This was first posted in March 2013
The Empat is a Malay poetic form related to the Pantoum. It is used in popular song today.
It has four stanza with four lines each where the first line of the first stanza wanders through the others: It is the second line in the second stanza, the third line in the third and the fourth in the fourth stanza. The rhyme wanders with it as well: the first line in the first stanza rhymes with the third. The second line in the second rhymes with the fourth line. The third line in the third rhymes with the first again and the fourth line in the fourth stanza rhymes with the second building a rhyme scheme like this:
A. b. a. b.
c. A. c. a.
a. d. A. d.
a. e. A.
(info taken from The Poets Garret)
In modern day it has changed and The Poets Garret says about it:
“Ideally the Empat should have the same rhyme scheme with every stanza (Abab,
bAba, etc) when singing folk type music; but because of English and (later)
American influences the rhyme moved to couplets alone (Aabb. aAcc,etc),(Abab,
cAcb, etc), (Abba, cAac, etc) and now in modern music there is no rhyme scheme
and only the Repeating Line remains (Axyz, dAfg etc). ”
More information about the empat: