Langgam Keroncong

Langgam is the Indonesian name for any diatonic song consisting of four 8-bar phrases, each phrase being a melodic setting of two lines of text (Kornhauser 1978,159). This 32-bar song form is common in many Western popular songs.

Langgam Keroncong developed during the 1940s when keroncong performers looked for ways to increase their repertoire. They played langgam songs on keroncong instruments with a keroncong-style accompaniment and they also composed new keroncong songs in the 32-bar form. This standardised structural framework was subsequently adopted by composers of new keroncong songs.

Langgam Keroncong songs are usually in Indonesian language and talk of romance or topical issues – early songs reflected and promoted nationalistic sentiments. The melody has its own set lyrics, which is different from a keroncong asli and stambul song where any verse may be sung with any melody.

In AABA form, the song is sung through twice or repeated from B, with an orchestral interlude between verses; the instrumental introduction is played by violin or flute and accompanied by the rhythm section; there are no orchestral interludes between vocal lines. Singers mostly adhere to melody line, so there’s little vocal ornamentation. The harmonic pattern is usually
A    I –  V-
A1  I –  V – I –
B   (I) – IV- I –  II
A    I –  V – I
Examples: Lgm. Bengawan Solo, Lgm. Selendang Sutra,  Lgm. Pahlawan Merdeka, Lgm. Putri Solo, Lgm. Jembatan Merah, Lgm. Di Bawah Sinar Bulan Purnama
The keroncong repertoire expanded greatly throught the development of Langgam Keroncong.


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