Thinking the Canzone d’Autore
DOI link for Thinking the Canzone d’Autore
Thinking the Canzone d’Autore book
The popular music genre of the singer-songwriter in Italy is known as the canzone d’autore, and is associated with the figure and derived from the term cantautore, or singer-songwriter in Italian. These labels were first used at the start of the 1960s, and while the genre experienced its golden age of production during the 1960s and 1970s, it remains very popular today, still accounting for a large proportion of record sales in Italy. However, it is impossible to simply equate the canzone d’autore to other singer-songwriter genres from the UK, France or Spain, for example, as to do so ignores the many contested meanings that the term has come to embody in the Italian cultural context since the early 1960s. Indeed, in his critical volume on the genre, Paolo Jachia points out that while the canzone d’autore’s roots would suggest that the principal distinguishing feature of this particular song form was that it merely constituted a break with what had traditionally gone before, the genre has in fact progressed to such a point that a poetics of the canzone d’autore is now discernible which is grounded in a certain world view, specific stylistic markers and recurrent themes (Jachia, 1998, p. 11). This in turn suggests that a legitimation process is at work which has enabled the construction of a canzone d’autore style, complete with its own set of ‘genre rules’ (Fabbri, 1982) associated with the cantautore, thanks to the prescriptive discourse which surrounds the genre (indeed, it is for this reason that the terms canzone d’autore and cantautore have not been translated in this chapter). As a result of a Bourdieusian legitimation process, then, the terms canzone d’autore and cantautore have become synonymous with high quality within Italian popular music. The style represents a specific set of characteristics that have been established and concretized by the constitutive discourse of the genre.