Javanese Musical Forms

In Javanese music, the form is determined by the relationship of the colotomic structure and the balungan. Below we have a brief chart that shows some of these relations.

Lancaran: 16 beats to the gong, 4 kenong to the gong, the 1st and 3rd beats of each gatra are occupied by rests, played in irama lancar (fast).


    +   + N   + P + N   + P + N   + P +  N
    . 3 . 5   . 6 . 5   . 6 . 5   . i . (6)

Bubaran: 16 beats to the gong, 4 kenong to the gong, played in irama tanggung (medium-fast).


    +   + N   + P + N   + P + N   + P +  N
    6 5 3 2   6 5 3 2   3 3 2 3   6 5 3 (2)

Note that the forms for the lancaran and the bubaran are the same length; the difference is in the rests and in the tempo at which they are played.

Ketawang: 16 beats to the gong, 2 kenong to the gong, normally played in irama dadi (slow).


    - + -     - + - N   - + - P   - + -  N
    2 2 . .   2 3 2 1   . 3 . 2   . 1 2 (6)

Ladrang: 32 beats to the gong, 4 kenong to the gong, normally played in irama dadi (slow).


    - + -     - + - N   - + - P   - + - N
    2 1 2 6   2 1 2 3   5 3 2 1   3 1 3 2

    - + - P   - + - N   - + - P   - + -  N
    6 3 2 1   3 2 1 6   5 3 2 1   3 2 1 (6)

Gendhing: multi-sectional composition, the sections of which are somewhat more fluid in form than the above examples. There may be 64, 128, or 256 beats to the gong, the gong is normally divided into 4 kenongs, which in turn are divided into 2, 4, or 8 kethuk. Kempuls are not used. Normally played in irama dadi (slow).


	  +                   +         N
    1 2 3 2   . 3 . 2   5 3 2 1   . 2 . 1   x4=gong

Ayak-ayakan: is one of the irregular forms. The number of gatras per gong may vary from piece to piece. The form is used as a processional, and can be played in either irama tanggung (medium-fast) or irama lancar (fast).


    +.+N+.+%   +.+N+.+%
     2 3 2 1    3 2 3 5

Srepegan: is also an irregular form. The number of gatras to the gong may vary. This piece is often a travelling piece, or may accompany a fight scene in the wayang. It is normally played in irama lancar (fast).


    +N+%+N+%   +N+%+N+%
     3 2 3 2    5 3 5 3


Sampak: is another irregular form, often paired with Srepegan. Used to accompany battle scenes, Sampak is always loud and fast (irama lancar).


    NNNNNNNN   NNNNNNNN
    +P+P+P+P   +P+P+P+P
     2 2 2 2    3 3 3 3