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International Music Resources by Country: Italy

International Music Resources offers an array of online and physical resources both freely available and/or offered by the George F. DeVine Music Library. The information included in these guides may serve as a starting point for the study and research of

Florence, Italy

 Citation (1)

Map of Italy

Map of Italy

Citation (3)


Italian Music

Folk Music from Italy Album Art

Mandolins From Italy: 24 Most Popular Melodies Album Art

Garland Encyclopedia of World Music-Italy

Garland Encyclopedia of World Music Cover Art

Facts in Brief

Flag of Italy


Capital: Rome

Official Language: Italian

Current Population: 59,257,566

Area: 301,336

Climate: The climate is temperate in the north and Mediterranean in the south, with mild winters and long, dry summers. The average temperature in Rome is 7.9°C (46°F) in January and 24.9°C (77°F) in July.

Main Religion: Roman Catholic

Citation (2)

Traditional Italian Music

General Features

Oral musical traditions were first studied in Italy in the 19th century. It goes without saying that while the research was being undertaken, profound changes in musical life were taking place in tandem with fundamental changes in the country’s social and economic conditions. Many traditional music practices became obsolete, entire repertories fell into disuse, and where music was preserved, it was often associated with the shoring up of cultural identity in individual communities and the need to hold on to alternatives to mass-produced music. Unlike other European countries, Italy saw the appearance of no broad initiatives, either in the mass media or under state auspices, to promote oral musical traditions, nor is there any folk music genre or idiom that is felt to express national identity. The musical picture is one of great diversity and creative independence; there is a rich variety of types of expression, which generally highlight specific regional quality. 

Narrative Singing

Several principal narrative repertories can be identified: the ballad in the oral tradition, traditionally a major presence in the north, becoming increasingly rare towards the south; the broadside ballad (found in the north and centre); the narrative song in ottava rima (in central Italy; and the southern storia. Some types of religious songs, like the orazioni and Sicilian orbi songs, are also narrative pieces. In Italy ballads have been documented as an essentially female repertory, and the very circulation of ballads and creation of variants can be linked to the mobility of women under the virilocal system found in the north...Ballads can thus be considered the product of a totally female way of representing and interpreting reality, expressing women's perceptions of themselves and how they relate to the world.  As well as this repertory, linked to collective performing practice, there are also ballads that are clearly monodic, often based on a minor scale, or, in rare cases, on a different mode. 

Music in Ritual

Of the principal life-cycle events, birth is not connected in Italy to any specific musical repertory, but marriage was often accompanied by songs and music for the bridal pair. Among the different traditions is the sonata per la sposa performed in the pastoral communities of Alta Sabina. This includes three pieces played on the ciaramella (here a bagpipe with two chanters and no drone): the piagnereccia, played while waiting for the bride outside her father's house, and expressing in music the bride's grief at leaving her family, the camminareccia, which accompanies the bride's journey to the church, and the crellareccia, a dance performed by the newly-weds as they leave the church. Music plays an important role in a large number of rites that may be either religious or seasonal, or both, varying by region.

Read more about Italian music on Grove Online

Citation (4)

Composer Highlight: Antonio Vivaldi

Painting of Antonio Vivaldi

Antonio Vivaldi


Venice, 4 March 1678; Vienna, 27/8 July 1741

Italian composer. The most original and influential Italian composer of his generation, he laid the foundations for the mature Baroque concerto. His contributions to musical style, violin technique, and the practice of orchestration were substantial, and he was a pioneer of orchestral programme music.

    Four Violin Concertos - Vivaldi


(1):  "Florence panorama" by "Ghost of Kuji

(2): Location, Climate, Language, Religion, Flag, Capital (Italy), in Europa World online. London, Routledge. University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Retrieved 07 December 2021 from

(3): Country Map (Italy), in Europa World online. London, Routledge. University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Retrieved 07 December 2021 from

(4): Magrini, T., Pirrotta, N., Petrobelli, P., Rostagno, A., Pestelli, G., Waterhouse, J., & Pozzi, R.  Italy. Grove Music Online. Retrieved 14 Dec. 2021, from