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Music of Sardinia

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Music of Sardinia

Music of Italy
General topics
Media and performance
Music awards
Music charts
Music festivals
Music media Music media in Italy
Nationalistic and patriotic songs
National anthem "Il Canto degli Italiani"
Regional music

Sardinia is probably the most culturally distinct of all the regions in Italy and, musically, is best known for the tenore polyphonic chant, sacred songs called gosos, the launeddas, an ancient instrument that consists of a set of three single-reed pipes, all three mouth-blown simultaneously using circular breathing, with two chanters and one drone and the cantu a chiterra, a monodic song that is accompanied by guitar, widespread mainly in the center and north of the island.


  • Launeddas 1
  • Cantu a chiterra 2
  • Cantu a tenore (Polyphonic singing) 3
  • Other traditional singing, dance and music 4
  • Musical and theatrical facilities 5
  • Hymns and Anthems 6
  • Bibliography 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


Different types of Launeddas

The launeddas is an ancient instrument, dating back to at least the 8th century BC. It is played using circular breathing. Launeddas are used to play a complex style of music that has achieved some international attention, and they are still played during religious ceremonies and dances (su ballu). Some of the most famous player were Efisio Melis, Antonio Lara, Dionigi Burranca and Luigi Lai. Many of the launeddas musicians are from the south of the island from villages like Villaputzu, San Vito and Muravera in the subregion named Sarrabus, or from Samatzai and even from Cabras near Oristano and Ovodda near Nuoro. Distinctively, they are played using extensive variations on a few melodic phrases and, because of the technique of circular breathing, a single song can last over an hour.

Cantu a chiterra

Traditional singing accompanied by guitar cantu a chiterra is also found in Sardinia, represented by performers like Luiginu Cossu, Maria Carta, and nowadays Francesco Demuro; this genre is especially well known in the northwest region of Logudoro near the city of Sassari and in the northeast region of Gallura.

Cantu a tenore (Polyphonic singing)

Rural polyphonic chanting known as cantu a tenore is sung with four vocal parts. They are bassu (bass), mesa boghe (middle), contra (counter) and boghe (leader and soloist). The most popular group is Tenores di Bitti; another one is Tenores de Oniferi. In November 2005, the A Tenore vocal style of the Sardinian pastoral culture was proclaimed a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

Other traditional singing, dance and music

Sacred gozos (in the Sardinian language gosos), or sacred songs, can be heard during religious celebrations, sung by choruses like Su Cuncordu 'e su Rosariu.

Traditional dances include ballu tundu, passu torrau, durdurinu, dillu, logudoresa, arroxiada, passu e trese, and campidanesa

Aside from the launeddas, traditional instruments include the benas, the chiterra, and the tamburrinos.

Other influential Sardinian musicians include Efisio Melis, Maria Carta, Mauro Palmas, Elena Ledda of Sonos and Suonofficina, Cordas et Cannas, Antonello Salis piano, Paolo Fresu (trumpet) and Gesuino Deiana (guitar).

Musical and theatrical facilities

The modern Teatro Comunale of Cagliari is home to the permanent Choir and Orchestra of the Opera and Concert Association of Cagliari and seat of the Cagliari Opera Foundation. As well, there is a Roman amphitheater in Cagliari that is used for outdoor summer concerts and festivals. The city is the site of the Palestrina music conservatory.

The town of Tadasuni is the site of the interesting Giovanni Dore museum, a collection of 400 traditional Sardinian folk instruments. The Ente Musicale di Nuoro was founded in 1987 and, among other activities, sponsors the annual Nuoro Jazz Festival directed by trumpeter Paolo Fresu. Sassari is the site of the Luigi Canepa Music Conservatory, the Teatro Politeama Verdi, built in 1884; and the Civic Theatre (1827).

Hymns and Anthems

Su patriottu sardu a sos feudatarios[1] ("The Sardinian Patriot to the Lords"[2]), also known as Procurad'e moderare, barones, sa tirannia ("O barons! Make sure you temper [your] tyranny"), is the revolutionary anthem written in Sardinian by Francesco Ignazio Mannu during the revolt occurred in 1794 all over the island against the feudalism, which culminated in the expulsion of the Piedmontese tyrants: the hymn had been traslated in English by John Warre Tyndale in 1849, in French by A. Boullier in 1864 and in German by B. Schütze in 1979.

S'hymnu sardu nationale ("The Sardinian National Anthem") was the anthem of the Savoyard Kingdom of Sardinia (later to become the Kingdom of Italy); it was written in Sardinian language by Vittorio Angius in 1842. It was replaced by the Marcia Reale (Royal March of Ordinance) in 1861.

Dimonios (Demons) is the official hymn of the Sassari Mechanized Brigade, written in Logudorese Sardinian.


  • Diego Carpitella - Leonardo Sole - Pietro Sassu, La musica sarda , I-III (“Documenti originali del folklore europeo”), Albatros VPA 8150-52, Milano, 1973.
  • Gerolama Carta Mantiglia - Antonio Tavera, Il ballo sardo: storia, identità e tradizione , Taranta, Firenze, 1999.
  • (Italian)Gavino Gabriel, Canti di Sardegna , Italica Ars, Milano, 1923.
  • (Italian) Paolo Mercurio, Dialogo del Canto a Tenore, de tenore cantu ,Solinas, Nuoro, 2001.
  • (Italian)Francesco Giannattasio - Bernard Lortat-Jacob, Modalità di improvvisazione nella musica sarda , «Culture musicali» 1: 3-36, 1982.
  • (Italian)Manuela Gualerzi, Discografia della musica popolare sarda a 78 rpm (1922-1959) , «Culture musicali» 2: 167-192, 1982.
  • (French)Bernard Lortat-Jacob, Improvisation et modèle: le chant a guitare sarde , in «L'Homme», XXIV, 1, 1984.
  • (French) Bernard Lortat-Jacob, En accord. Polyphonies de Sardaigne: quatre voix qui n'en font qu'une , in «Cahiers de musique traditionnelles», VI, 69-86, 1993.
  • Andreas Fridolin Weis Bentzon, The launeddas. A Sardinian folk-music instrument , 2 voll. Akademisk Forlag, Copenhagen, 1969
  • Paul Vernon, Ethnic and Vernacular Music, 1898 - 1960; A resource and guide to recordings , Greenwood Press Westport, CT- London, 1995 .
  • Marco Lutzu, Francesco Casu, Enciclopedia multimediale della musica sarda, 16 volumes, 9 DVD e 7 CD, Unione Sarda , Cagliari, 2012-2013

See also


  1. ^ Anti-war songs - Su patriottu Sardu a sos feudatarios (includes English translation)
  2. ^ Su patriotu sardu a sos feudatarios - Uniss
  • A. F. W. Bentzon, The Launeddas. A Sardinian folk music instrument (2 voll. Acta Musicologica Danica n°1), Akademisk Forlag, Copenhagen, 1969
  • A. F. W. Bentzon, Launeddas, Cagliari, 2002 ISBN 88-88998-00-4
  • Surian, Alessio. "Tenores and Tarantellas". 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East, pp. 189 – 201
  • Paolo Mercurio, La Cultura delle Launeddas, vol. I, Solinas Edizioni, Nuoro, 2010
  • Guide Cultura, i luoghi della music (2003), ed. Touring Club Italiano.
  • Paolo Mercurio, Introduzione alla Musica Sarda,Milano, 2014,ISBN 978-88-6885-013-5

External links

  • BBC Radio 3 Audio (105 minutes): Corsica and Sardinia. Accessed November 25, 2010.
  • Tenores di Bitti
  • Cagliari music conservatory
  • G.Dore instrument museum in Tadasuni
  • Concerts today in Sardinia
  • Sassari music conservatory
  • Buy Sardinian Music
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