanskrit, Oriya, Tamil, Kannada, Bengali and Urdu. Poetry in foreign… …   Wikipedia

  • Biblical poetry — The ancient Hebrews perceived that there were poetical portions in their sacred texts, as shown by their entitling as songs or chants such passages as Exodus 15:1 19 and Numbers 21:17 20; and a song or chant (shir) is, according to the primary… …   Wikipedia

  • Urdu poetry — (Urdu: اردو شاعری Urdu Shayari) is a rich tradition of poetry and has many different types and forms. Borrowing much from the Persian language, it is today an important part of Pakistani and North Indian culture. Like other languages, the history …   Wikipedia

  • Latin American poetry — is the poetry of Latin America, mostly but not entirely written in Spanish or Portuguese. The unification of Indigenous and Spanish cultures produced a unique and extraordinary body of literature in Spanish America. Later with the introduction of …   Wikipedia

  • Old Norse poetry — This article is part of a series on: Old Norse Dialects …   Wikipedia

  • Ottoman poetry — Turkish literature By category Epic tradition Orhon Dede Korkut · Köroğlu …   Wikipedia

  • Modern Hebrew poetry — is poetry written in the Hebrew language. It was pioneered by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto,[1] and it was developed by the Haskalah movements, that saw poetry as the most quality genre for Hebrew writing. The first Haskalah poet, who heavily… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.