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Irama Instrumental Keroncong

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Keroncong originated and developed in Java with great Portuguese influence using the ukelele and other stringed instruments. It was brought to Malaysia from Java in the 15th century. One style of keroncong which developed is called ‘langgam jawa’ which uses many of the rhythmic patterns heard typically in gamelan music along with the pelog scale. In this style there is a great amount of gamelan influence. In its original form, it consisted of songs sung with the accompaniment of the Indian sitar, the rebab or bowed chordaphone, the suling or bamboo flute, the gendang, kenong and saron of the gamelan ensemble, and a gong. Today, these instruments are sometimes replaced by the guitar (for sitar), violin (for rebab), modern flute, cello (which takes on the role of the gamelan instruments) and the bass (which substitutes the gong). Modern keroncong groups may even include the accordian and the vibraphone to add extra colour. The vocals however still remain traditional, based mainly on the Javanese pelog or slendro scales. Keroncong style music is also found among the repertoire of nationalistic Malaysian songs, as well as modern day pop-influenced tunes.

Further information provided via e.mail by Azizi bin Kamarudin of Orkes Keroncong Fajar Baru Kajang
Keroncong musicians today is divided into two categories, the Melody Section and the Rhythm Section. The Melody Section commonly consists of violin, flute, Hawaiian guitar and keyboard, though not all these instruments may be present at any one time. Usually it is the violin and flute which are used.

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