One of the most appropriate means to tell the ‘thousand colours’ of Naples is through its songs, because all Neapolitans are born to sing. A subtle coherence links the ‘classic’ Neapolitan song of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to the songs that have resounded in this cosmopolitan Mediterranean port since the medieval era of the Anjou and then of the Aragonese sovereigns. This text dia- chronically connects the history of the villanella (born as an anti-Spanish protest song in the aristocratic circles of the sixteenth century to then spread through the commedia dell’arte and opera) and the moresca (a sung dance of African or- igin) to the birth of the new canzone napoletana starting from the collections of Cottrau (1824–1865), who transferred the popular songs of the Neapolitans to the living rooms of the city bourgeoisie. These songs continued to represent all the social strata of Naples, thanks also to moments of collective celebration such as the Piedigrotta Festival, and at the same time maintained their function of lamenting the city’s past, lost forever. Song constitutes but a small portion of the ‘noise’ typical of the most populous city of the Mediterranean after Con- stantinople, where festivities made up the majority of the days of the year, with hundreds of both civic and religious public festivals. Everywhere, on the shore or in front of churches, in the squares and on the streets, this massive population sang and danced, giving rise to the unique soundscape of early modern Naples, which made the city famous in Europe in the age of the Grand Tour.

‘Naples. The Singing City’

Fabris, Dinko
2023-01-01

Abstract

One of the most appropriate means to tell the ‘thousand colours’ of Naples is through its songs, because all Neapolitans are born to sing. A subtle coherence links the ‘classic’ Neapolitan song of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to the songs that have resounded in this cosmopolitan Mediterranean port since the medieval era of the Anjou and then of the Aragonese sovereigns. This text dia- chronically connects the history of the villanella (born as an anti-Spanish protest song in the aristocratic circles of the sixteenth century to then spread through the commedia dell’arte and opera) and the moresca (a sung dance of African or- igin) to the birth of the new canzone napoletana starting from the collections of Cottrau (1824–1865), who transferred the popular songs of the Neapolitans to the living rooms of the city bourgeoisie. These songs continued to represent all the social strata of Naples, thanks also to moments of collective celebration such as the Piedigrotta Festival, and at the same time maintained their function of lamenting the city’s past, lost forever. Song constitutes but a small portion of the ‘noise’ typical of the most populous city of the Mediterranean after Con- stantinople, where festivities made up the majority of the days of the year, with hundreds of both civic and religious public festivals. Everywhere, on the shore or in front of churches, in the squares and on the streets, this massive population sang and danced, giving rise to the unique soundscape of early modern Naples, which made the city famous in Europe in the age of the Grand Tour.
2023
9788849553697
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11563/175977
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