Italy Folk Music

As it usually happens, even in terms of music, wherever the movement of the new times has impressed and imprints more widespread and profound traces, so also in Italy, the old uses gradually fading away, the framework of tradition is resurrecting (thanks especially to G. Fara and F. Balilla Pratella) in publications showing the musical forms of popular song. No nation like Italy offers so much profusion of singing: “In Italy, music is a customary thing; we sing from the cradle onwards, we sing all day and everywhere ”(Raguenet). But what foreigners felt in the Baroque period, when Italian music was spreading, predominantly, in Europe, can probably refer to any time. Speaking, Italians always make the characteristic accent of real tones felt. clear, sonorous, and due to the fact that the words end in vowels softening the pronunciation, making the language sonorous and colorful. The melody of the speech (color, cadential harmony, phonetic expressiveness) keeps the staff from singing. “The sound itself is the ether of the verse”, Carducci said. The extemporaneous poets dissolve the declamation in song: “This goes into song: in discourse it cannot be said”. The common speech of the Tuscan peasants is already the first stage of its genesis: spoken-declaimed-sung.

Due to the awakening of popular traditions, the collections published from the end of the nineteenth century to the present day do not seem, all together, to be the result of a coordinated, rational and scientific method (and, therefore, some tend towards vulgarization rather than study and document ); while in the meantime they signify a reaction to past absenteeism in the field of ethnic studies, on the whole they already give a first outline to the knowledge of Italian folk song. Evidently the modern Neapolitan song, which is a generally sentimental motif, composed of occasion and, for example, the Tuscan recreations of Gordigiani (which are also in a popular tone) do not represent the ethnic character of the Italian people. The Neapolitan song that we find in some collections echoes, for the most part, the air of the comic opera or merges with Piedigrotta: it is a popular opera composition, in which it is not possible to perceive the characters of the ethnic song; and this probably disappeared, or almost, with the emergence and affirmation of the two aforementioned forms. However, there are also in Campania examples of true popular song, unfolding, as usual, between tonic and dominant, which fall within the general framework.

The simplest form of the song resides in children’s songs: however, they circulate, in most cases, in different countries and regions with slight differences (see below).

The Piedmontese  Paisan puts down the shovel , similar to children’s games, he is also found outside Italy, modeled on the rhythmic basis of the verses of the text. The Tuscan Anellino  , among the stornelli, is the most melancholic; consisting of a simple arpeggio in a minor way, it alternates on the two main chords of the tone (tonic and dominant), with a rhythmic apposition at the end of each line. The Istrian stornello  Fiuri de reiso! , proceeding instead by joint degrees (while the Roman  Lassatece passà , having some arpeggio, stands as a structure between the Tuscan and the Istrian), it appears more airy and free of rhythm and allows the voice to expand with greater emphasis. The Abruzzese then,  You in your bed to have sweet dreams…, Characteristic for that break from a short anacrusis to a held note, is the true full-throated song, typical of the mountain. All these stornelli, in their different drafting, constitute an important nucleus and attest to the fervent expressiveness of Italian popular song. In  the Lombard Woman  (in which the legend of Rosmunda is meant to be echoed, which still retains echoes and characters of ancient characters, with all its poetic variants) the song of the different regional versions is agreed, and in it a type is clearly revealed ethnic folk song indigenous. Here is the Romagna version, which is perhaps the most representative:

The other versions always agree in the conclusion:

According to USPRIVATESCHOOLSFINDER, the progress of the lullabies, stretching out in a restful rhythm, often adhering to the words, is pruned of the oddities and extreme notes, so that the expressive efficacy achieves the purpose. The music of motherhood resonates with universal and local characteristics at the same time, and has great poetic and musical value. Sleep Nicola meu  is a Calabrian cradle song, unfolding in the context of a fifth, of a tired and yet poignant sweetness. On the other hand, the lullaby of the Salernitano  Suonno suonno vien’a horseback , which ranges in the interval of a ninth, sung with the creature in his arms and accompanied by the rhythm of the chair, expresses a sense of serene and restful melancholy. A very simple example of these songs can be seen in  lullaby sarda  Dormi filla cara : here the smallness of the vocal range corresponds to a moving depth of feeling. Other forms can be added to the aforementioned forms: serenades, hymns, lauds (particularly interesting, for its beautiful melodic line, that of Caltanissetta  Passa Maria di  ‘ na strata nova), the passions of Jesus Christ of Palermo, similar to the lauds (this one which follows begins with the words of the liturgical text, and its choral movement is truly solemn, interrupted by cadences over a crowned rest), popular motets and the like. When singing in chorus the voices come together especially in unison in the choruses, with some passages of thirds and episodes of counterpoint, responses, echoes; whereas a more often polyphonic practice is found in the Sardinian tradition.

Among the dances, the tarantella, which with its 6/8 rhythm  circulates through  the various regions with another name and similar characteristics, the Valdostan badosce, the Venetian, Lombard, Tuscan and Romagna trescone, sung (or whistled ) and danced, the monfrina (or monferrina) and the biscuit of the Val di Serchio, the quadrille, the Ligurian dance of Biassa, the moresca, the saltarello of the province of Rome and, among others, the dance of  the Roman Laccio d’amore . The most used instruments are the violin, guitars, accordions, ocarina, bagpipes, fifes, reed flutes, harp, tambourines, castanets, etc.

The creators and actors also participate in the shows, as the theater of the Tuscan and Emilian countryside still attests, the  Bruscello  (v.) And the  Maggio  (v.). Also worth mentioning are the street cries of street vendors, which sometimes constitute real themes, as in Ex. following of the Florentine strawberry:

Going back in history we also find popular song in ancient polyphony (see music: Popular music), and sometimes we connect it to the sources of religious songs, and in Greek ways.

This ancient Venetian chant, in fact, is marked in the low tetrachord of the Doric mode, while the call of the Florentine mat seller, reproduced here, may recall the chants of the church.

Among the songs of the trenches, in the Italian-Austrian war, the  Testament of the captain  (or  marshal ) is remarkable for its virile character in the text and in the music; however, in general, they were influenced by popular regional songs and, to a lesser degree, by the more distant but not dormant songs of the Risorgimento.

In folklore the Italian people therefore effectively realize their natural lyrical imagination, bringing their sense of harmony to song and maintaining their own virtue of balance.

Italy Folk Music

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