Still on tembang

Yesterday, I received a photocopy of the book that Ibu Suyami has. Here’s the photo


We could call this a mini dictionary of tembang macapat.
I tried reading it and deciphering it, but I was stuck at gurulagu of tembang. I don’t see how the rhyme pattern is. So, today I came for consultation again at Balai Pelestarian Nilai Budaya Yogyakarta. Ibu Titi Mumfangati was there to explain this and that about the book.

First, she explained the usual usage of each type of tembang.
1. Dhandhanggulo is for teaching purposes
2. Asmaradana is for falling in love, or any love matters
3. Pangkur is for quarrel, or any disagreement
4. Sinom is for teaching, but specially directed to youth, because sinom in itself means young leaf.
5. Gambuh is for sadness
6. Mijil is to start something, for birth, for the beginning of something, since mijil in itself means being born
7. Kinanti is for teaching
8. Pucung is for riddles
9. Durmo is for disagreement
10. Maskumambhang is for sad episode
11. Megatruh is for death, or sadness, since ‘megat’ means to call, and ‘ruh’ is soul.

For gurugothro of tembang, is very easy to identify. Just count how many verses present in the tembang.
For guruwondo/gurusastro, just count how many syllables in each line of the verse.
For gurulagu, I had difficulties in identifying them, because it seems that everything is different, no rhymes of pattern from each type of tembang.

Let’s take one example. Below is two asmaradana songs. By right, they should have same fixed rhymes.

Sekar Asmaradana, Notasi:lagu maes.
Ri se dhe ngi ra sang brang ti -8syllables
Na ren dra mer di mring pu tra -8
Pa nge ran di pa ti a nem -8
Ing kang ra ma a ngan di ka -8
Ki di pa ti re nge na -7
Nggon i ra ka ma den a tut -8
Lan ri ni ra ka pu ge ran -8
Total 7 verses

Sekar Asmaradana, Notasi:Jaka Lola
Sa ma dyan a keh a ka ki -8syllables
Nya wa wong a tu wa ni ra -8
I ya a mung si ji ku we -8
A dhi mas pu ger di pa tya -8
Ang ge pen ka ya ing wang -7
Pa man nu wra ha na na mu -8
Ma ha wi ka tur wi di bya -8
Total 7 verses

Now, as we see, it’s very easy to identify the number of verses and syllables. Asmaradana has 7 verses, with a combination of 8-8-8-8-7-8-8 syllables.
Where is the rhyme? If we based this rhyme upon english poems or even pantun, we will say that Asmaradana has a-b-c-d-e-f rhyme. But it is not. The rhyme is even more specific. Ibu Titi explained that the rhyme means the vocal alphabet in the end of each line.
Let’s look at Notasi Lagu Maes above. The endings of each line is this combination: ti-tra-nem-ka-na-tut-ran
Now look at Joko Lola above. The endings of each line is as such: ki-ra-we-tya-wang-mu-bya
Since the rhyme lies in the vocal alphabets, the rhyme of Asmaradana has to always be: i-a-e-a-a-u-a
That is how you identify the rhymes.

Now let’s go to the tune, the musical notes for the tembang.
I thought each type of tembang has fixed tune as well, but no. Lagu Maes and Joko Lola above have totally different tunes. Turns out, the tunes for the tembang is just like how Justin Bieber’s ‘baby’ differs from Majulah Singapura.
Let’s say, I use gurugothro, gurusastro and gurulagu of Asmaradana but put my own words into it, it is totally possible. Now if I use Lagu Maes notes to sing my newly written tembang, it will be written as such: Sekar Asmaradana, Notasi: Lagu Maes, lyrics:(insert newly written tembang). If i compose a new tune, i can put a title to the tune, such as Agnes Christina, and the tembang will be written as such: Sekar Asmaradana, Notasi:Agnes Christina, lyrics:(insert newly written tembang).

If this still confuses you, I have a good example.
You sure know that the song ‘terang bulan’ and ‘negaraku'(Malaysia’s national anthem) have the same tune, and Terang Bulan was released first.
In tembang case, this is totally fine. You could put Negaraku as ‘Notasi:terang bulan, lyrics:(insert negaraku lyrics)’

I hope that enlightens us a bit about tembang. Now give me a bit of time, and I’ll post the details of each tembang.


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