List of Macapat songs and their meanings

List of Macapat songs and their meanings – In Javanese culture there is one literary work called the macapat song which is still being preserved today. Although not as popular as before, there are some Javanese people who still use macapat songs in their events. There are 11 lists of macapat songs and their different meanings in each song. So, the macapat song that was delivered was adjusted to the Susana event that was being held. 

If Sinaumed’s is interested in getting to know and learning more about macapat songs, then you must listen to this article. Starting from an explanation of the meaning, types, rules, and history of the 11 lists of macapat songs and their meanings as follows:

Meaning of Macapat Song

Tembang macapat is a Javanese literary work in the form of a traditional Javanese song or poem. Almost similar to Javanese songs in Javanese culture, there are also similar literary works in other areas such as Bali, Sasa, Sundanese and Madura. It has even been found in the culture of Palembang and Banjarmasin in the form of literary works of this regional poetry. 

Macapat songs appeared around the end of the reign of the Majapahit kingdom and began to be spread and popularized by Walisongo when preaching religion. Tembang which is one of the works of ancient Javanese literature during the New Mataram period was usually written using the macapat metrum, namely in the form of prose or gancaran. Alias ​​is not considered as a literary work that stands alone, but is recognized as a table of contents only. 

Examples of Javanese literary works include Serat Wulangreh, Kalatidha, Wedhatama, and so on. Then traditional poetry using Javanese consists of three kinds, namely small songs, middle songs, and big songs. Based on these types of groups, macapat songs are included in the small and medium songs. The types of gedhe songs are usually related to kakawin or ancient Javanese traditional poetry. 

The macapat song has rules which in its application are compared to the kakawin song and also uses Javanese which is easier. Tembang kakawin usually also uses ancient Javanese which is thick with Sanskrit. While the macapat song uses Javanese which does not pay too much attention to long and short syllables. 

List of Macapat songs and their meanings

There are 11 macapat songs, each of which has different rules and meanings in the formation of the gatra teacher, wilangan teacher, and the song teacher. This list of macapat songs has meanings that are inherent in people’s lives, especially the Javanese. The following is a list of 11 macapat songs and their meanings that Sinaumed’s needs to know in order to better understand the stages of life in Javanese culture: 

1. Tembang Maskumambang- Fetus

The maskumambang song is a type of macapat song which has meaning about the journey of human life which is still in the form of a fetus in its mother’s womb. This song shows that there is no identity that indicates that you will be born as a woman or a boy. 

The maskumambang song comes from the word mas which means gold, something very valuable, namely a child who is valuable for his parents and the word kumambang which means mambang or floating. What kumambang means is the life of the child who is still very dependent on his mother in the womb by living in it for 9 months. 

The character and taste or character traits of the maskumambang song are sadness, mercy or compassion, and distress. Usually this song is used for songs that are about a sad mood with the rules of the macapat song being 12i – 6a – 8i – 8o. 

2. Song Mijil – Born

The mijil song has a philosophical meaning which symbolizes the shape of a seed or seeds which are then successfully born into the world. The song macapat mijil symbolizes the beginning of the story of one’s life journey in the world. That person is born very pure and weak so they still need protection. The song Macapat mijil can also mean exit which is related to the word wijil which means mace or door. Lawang can also mean the name of a type of plant that has a fragrant aroma. 

The character and nature of the song Mijil’s taste reflects the openness of someone who is right to give advice, stories, and matters of romance. Tembang Mijil has a structure or rules of 10i – 6o – 10e – 10i – 6i – 6o rules. 

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3. Song Sinom- Muda. Song macapat sinom describes shoots or those that just grow and then blossom. The philosophy of this song macapat sinom is that it means a teenager who is starting to grow up. A teenager is usually looking for his identity and asking about himself, then trying to find a role model for himself. 

The task of a teenager is to study as well as possible for the future. Sinom also has a connection with the word sinoman which means an association of youths to help people who are in need. This sinom is then related to children’s ceremonies in ancient times and can also refer to leaves from young trees.  

The sinom song has a structure or rule which is characterized by having 9 lines with each verse learning songs a, i, a, i, i, u, a, i and a and learning wilang consisting of 8, 8, 8, 8, 7, 8, 7 and 8.

4. Tembang Kinanthi – Guided

The macapat kinanthi song comes from the word kanthi which means to guide who has a philosophy of life namely the life of a child who needs guidance. He needs support from other people so that he can go well in this life. Namely understanding the various kinds of customs and norms that apply and are upheld in the community where he grows up.

Tembang Kinanthi has a character that describes feelings of happiness, exemplary good behavior, advice or tips, and compassion. The structure or rules of the Kinanti tembang rule are 8u, 8i, 8a, 8i, 8a and 8i. 

5. Tembang Asmaradana – Asmara Fire

Asmaradana song comes from the word asmara which means love, so this song has a meaning that tells about someone’s romantic turmoil. In life, humans have feelings and emotions that can be loved and drowned in the ocean of love. The feeling of love is meant not only for humans, but also for the creator, Rasulullah SAW, and the universe. 

The character or character of the Asmaradana song is to describe romance, love, and a sense of sadness or sadness. This song is usually used to express feelings of love, both happiness as hope or sadness because of a broken heart. The structure or rule of the Asmaradana song is 8i – 8a – 8e – 7a – 8a – 8u – 8a. 

6. Gambuh – Agreed Or Suitable

Tembang gambuh is a macapat song which means to connect or connect. Tembang gambuh has meaning to connect and explain the life story of someone who has started to find his idol. The relationship was then able to bring the two together to get married and finally be able to live life together until the end of their lives.

Tembang gambuh has a sense of nature that is usually used for an esthetic atmosphere or without doubt, meaning readiness and courage to go into the real field. In addition, the character or character of tembang gambuh is related to friendship and friendliness which explains the story of human life. Tembang gambuh has a structure or rules of 7u – 10u – 12i – 8u – 8o rules.

7. Song Dhandhanggula – The Sweetness of Life

The song dhandhanggula comes from the word gegadhangan which means aspiration or hope. The word sugar means sweet, beautiful and fun. This song has the meaning of a pair of lovers who get happiness after going through ups and downs together and then reach their goals. The character or character of the dhandhanggula song is happy, flexible, and beautiful so that it is suitable to show kindness, love, and happiness. The structure or rules of this song are 10i – 10a – 8e – 7u – 9i – 7a – 6u – 8a – 12i – 7a.  

8. Tembang Durma- Giving

Derived from the word derma which means to like to give and share sustenance, durma song has the meaning of retreating one’s manners or ethics in life. This song describes the story of a human who has received pleasure from God and is in a state of adequacy that should be grateful and diverse. Tembang durma has a strong character, firm, and full of anger. That is why this song depicts the spirit of war and rebellion. The structure or rule of the ttembang durma rule is 12a – 7i – 6a – 7a – 8i – 5a – 7i. 

9. Pangkur Mine – Withdraw

Derived from the word mungkur which means to go and leave, song pangkur has the meaning as a process of reducing passions and retreating from worldly affairs. This song tells about a human who is entering his old age and it is time for self-introspection from the past and his personality towards God. Tembang Pangkur’s character is strong, mighty, dashing, big-hearted. This song has rules of 8a – 11i – 8u – 7a – 8i – 5a – 7i rules. 

10. Megatruh Mine – Sakaratul Maut

Derived from the word megat roh which means the breaking of the spirit or being separated from the spirit, the song megatruh has the meaning of the human journey that has been completed in the life of the world. This song describes the human condition that will face death. The character of the megatruh song is regret, sadness, and position with the 12u – 8i – 8u – 8i – 8o rules. 

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11. Tembang Pocung – Death

The last list of macapat songs is the pocung song which comes from the word pocong which means someone who is lifeless or has died who is then shrouded or shrouded before being buried. This song illustrates that every soul will lose its life and take its end to death. Even though it means death, Tembang Pocung has a witty or funny character that is used to tell jokes as advice. The structure or rules for this song are 12u – 6a – 8i – 12a. 


This Javanese traditional work has certain rules or structures that characterize the Macapat song. A tembang macapat literary work usually has several stanzas , each of which is subdivided into several either or on. Pupuh is a form of traditional Javanese poetry that has a certain rhyme for each line and a number of syllables. Each pupuh then has the same meter which depends on the character of the text content told in the macapat song. 

So, each stanza in the macapat song has a guru gatra structure which includes a number of wilangan teachers and ends with a song teacher. The following is an explanation of the structure of the macapat song that Sinaumed’s needs to know:

  1. Guru Gatra : The number of lines or arrays of sentences in one stanza of the macapat song
  2. Wilangan teacher : The number of syllables in each line or array of sentences
  3. Teacher Song : The sound of vocals at the end of each poem in each line or array of sentences


The appearance of the macapat song has a historical record, although there is no definite discovery regarding the appearance of the first macapat song. That is why there are many versions of the history of the Macapat song as follows: 

1. Peugeud’s opinion

According to Pegeud, the appearance of the macapat song was at the end of the Majapahit kingdom and since the influence of Walisongo. Peugeud’s opinion only refers to the emergence of macapat songs in Central Java because the history of macapat songs in East Java and Bali is thought to have existed before the arrival of Islam. 

This can be seen from the text entitled Kidung Ranggalawe from Bali and East Java which was written around 1334 AD. The work is known from the most recent version from Bali

2. Opinion of Purbatjaraka and Karseno Saputra

Poerbatjaraka argues that the macapat song first appeared together with Central Javanese poetry. This opinion was later reinforced by Karseno Saputra who said this: 

“The metric pattern used by the macapat song is the same as the metric pattern for the middle song. If the macapat song grows together with the middle song, then it can be estimated that the macapat song has been born among the people who enjoy literary works, at least in 1541 AD “

This estimate is based on the year in the Song of Subrata and Rasa Dadi Jalma, namely 1643 or 1541 AD. In that year, poetry in Old Javanese, Middle Javanese, and New Javanese, such as kakawin, kidung, and the macapat song, has lived and developed. 

3. Zoetmulder Opinion

Zoetmulder believes that the macapat song begins to appear according to the estimated year in the Song of Subrata above. Namely, it appeared around the XVII century where three Javanese languages ​​were used at that time, namely Old Javanese, Middle Javanese and New Javanese. 

4. Tedjohadi Sumarto

According to Tedjo Hadi Sumarmo (1958) in Mbombong manah shows that the macapat song includes 11 matrums created by King Dewa Wisesa (Pramu from Banjarmasin)) in Segaluh 1191 Javanese year or 1279 AD. 

5. Laginem

Referring to Leginem (1996), the macapat song was not only written by one person, but by several saints and nobles as follows: 

  1. Sunan Giri Kedaton
  2. Sunan Giri Prapen
  3. Sunan Bonan
  4. Sunan Gunung Jati
  5. Sunan Mayapada
  6. Sunan Kali Jaga
  7. Sunan Drajat
  8. Sunan Kudus
  9. Sunan Geseng
  10. Sunan Bejagung
  11. Pajang Sultan
  12. Sultan Adi Eru Cakra
  13. Duke of Nata Praja

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So, that’s an explanation of the list of macapat songs and their meanings that Sinaumed’s needs to know about Javanese culture. Does Sinaumed’s still have trouble telling the difference? Each of the macapat songs above has its own meaning which reflects human life, from birth to death. Knowing the meaning of the song macapat can help us better recognize and interpret the philosophy of human life that is very close to us. 

Based on history, the song macapat has indeed become a work of Javanese literature that contains the meaning of advice and is a cultural way of educating its civilization. Talking about Javanese culture is endless and there are many philosophical values ​​in it which are sometimes difficult to define. If Sinaumed’s is interested in getting to know and learning more about the macapat song in Javanese culture, then you can visit sinaumedia’s book collection at . Sinaumed’s will get book references that can be easily studied to get to know Javanese culture more broadly. The following is a recommendation for a sinaumedia book that Sinaumed’s can read to master the macapat song in Javanese culture: Enjoy studying. #Friends Without Limits