The influence of literature on Italian songwriting of the seventies

Italian songwriting and literature are not so far apart. In contrast, they have lived in a very close relationship since the seventies, where the influence of poets and literature in composing “committed” songs is clearly visible, both in terms of theme and language used.

The new generation lyricist of the seventies

In the early sixties and early seventies, an irreplaceable season for Italian music and cultural scene began, where Music as a universal language. Of course, the formula that best connects with the season of commitment LyricistNot only in Italy but also in other countries (such as employment in France, Promises in the United Kingdom, and musica de intervensao in Portugal)

The new heroes of the author’s song Guccini, de Gregory, de Andre, Batiste, Bennato, Dalla, Venditi And they’re a newer version of the first generation of lyricists, but they have a specialty compared to the Genoese school that comes directly from that year’s consciousness, which manages to perfectly represent their young audience.

Innovations express concern in a variety of ways: from the subject matter to the language of the text, to the change in the relationship between discography and the artist’s image.

Concerned neo-hippies and their global warming, i’ll tell ya. What happens in the world is embedded in personal stories And individual events. These themes also contain literary references that have been denied in the described social background.

Poetic language translated into the author’s songs

The lyricists introduced a literary character that had never existed before in the lyrics of Italian songs. They were, in fact, of bourgeois social exclusion and were enriched by a good school background, as they were born after the beginning of the massive expansion of education after the war.

The lyricists are given an additional “cultural capital”, which allows them to introduce a new way of speaking, basically based on two pillars.

The first is The use of metaphor And the syntactic structure is out of the ordinary, sometimes Hermetic Because they are not always easy to understand and carry privacy (just like poetry), it leaves the listener with an unpublished void that he can fill with his subjectivity.

The second is a Flat and regular use instead of forced language (Don’t use words like “heart” or “love” anymore) which lyricists used up to that moment for small vocabulary like ours. Therefore, elision and truncation are no longer used.

Some examples of literature in song writing

The texts are close to poetic language, even on more political topics, such as “Saigon“, Francesco de Gregory The landscaping and work in the rice fields of South Vietnam is able to thicken through ornamental imagery. The song tells the story of a young mother in the context of war and hopes for the liberation of the whole nation.

In this era, lyricists use literature and poets as the inspiration for their own productions. D. Gregory, for example, “AliceSeventeen-year-old Caesar Paves describes the frustration of the experience as he waited for his “ballerina love”, whom he met in high school.

Francesco Guccini Wrote many songs full of literary references. These include “Cirano”, “Gulliver”, “Don Quixote” and “Lady Bowery”(Which also gives the name of the album released in 1987). Guccini’s Bovary is very different from Flaubert’s, but the literary references remain strong.

Cats and foxes“Of Eduardo Bennato Claudio’s writing speaks of the characters in Pinocchio’s story. Bennato dedicated the 1977 concept album “Wire Without Puppets” to the story of the puppets that come to life.

Another famous example isSpoon River Anthology Written in 1915 by Edgar Lee Masters and translated into Italian by Fernanda Pivano in 1943. Fabrizio de Andre Uses this poetic element as the basis of his project. “Not to money, not to love, not to heaven”, An album released in 1971, where he again demonstrates the complex linguistic and allegorical diversity of his choice.

Valentina Volpi

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