Thursday, August 30, 2018

Carpe Diem #1509 Back to were we started ... Italy

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

We started our journey around the world on a quest for folkmusic in Italy and to make the circle complete (or closed) like a renga we will end our journey in Italy.

Italian folk music has a deep and complex history. Because national unification came late to the Italian peninsula, the traditional music of its many hundreds of cultures exhibit no homogeneous national character. Rather, each region and community possesses a unique musical tradition that reflects the history, language, and ethnic composition of that particular locale. These traditions reflect Italy's geographic position in southern Europe and in the centre of the Mediterranean; Celtic, Roma, and Slavic influences, as well as rough geography and the historic dominance of small city states, have all combined to allow diverse musical styles to coexist in close proximity.

Italian folk styles are very diverse, and include monophonic, polyphonic, and responsorial song, choral, instrumental and vocal music, and other styles. Choral singing and polyphonic song forms are primarily found in northern Italy, while south of Naples, solo singing is more common, and groups usually use unison singing in two or three parts carried by a single performer. Northern ballad-singing is syllabic, with a strict tempo and intelligible lyrics, while southern styles use a rubato tempo, and a strained, tense vocal style. Folk musicians use the dialect of their own regional tradition; this rejection of the standard Italian language in folk song is nearly universal. There is little perception of a common Italian folk tradition, and the country's folk music never became a national symbol.

Carnival of Venice

Italian folk songs include ballads, lyrical songs, lullabies and children's songs, seasonal songs based around holidays such as Christmas, life-cycle songs that celebrate weddings, baptisms and other important events, dance songs, cattle calls and occupational songs, tied to professions such as fishermen, shepherds and soldiers. Ballads (canti epico-lirici) and lyric songs (canti lirico-monostrofici) are two important categories. Ballads are most common in northern Italy, while lyric songs prevail further south. Ballads are closely tied to the English form, with some British ballads existing in exact correspondence with an Italian song. Other Italian ballads are more closely based on French models. Lyric songs are a diverse category that consist of lullabies, serenades and work songs, and are frequently improvised though based on a traditional repertoire.

Other Italian folk song traditions are less common than ballads and lyric songs. Strophic, religious laude, sometimes in Latin, are still occasionally performed, and epic songs are also known, especially those of the maggio celebration. Professional female singers perform dirges similar in style to those elsewhere in Europe. Yodeling exists in northern Italy, though it is most commonly associated with the folk musics of other Alpine nations. The Italian Carnival is associated with several song types, especially the Carnival of Bagolino, Brescia. Choirs and brass bands are a part of the mid-Lenten holiday, while the begging song tradition extends through many holidays throughout the year.

To end our journey around the world on our quest for folk music I have chosen the Carnival of Venice, as the above image shows. There is a wonderful piece of music titled "Carnival of Venice" by Paganini (1782-1840). And ... however this isn't really folkmusic ... it's a nice way to close this wonderful month.

But to give you all the opportunity to create your Japanese poetry based on folk music I also have a nice Italian folksong for your inspiration.

Make your choice, or maybe you dare to use both pieces of music ... it's up to you.

I ran through my archives and ran into a nice cascading haiku that fits this theme in a nice, but extraordinary way. I wrote this cascading haiku back in 2016 in response on a CDHK episode written by Hamish Managua Gunn.

Venice Carnival
dark green eyes
hidden behind a mask -
she's mysterious

she's mysterious
breathtaking glamorous mask
attractive force

attractive force
mystical and magical
who is she?

who is she?
thrills of unmasking at midnight
exposed to the world

exposed to the world
she turns into a man with
dark green eyes

© Chèvrefeuille

Well ... this was the last episode of our wonderful journey around the world on a quest for folkmusic. I hope you all enjoyed this wonderful month, this journey ... thank you all for participating in this journey.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until September 6th at noon (CEST). I will try to publish our new weekend meditation later on. For now ... have fun!

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