A Classification of Music Forms: Variety in Harmony

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Updated: Aug 18, 2023
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The Essence of Italian Music

Forms of Music Krista West-Moses Music is the art of expressing ideas and emotions in many forms. It can be expressed through melody, rhythm, harmony, instruments, and more. It plays a role in everyone’s lives and is used in spare time, making life more enjoyable and peaceful. Many Italian pieces of music are considered high art. It is generally electric but unique from other nations’ music with many different forms. Countries that have an influence on their music include the French, German, and Spanish cultures (Grabianowski, 2011).

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Traditional Folk and Regional Variations

In Italian culture, music has traditionally been one of the cultural markers of Italian national and ethnic identity, holding an important role in society. Italian music shows a wide variety of musical forms, from traditional folk music to classical compositions, opera, and rock. Italian folk music is used throughout the culture. Each region has developed its own unique musical styles, instruments, dances, and more. Ballads, which are a poem or songs narrating a story, are more common in the northern part of Italy. Lyric songs are more popular in the southern part of Italy. Italian folk music reflects the influences of invaders, along with imported styles from other countries (Grabianowski, 2011).

Instruments and Popular Italian Genres

The most common instruments that are related to this style of music include the piano, flute, and a variety of pipes, including bagpipes. However, rural communities support a brass band, which also features the clarinet, accordion, violin, and drums (Grabianowski, 2011). Neapolitan songs are the most widely known songs because many people from the region have emigrated to other countries. Sicilian folk music is also performed in many countries, reflecting where they have settled. Unlike regional folk music, opera has become associated with an Italian identity, originating in the northern city of Florence (Susini, 2017).

Opera and Classical Music in Italy

Opera is a dramatic work in one or more acts for singers and instrumentalists. It originated in Italy in the 17th century and continued to play a dominant role in the culture during the Italian Renaissance. Many famous opera composers are Italian, including the famous Gioacchino Rossini himself, who wrote 39 operas in his career (Susini, 2017).

Other Opera composers are Claudio Monteverdi, Alessandro Scarlatti, Vincenzo Belli, Gaetano Donizetti, and Giuseppe Verdi. Italian opera dominated the international opera scene for centuries until local language operas finally gained acceptance in the 19th century. The first opera is called Euridice, with a libretto by Rinuccini; it was played at the wedding of Henry of France and Marie de Medici at the Pitti Palace in Florence, who is well known (Susini, 2017). Italian classical music dates back to the early 19th century. Furthermore, it is difficult to separate opera music from classical composers since they often write both. Classical music is a type of music that focuses on beauty, elegance, and balance focusing on dynamics, instruments, pitch, tempo, key, and mood (Swan, 2018). Common instruments played are the flute, horn, violin, cello, double bass, and more.

The most famous classical writers include Tomaso Albinoni, Francesco Cavalli, Antonio Cesti, and Gaetano Donizetti. Other composers are known for their symphonies, concertos, and sonatas, including Alessandro Marcello, Niccolò Paganini, Giuseppe Domenico Scarlatti, and Antonio Vivaldi (Swan, 2018). When thinking about Classical Italian music, I think of one of the most famous Italian opera composers, Giuseppe Verdi Verdi’s work, which is most noted for its emotional intensity, tuneful melodies, and dramatic characterizations. Verdi transformed the Italian opera into a unified musical and dramatic entity. Verdi composed over twenty-eight operas. Macbeth, a performance by Verdi based on the work of William Shakespeare, was a popular show performed in New York City in the late 1800s. After classical music was established, instrumental music originated, which is a more complex version of classical music. During this period, Giuseppe Mariucci composed his second symphony, leaning away from the opera style and more toward classical (Swan, 2018).

Church Music and Rock Influence

The most popular sympathetic style of music performed in Italy today is still the work from the 19th century. Italy is the home of the Roman Catholic Church, which has a rich heritage of musical traditions. Hymns and psalms are very common in churches and are known as a more sacred style of music. The Gregorian Chant is a common melody performed by monks during 800-1000 AD (Swan, 2018). There were also mufti melodies that were established in the 1800s. In the late 1970’s Latin-language music in church with more folk styles of songs. The music was short lives and replaced by more traditional hymns sung in the local language (Swan, 2018).

Although sacred music is not well known, the church was and is the foundation where musicians were fare first trained across Europe. A popular form of music is rock. Since the 1950s, when it was first established, it has been common throughout the culture and strongly lived to this day. Although Italian rock bands do not visit many English-speaking countries, they are highly successful in Italy and Europe (Swan, 2018). The more popular singers and bands in Italian culture are Gianna, Nannini, Zucchero, and Vasco Rossi. Zucchero has made a great and outstanding career selling over 40 million records worldwide and collaborating with other internal artists, including; Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, Miles Davis, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Ennio Morricone is also well-known and an influential film composer. Many people know him for the theory of The Good, The Bad, and the song, and it has become the most iconic score in film history. In his 55-year career, he won many international awards and was the five-academy award nominator for the best music. This was one of many awards. He is well-established and famous for his music through television and films. Many substantial numerous of popular singers from the United States and other English-speaking countries claim Italian ancestry, including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Tony Bennir, Bobby Darin, Frankie Valli, Frankie Lane, Jon Bon Jovi, and more (Grabianowski, 2011).

Rap Music and Pop Culture

Rap music is present in Italy, except this style of music is greatly influenced by United States Rap artists. Today there are significant music scenes in Italy with many fashions and lifestyles that are like America. However, the Italian rap beat closely resembles its American counterpart; the lyrics focus on social themes that are unique just for the Italian culture (Grabianowski, 2011). The first Italian hip-hop rapper was Lorenzo Cherubini, better known as Jovanotti. He introduced rap into more of a traditional pop song and continued throughout different films. With more than four and a half million Italian immigrants arriving in America over the years, traditions and cultures have spread nationwide (Grabianowski, 2011). With that, Italian music was brought over. Music in New York City developed fast as the number of immigrants and residents increased. Italian Music has become popular with many subdivisions and forms, with traditional folk music and classical components, including opera, sacred music, rock, and rap being important music styles within the culture.


Music in the Italian culture is a form of art. It is obvious that music is as old as humans are, with their own magnetic sounds. It helps perfect life. Being said, the music of Italy has traditionally been one of the cultural makers of Italian national and ethnic identity and holds an important position in society with its important part of the heritage and spans across nations with its forms of music.

Work Cited

  1. Grabianowski, Ed. “How Italian Traditions Work.” HowStuffWorks, 25 July 2011,.
  2. Rossi, Vasco. “Italian Rock Bands List.” Ranker, www.ranker.com/list/italian-rock-music-bands-list/reference. Susini, Samuel. “Italian Opera.” August 2017, Slow Italy.
  3. Swan, Thomas. “Famous Italian Composers of Classical Music.” Spinditty, Spinditty, 8 Feb. 2018,.
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A Classification of Music Forms: Variety in Harmony. (2023, Jun 18). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/a-classification-of-music-forms-variety-in-harmony/