25 feb 2007

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Italian Music: Yesterday and Today

Italian Music
The music of Italy ranges across a broad spectrum of opera and instrumental classical music and a body of popular music drawn from both native and imported sources. Music has traditionally been one of the cultural markers of Italian national and ethnic identity and holds an important position in society and in politics. Italian innovation in musical scales, harmony, notation, and theatre enabled the development of opera in the late 16th century, and much of modern European classical music, such as the symphony and concerto.
Instrumental and vocal classical music is an iconic part of Italian identity, spanning experimental art music and international fusions to symphonic music and opera. Opera is integral to Italian musical culture, and has become a major segment of popular music. The Neapolitan song, canzone Napoletana, and the cantautori singer-songwriter traditions are also popular domestic styles that form an important part of the Italian music industry, alongside imported genres like jazz, rock and hip hop. Italian folk music is an important part of the country's musical heritage, and spans a diverse array of regional styles, instruments and dances.
Italian music has been held up in high esteem in history and many pieces of Italian music is considered high art. More than other elements of Italian culture, Italian music is generally eclectic, but unique from other nations' music. No parochial protectionist movement has ever attempted to keep Italian music pure and free from foreign influence, except briefly under the Fascist regime of the 1920s and 30s. As a result, Italian music has kept elements of the many peoples that have dominated or influenced the country, including French and Spanish.
 The country's historical contributions to music are also an important part of national pride. The relatively recent history of Italy includes the development of an opera tradition that has spread throughout the world; prior to the development of Italian identity or a unified Italian state, the Italian peninsula contributed to important innovations in music including the development of musical notation and Gregorian chant.
Italy has a strong sense of national identity through distinctive culture - a sense of an appreciation of beauty and emotionality, which is strongly evidenced in the music. Cultural, political and social issues are often also expressed through music in Italy. Allegiance to music is integrally woven into the social identity of Italians but no single style has been considered a characteristic "national style". Most folk musics are localized, and unique to a small region or city. Italy's classical legacy, however, is an important point of the country's identity, particularly opera; traditional operatic pieces remain a popular part of music and an integral component of national identity. The musical output of Italy remains characterized by "great diversity and creative independence (with) a rich variety of types of expression". However, there is a sense of a universality in modern music, which is epitomised through the current significant support, especially among youth, of pop/rock artist Emma Marrone and pop/soul artist Alessandra Amoroso, both from Lecce, Salento, southern Italy.

  • With the growing industrialization that accelerated during the 20th and 21st century, Italian society gradually moved from an agricultural base to an urban and industrial center. This change weakened traditional culture in many parts of society; a similar process occurred in other European countries, but unlike them, Italy had no major initiative to preserve traditional musics. Immigration from North Africa, Asia, and other European countries led to further diversification of Italian music. Traditional music came to exist only in small pockets, especially as part of dedicated campaigns to retain local musical identities...
  • Many video examples of italian music: just from many years ago, classic-pop, with the icons Mina and Battisti, Italian rock stars, as Gianna Nannini plays a song of Janis Joplin (1981), 2 videos from traditional music of South-Italy , near Mediterraneo Sea: " Pizzica, called also "Taranta, or Tarantella" an ipnotic and cool dance with a very interesting story; Laura Pausini that plays in espagnol in that time and others... .

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