A Study on Keroncong Cello and Collaboration With Composers to Compose New Music for/inspired by Keroncong Cello 

 

 

PROLOGUE

 

Hello! This is the casual site about my master research in Koninklijk Conservatorium Den Haag for the study period 2017/2018 - 2018/2019. This site is aimed to write my personal reports, remarks and notes in a casual style. Off we go! In this conservatory, we (master students) must make a research in order to graduate this education. The research is more to practice-based research that correlates our daily major activity as a musician. In my case, I decided since the first year of my study to write about a study of keroncong cello. This is one of Indonesian folk music instrument that is played for the genre keroncong. Ok, for you who is not used to this music, let's have a quick listen to some sample of it. 

 

 

 

 

At first glance, I thought of going to study the instrument and then to apply the technique to modern Western cello pizzicato (plucking) technique. But I realize if I choose this track, it will take more than two years to complete the book. Then I decided to take few steps back - I decided to study the instrument, give presentation to composers in Den Haag and ask them to collaborate to write a new piece of music based on the keroncong cello technique or for keroncong cello instrument. In summer 2018, I got the chance to go back to Yogyakarta and use the time to interview some keroncong music experts in Yogyakarta including keroncong cello players. And below is a YouTube video of keroncong cello and a bit of how musicians played it.

 

I collaborated with two composers in The Netherlands. They are Patrick Ellis, from England and Kanako Abe from Japan. Both of them will write new piece for the instrument or for modern Western cello inspired by keroncong cello technique. Their composition will be premiered by me soon during my final master recital. Through this process also, I record all our journey, discoveries and impossibilities. In the first few months of my second year master, I organized a workshop in my school explaining the instrument to these two composers and other composers who are interested to listen and know about the instrument. Here is the video recording on it:

 

 

 

With Patrick Ellis we've been till executing his draft ideas and sketches. I found it surprising and exciting because he decided to write for keroncong cello and it will be bowed. We tried it and we found so many possibilities of sounds from this instrument if it is being bowed. Here is the full recording of our tryout session: