Although many people don’t realize it, there is a strong history of Italian guitar music adapting to contemporary styles, including the blues.
For better or worse, this trend has gone largely unnoticed in the popular music community, which has led to the freedom of development of the style without recourse to mass appeal, meaning that Italian guitarists are more free to explore their own artistic expression.
The downside, however, is that it also means there is a smaller market for the music, and many musicians have not gotten the attention and respect they deserve for their technique and artistic mastery of a variety of musical styles.
The Stereotype of Italian Guitar
To understand this distinction, one needs to understand what the popular stereotype is when it comes to playing Italian guitar music.
By far the most common conception is that Italian guitar music is limited to Medieval and early Renaissance music, such as the song below:
While this is style is certainly characteristic of traditional Italian music, it is by no means that extent of the country’s contributions, nor is it even “guitar” music.
What many people think of as Italian guitar music, was actually composed for the lute, a stringed, guitar-like instrument used during the Renaissance Era.
Now let’s turn to a more modern example.
Playing the Blues
The reality is that many Italian artists were quick to adopt blues and jazz styles coming out of the US in the 20s and 30s. Here’s an example of an Italian piece, performed in a blue style.
The key to this piece, as well as just about any other blues or jazz piece out there, is the sequence of blues scales that dominate both the melody and improvised lines throughout the piece.
If you’d like to learn more about playing the blues, I suggestion you check out beginnersguitarstudio.com, which has information on the blues guitar scales featured in the video above, as well as information and tips to play scales for beginners.
Mastering these will allow you to better appreciate the great variety of music inherent in these different styles, since you can better understand stand the musical structure and harmonic and melodic underpinnings of the piece.