Archive for January, 2013

The Friscaletto ( “friscaletto” in the south-italy sicily dialet), is a “zufolo” family flute used in the south of Italy, mainly in Sicily island. It’s an ancient flute, produced by a cane (like bamboo cane), with 7 holes in the front, and 2 holes on the back side. This kind of holes allow several variation in the music style.


More details (in Italian language, fomr wikipedia) below:

Il friscaletto (o friscalettu in siciliano) è uno zufolo di canna tipico della tradizione folkloristica della Sicilia. È considerato, insieme al marranzano, al tamburello e allaquartara, uno degli strumenti simbolo della musica popolare siciliana.

È chiamato in maniera simile in tutta la Sicilia, eccezion fatta per il paese di San Fratello, in provincia di Messina. Qui la parlata locale risente ancora delle radici gallo-italiche e il friscaletto prende il nome di vescot.

Un elemento fondamentale della sua struttura è il tappo (realizzato in legno di oleandro, ulivo o fico). Ha sette buchi nella parte anteriore e, pur essendo un flauto artigianale molto semplice, presenta due buchi posteriori (a differenza, ad esempio, dei flauti irlandesi).

Il friscaletto è uno strumento che non permette variazioni volumiche di piano e forte, poiché una maggiore intensità nell’emissione del fiato ne causa inevitabilmente la stonatura della melodia. Ciascun friscaletto ha quindi la propria personalità, il proprio timbro e le proprie sfumature.


See also the Friscalettu page on

Stefano Torre, Domo Emigrantes playing a Friscalettu in a “Sicilian taranta”.



Domo Emigrantes video, playing several music coming from south of Italy


The chitarra battente (Italian: lit. “beating guitar”) also known as “chitarra italiana” is a musical instrument, a chordophone of the lute family. At a casual glance, it is similar to the everyday classical guitar, but larger and typically strung with five double steel strings. Nowadays it is typical of folk music mainly in Calabria, Puglia, Basilicataand Campania, as well as in other areas of southern Italy; in previous centuries was common in most of central and southern Italy.

See more on Wikipedia EN or Wikipedia IT 

Chitarra battente (De Bonis)


Francesco “Ciccio” Denaro, playing a Chitarra Battente with Sonaturi a Jurnata group



Francesco Loccisano, chitarra battente demo 🙂


Zampogna is a generic term for a number of Italian double chantered pipes (“bagpipes”) that can be found as far north as the southern part of the Marche, throughout areas in Abruzzo, Latium, Molise, Basilicata, Campania, Calabria, and Sicily. The tradition is now mostly associated with Christmas, and the most famous Italian carol, “Tu scendi dalle stelle” (You Come Down From the Stars) is derived from traditional zampogna music. However, there is an ongoing resurgence of the instrument in secular use seen with the increasing number of folk music festivals and folk music ensembles.

See more on Wikipedia EN or Wikipedia IT 


Playing with friends: Stefano Torre (Domo Emigrantes) and his zampogna (sicilian bagpipe)


Source: Best of Sicily Magazine

Musical instruments of this kind (aerophones) were probably known to the ancient Greeks and Romans, and since the Middle Ages bagpipes have been played across Europe and into the Caucasus, Persian Gulf and northern Africa. Chaucer mentioned bagpipes in the fourteenth century.

To function, a bagpipe must, at the very least, have an air supply, a bag, a blowpipe and a chanter; it usually includes one or more drones. The bag is made from the skins of sheep, goats or cattle. Resembling a horn, the chanter is the melody pipe with a reed. The drone, which resembles a flute, is another pipe with a reed.

Compared to the typical Scots pipes, in which the tubes are inserted into the bag individually (though near each other), in most Sicilian ones the chanter and drones all emanate from a single, hollow wooden “plug” attached to the bag. As the sound results from a more-or-less uniform airflow toward and through the plug, it differs very slightly from that of the Scots pipes. The design also influences playing technique.



The hurdy gurdy or hurdy-gurdy is a stringed musical instrument that produces sound by a crank-turned rosined wheel rubbing against the strings. The wheel functions much like a violin bow, and single notes played on the instrument sound similar to a violin. Melodies are played on a keyboard that presses tangents (small wedges, typically made of wood) against one or more of the strings to change their pitch. Like most other acoustic stringed instruments, it has a sound board to make the vibration of the strings audible.

Most hurdy gurdies have multiple drone strings, which give a constant pitch accompaniment to the melody, resulting in a sound similar to that of bagpipes. For this reason, the hurdy gurdy is often used interchangeably or along with bagpipes, particularly in French and contemporary Hungarian and Galician folk music.

See more on Wikipedia [EN] or Wikipedia [IT]


Hurdy gurdy in Italy: spakkabrianza performing a Courento. Matteo Dorighi is playing the “ghironda”



Hurdy gurdy in medioeval world:




One of the most original instruments created by the folkloristic inventiveness, generally of the South of Italy and in a particular way Neapolitan, is the “Caccavella”, which for onomatopoeia, Is called by the populace “Putipu”.

This instrument is considered a friction drum and is also called “Pernacchiatore”, “Puti-Puti”, “Pignato”, “Cute-Cute”, “Cupellone”, “Pan-bomba” (of Spanish origin), and “Cupa-cupa”(especially in Apulia).

Putipu (Cupa-Cupa): a Friction-drum

See more on: wikipedia 

“Frame drums are one of the most ancient types of musical instruments. They have a simple structure with strong spiritual and entertaining effects. They are usually round, made of wood with animal skin and sometimes metal rings or plates incorporated into the drum to provide jingle.”

Source: Wikipedia ( )

My frame-drum


Amazing frame-drum players: Riccardo & Federico Laganà (Kalascima):


The “Sonaturi a Jurnata” group (I’m playing 12 strings guitar) performing a South Italy Folk Music, coming from Calabria: Spagna.



The “Sonaturi a Jurnata” group (I’m playing 12 strings guitar) performing a South Italy Folk Music, coming from Puglia: Pizzica pizzica.

(10/11/2012 – Milano, Alcatraz)


Playing a pizzica in the snow 🙂