Keroncong Asli 1

During the period between World Wars I and II American dance music was often played in the ballrooms of large hotels in Indonesian cities such as Jakarta and Bandung. The popular 32-bar songs soon influenced the development and structure of local Indonesian music: Indonesia Raya was composed in 32-bar form and Kusbini notated the song Moresko in 32 bars, a form that became known as Keroncong Asli (original keroncong).
Basic Structure of Keroncong Asli Songs:
diatonic scale, 4/4 time, andante tempo; 28 bars grouped into 4-bar phrases, plus a prelude; the 28 bars are often repeated.

Harmonic structure:
Prelude      I – – –      I – – –     IV-V7-      I – – –
A1              I – – –      I – – –     V – – –      V – – –
A2             V – – –     II# – – –   II #- – –    V – – –
Interlude    V- – –     V – – –    V- – –       IV – – –
B1              IV – – –    IV- – –   V – – –       I – – –
B2              I – – –      V7 – – –  V7- – –     I – I7 –
B3             IV – V7-   I – I7 –   IV- V7 –   I- – –
B2             I – – –       V7 – – –   V7 – – –   I – – –

played on flute and/or violin, sometimes guitar; usually an improvised decorative rubato passage based on the 7th row (B3); leads to the tonic chord and a slight pause, after which the rest of the band enters
similar to prelude, may include voice
often features wide intervals between and within melodic phrases; each phrase accommodates one line of text; little phrasal repetition; characterised by progressions to the sub-dominant which create the melancholy atmosphere.
The singer performs counter melody, balancing the main melody with expressive improvisations featuring glissando and gruppetto styles and rubato tempo.
Instrumental accompaniment:
usually played on seven instruments – violin, flute, guitar, interlocking ukuleles, pizzicato cello and pizzicato bass; may include additional instruments
in Bahasa Indonesia; in 4 verse pantun (poem) structure; usually talk of love; sometimes improvised but popular texts often have fixed forms.

Click below to enjoy examples of keroncong asli songs
Kr Tanah Airku – YouTube – OK De Java FSSR UNS Surakarta
Kr Sapu Lidi – Toto Salmon – You Tube
Kr Sapu Lidi – Mus Mulyadi- YouTube


One thought on “Keroncong Asli 1

  1. Hi, not too many comments yet, as the real research starts tomorrow. We know that keroncong is based on Portuguese musical idims, and though there is little possibility of direct influence from Fado as it is now, it is another of the “musica portuaria” that developed in the late 1800s, along with tango, son, ranchero, bolero and rhumba in the ports of Latin America, Spain and Portugal, which also reverberated in the Pacific with Hawaiian ukelele music (again based on the Portuguese cavalquino) and what is now called “string band”.
    The chord progression of keroncong Moritsku bears similarities to Fado Artiheiro and Fado Santa Luzia, but with a favourite gamelan device: the long V7 progression suddenly dropping to IV reflects the introduction of note 4 in a gendhing in pelog pathet bem (12356).
    The two ukeleles are “cuk” (cukelele) with nylon strings and “cak” or “tenor” (because of the popularity of the tenor banjo) with steel strings. Cuk has complex strumming rhythms whil cak tends to play offbeat semiquavers. The cavalquino is steel strung with a doubled upper string, unnecessary to the Javanese mind, so cak and cuk tended to be 3 string for a long time, as were the cello and bass. In recent years they have reverted to four strings.

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