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244                  CURIOSITIES OF MUSIC
The songs of Java (as also of other islands in the Malay archipelago) are strongly suggestive of the Scotch popular ballads, and can readily be reproduced in our scale.
It is not customary to sing the written poems, with an instrumental accompaniment unless there is dancing simultaneously. As in Trench poetry and song, many letters, usually mute, are sounded, so in the Javanese much license of pronunciation is allowed in song, which would be condemned in prose. There are some traces of inflection and accent, altering the meaning of a word; thus iiboten" signifies "no," but when the accent is placed on the first syllable, it signifies a haughty or peremptory refusal, but when on the latter, a mild and regretful one.
The Javanese have three styles of musical compositions, the great, medium, and lesser. The latter is used for the popular songs, the former for the higher flights of poetry.
Very often one can hear an old native, on a holiday occasion, singing of the great deeds of the ancient princes; the subjects of his ballads, are often borrowed from the babads, or popular legends of the country, and he accompanies him­self with a species of stringed instrument. He sings of the glories and fall of the kingdom of Pad-jad-jaran, and praises and laments those royal heroes. Many of the love songs of the Malays are written in the form of question and answer, as follows,—

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III