Source: Tropenmuseum of the Royal Tropical Institute


Krontjong Toegoe in Tugu Village: Generic Form of Indonesian Keroncong Music
By Vitor Ganap

Keroncong music today has been considered as one of the Indonesian musical mainstreams, but the historical background of how the music emerged remains a mystery. The only keroncong known from the past is Krontjong Toegoe, developed in Tugu village since the seventeenth century as a hybrid genre of Portuguese sojourn. This article aims to discuss the musical style of Krontjong Toegoe and the origin of its supporting community in Tugu village north of Jakarta. While Krontjong Toegoe is still alive up to now, its historical relationships to the sixteenth century Portuguese music and to the Indonesian keroncong music today are of important and interesting discourse.

So far there were very few articles on keroncong music that have been written by musicologists, and this article opens the discussion by quoting their opinions, which are of important points in reviewing the position and legitimacy of keroncong music. In the following discourse, Australian musicologist Bronia Kornhauser was among few scholars who have visited and conducted field research in Tugu village (kampung) in 1973. Her essay entitled In Defence of Kroncong has been an important source and widely quoted in today
keroncong publications. After her visit to the village, she admitted that Krontjong Toegoe played by the Tugu musicians which lasted for more than three centuries have been an important evidence to the investigation on Portuguese musical legacy in Indonesia.

Tugu holds a unique place in the history of kroncong. It is living proof of the Portugis-Indonesian heritage of this music. By all accounts, Tugu is also the place where kroncong originated in Java. To the best of our knowledge, it has been played in this kampung for the past 315 years and in the major cities of the island for at least a century. (Kornhauser 1978:176)

In conformity with Bronia, American musicologist Judith Becker also confirmed in her 1976 Asian Music article that the Indonesian keroncong music came from Portugal.

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