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Tembang Jawa

Jam pitu mlebu sekolah
kaya ngene, wajibe dadi murid
wira-wiri saben esuk
menyang ing pamulangan
durung uwis manawa ta durung lulus
lulus saka pandhadharan
amarga mandheg margi

That was a Javanese tembang (traditional song) taught by my teacher when I was in elementary school. It was pretty hard to translate it literally in English, so I guess I will try to interpret it. It is about a "struggle" of being a student. You go to school every morning and start studying at 7 am. You have to deal with some trials (exams) and if you fail you will struggle even harder. (This is a crappy interpretation, haha)

There are many kinds of Javanese tembang, such as Pangkur, Gambuh, Dhandhanggula, and many more. I think the tembang I cited above is called Pangkur, but I'm not sure. I don’t remember the rules like guru lagu, guru wilangan, etc. I remember another tembang, and this one is called Gambuh (I'm pretty sure with that):

Sekar gambuh ping catur
kang cinatur
polah kang kalantur
tanpa tutur
katula-tula katali
kadaluwarsa katutuh
kapatuh pan dadi awon

I like that tembang, but too bad I don't know what that means. It is such a shame that as a Javanese person I don’t know the meaning of that tembang. I believe it is philosophical. As far as I remember my teacher didn’t tell us the meaning, he just taught us how to sing it. At least, though, in my opinion, that is better than not knowing anything about my own culture. I'm glad I still know those tembangs, though very little.

I don’t know if teachers still teach how to sing Javanese tembang now. Schools (elementary to high schools) have Javanese language as a subject, but I doubt they teach tembang. It is elderly Javanese who are able to sing such tembangs. Younger generation seems to enjoy modern music. I myself like listening American/western music too, although some are degenerating, haha. What about you?


  1. Anonymous said...
    b jawa?dahulu benci karena susah sekarang menyesal g bisa krn b jawa banyak filosofinya
    ninaz said...
    haha, kata orang "it's never late to learn"..masih banyak kesempatan kok..

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