ITAL-388 Cantautori and Italian songs A History of Italy’s Folk, Pop and Rock from WWI to the Present Day
Spring for 2017-2018
This course surveys the evolution of Italian song from World War II to the present time, with an emphasis on auteur song, orcanzone d’autore. Starting in the 1960s, the cantautori (singer-songwriters) produced music and lyrics of a novel kind which broke with tradition. Songwriters such as Fabrizio De André, Francesco De Gregori, Roberto Vecchioni, Francesco Guccini and others changed the key of Italian popular music: for the first time the authors of the songs were also their interpreters. The cantautori mixed sounds and rhythms from Anglosaxon rock and blues with Italian melody and bel canto, while at the same time making politics, love and societal changes the subjects of their lyrics. The cantautori have chronicled in a direct, unabashed way, the history and changes of modern-day Italy.
The social and political commitment of the cantautori becomes manifest through their employment of literary references and distancing from the clichés of the Festival of Sanremo and mainstream music. In addition to reinforcing linguistic skills and cultural competences of the students, this course provides an in-depth analysis of the changes in Italian folk, pop and rock songs and their relations to literature. Particular emphasis will be given to cantautori who write with a literary approach.
Instruction in Italian. Readings in English and Italian.

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: ITAL-112
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