Treasury of Italian Folk Music & Song

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Treasury of Italian Folk Music & Song – A blog about traditional Italian folk music and song.


Italian folk music has a rich and varied history. Its influences span the globe, from the music of ancient Rome to the Italian immigrant communities of North and South America. The country’s folk traditions are as diverse as its landscape, with regional variations in both musical style and instrumentation.

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in Italian folk music, both among performers and listeners. This book is designed to introduce readers to the wealth of folk music and song that can be found in Italy. It includes both traditional songs and tunes, as well as more modern pieces that have been influenced by Italian folk traditions.

The book is divided into two sections: one devoted to music, and one devoted to song. Each section includes a brief introduction to the material it contains, as well as background information on the regions and cultural groups from which the pieces come. In addition, there is a glossary of musical terms, a bibliography of suggested readings, and an index of titles and first lines.

Whether you are an experienced musician or someone who just loves to sing along with your favorite songs, this book will provide you with hours of enjoyment. So grab your instrument (or your voice) and let’s get started!

What Is Folk Music?

Folk music is the music of the people. It is handed down from one generation to another, and it changes as the times change. It is usually the music of a particular country or region, and it often has words that tell a story.

Folk music has been around for a long time. Some folk songs are more than two thousand years old! But not all folk songs are old. Some folk songs are brand-new.

People have always sung folk songs. They sing them when they are happy and when they are sad. They sing them at work and at play. They sing them to their children and to their friends.

Nowadays, people all over the world enjoy listening to folk music. They go to folk festivals and buy folk records and CDs. But most of all, they like to sing folk songs themselves. Folk songs bring people together. And that is what they have always been meant to do.

The Origins of Italian Folk Music

Italian Folk music has a long and storied history, rooted in the music and culture of the ancient Romans. Roman folk music was highly influential in the development of Italian folk music, as it was throughout Europe. Roman folk music was a mix of dance tunes, work songs, love songs and religious hymns. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Italy was overrun by a succession of invaders, including the Ostrogoths, Lombards, Franks and Muslims. Each of these groups left their mark on Italian folk music.

The Ostrogoths brought with them a love of singing and a passion for dance. The Lombards were known for their Instrumental music, while the Franks brought a more subdued style of singing. The Muslims, who ruled Italy for over 200 years, had a profound influence on Italian folk music, particularly in the southern regions of the country. Islamic music introduced Arabian and Persian scales and rhythms to Italy, which would have a lasting impact on Italian folk music.

During the Renaissance, Italian folk music underwent something of a revival. This was due in part to the rediscovery of ancient Roman texts that contained references to popular songs and dances. Renaissance composers began to incorporate elements of Italian folk music into their own works, resulting in a new genre known as the madrigal. The madrigal would go on to become one of the most popular forms of Renaissance vocal music.

In the modern era, Italian Folk music has undergone something of a renaissance of its own. With the rise of traditionalism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there was a renewed interest in Folk music from all over Europe. This led to a rediscovery of Italian Folk traditions and a new wave of musicians dedicated to preserving and performing these musical treasures.

The Characteristics of Italian Folk Music

Italian folk music has a number of distinctive features. One is the great variety of music styles, from the traditional music of the north to the more “southern” sounding music of the south. Another is the use of instruments such as the accordion, zither and mandolin, which are not commonly found in other European folk traditions.

In general, Italian folk music is lively and upbeat, with a strong focus on melody. The songs often tell stories, usually about love or other personal emotions. Many of the songs are able to evoke a strong sense of place, with some evoking specifically Italian landscapes and others more general Mediterranean scenes.

One of the most distinctive features of Italian folk music is its use of vocal techniques such as vibrato and trills. These techniques add a lot of expressiveness to the singing, and help to create a strong sense of connection between singer and audience.

The Instruments of Italian Folk Music

The instruments of Italian folk music are as varied as the regions they come from. Here is a brief guide to some of the most popular:

-The accordion is a portable, free-reed musical instrument, played by pressing buttons or keys on either side of the instrument. It is commonly used in folk music in Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay.

-The cimbalom is a large stringed instrument of the dulcimer family with a keyboard. It is commonly used in folk music in Italy, Hungary, Romania and Ukraine.

-The fiddle is a bowed string musical instrument made from wood or metal. It is commonly used in folk music in Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, North America and Scandinavia.

-The bagpipes are a wind instrument consisting of one or more air-filled bags with one or more attached pipes. They are commonly used in folk music in Scotland and Ireland.

-The flute is a musical instrument that produces sound when blown into by an musician. It is commonly used in folk music in Europe and North America.

The Styles of Italian Folk Music

Folk music is the music of the people, and every country has its own folk traditions. In Italy, folk music is an important part of the musical heritage, with a wide variety of regional styles that have been passed down over the centuries.

The most important type of Italian folk music is the cantata, a form of song often accompanied by instruments. Cantatas can be solo or group performances, and they often tell stories or express emotions. Another popular type of Italian folk music is the ballad, which is similar to the cantata but typically shorter and less complex. Ballads are often love songs, and they are often used to teach moral lessons.

Instrumental folk music is also an important part of Italy’s musical tradition. Folk instruments include the accordion, mandolin, zampogna (a type of bagpipe), organetto (a small hand-held organ), and tamburello (a handheld drum). This type of music is often used for dancing, and it can be either fast-paced or slow and relaxed.

Italian folk music has been influenced by a number of different cultures over the years, including French, Spanish, and Germanic traditions. Today, it remains an important part of the country’s musical landscape.

The Lyrics of Italian Folk Music

The lyrics of Italian folk music are often profound, sometimes earthy, and always deeply felt. They are the expressions of the soul of a people who have been through centuries of upheaval, from foreign invasions to economic hardship. The songs offer a window into the lives and feelings of everyday Italians, and they are an important part of the country’s cultural heritage.

Many of the lyrics have been handed down through the generations, with new verses added to reflect current events or changes in society. Some songs are about love, others about loss, and many capture the spirit of Italian regional pride. The Treasury of Italian Folk Music & Song is a collection of over 500 traditional songs from all over Italy, with lyrics in both Italian and English. It is an essential resource for anyone interested in learning more about this rich and vibrant musical tradition.

The History of Italian Folk Music

The history of Italian folk music is a long and complex one, spanning many centuries and encompassing a wide range of influences. Early folk music in Italy was heavily influenced by the music of the Roman Catholic Church, as well as Byzantine, Arabic, and Hebrew musical traditions. By the Middle Ages, Italian folk music had undergone a significant transformation, taking on characteristics of the music of northern Europe. By the Renaissance, Italian folk music had once again begun to change, this time becoming more refined and ushering in a new era of folk music in Italy.

In the modern day, Italian folk music is still very much alive and continues to evolve. While some traditions have been lost over time, others have been kept alive by passionate musicians who continue to perform and record this unique type of music.

The Future of Italian Folk Music

With the ever-changing global landscape, it is difficult to predict the future of Italian folk music. However, there are a few things that we can be sure of. Firstly, traditional folk music will always have a place in the heart of Italian people. No matter how far away from their homeland they might be, they will always remember and cherish the songs of their ancestors. Secondly, due to the increased popularity of world music festivals, there will continue to be a demand for folk musicians who can provide an authentic experience. Finally, as more and more young people become interested in their cultural heritage, we can expect to see a resurgence in the popularity of traditional folk music.

Similar Posts