Neapolitan Traditional Songs – The expression “golden period” of the Neapolitan traditional songs means the period of time that passed between the eighties of the nineteenth century and the years of the First World War. Certainly the music in Naples was not born in that period: the city of Naples boasted both a long cultured tradition and a popular tradition well rooted in the territory. In the nineteenth century, however, something different happened with a new phenomenon. First of all, with the Neapolitan traditional songs, we use the name ‘song’, a term used to describe a short musical composition that has very specific morphological characteristics; in the case of the Neapolitan traditional songs, then, the genre “song” is associated with the use of verses in the Neapolitan dialect. Over time we have looked for a birth date of the Neapolitan song, but, as is easily understood, since it is a very complex musical and social phenomenon, it may be reductive to associate its origins with a particular year.
When we talk about Neapolitan traditional songs, we do not limit ourselves only to the compositions, to the music and to the verses of the pieces, but to an entire editorial and commercial system that was created around the interests of the Neapolitan sound phenomenon. Suffice it to say that the different forms of diffusion of the Neapolitan song found a valid support in the sponsors and in the advertising that financed various initiatives. Advertisements are still visible on the scores and on the copies of the various publishers of the Neapolitan song; in addition, the various music magazines published during the “golden period” reported various advertisements, proving the fact that the Neapolitan song was able to generate around itself a huge chain of interests.
So, in addition to the undisputed beauty of the compositions, it is also thanks to this complex economic and social system that even today songs like ‘O sole mio, Funiculì Funiculà, Torna a Surriento are known all over the world as a distinctive Italian mark.