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Overview – Italian Music

Opera of the 19th century was the earliest Italian popular music.  It influenced Italy’s folk, classical and other popular musics.  Neapolitan song (canzone napoletana), is a distinct tradition that became a part of popular music in the 19th century.  By the end of the 20th century, this music was seen as an iconic image of Italian music abroad.

Influence from other countries have played a part in the Italian popular music, beginning with the French in the 1890’s (Café-chantant) and then the arrival of American jazz in the 1910s. Until Italian Fascism became officially “allergic” to foreign influences in the late 1930s, American dance music and musicians were quite popular such as the great Louis Armstrong.  Different styles of American music became much more prominent by the 1950’s , especially rock.  The Italian rock scene soon diversified into progressive, punk, funk and folk-based styles.

Today’s music-scene in Italy is just as diverse as anywhere else in the world, ranging from traditional folk music to hip hop, rock, opera and latino music with many influences from differnt countries all adding to the mix.

It is now not uncommon for modern Italian pop artists such as Laura Pausini, Zucchero, Eros Ramazzotti and Andrea Bocelli to release new songs in English or Spanish in addition to, or instead of, Italian.

Please see our related articles on music.