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Melodies of Sardinia

Polyphonic Chant

One absolutely beautiful (and quite unique) form of music from Sardinia is a rural chant known as ‘cantu a tenore’, which requires four singers of different types to produce its haunting melodies. The four singers are ‘bassu’, or bass, ‘mesa boghe’, or middle, ‘contra’, or counter, and finally ‘boghe’, the leader and also soloist when a solo section of the chant is called for. It is definitely a musical experience that will echo in your mind long after you have retired for the evening to your villa in Sardinia. This wonderful style of singing has also been critically acclaimed even beyond simple appreciation – the vocal stylings of cantu a tenore were deemed a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, by UNESCO.


The launeddas is an ancient instrument, played using the little-utilised technique of circular breathing, and often heard at religious ceremonies and dances. The construction of the instrument is quite distinctive, being traditionally made of three reed-canes, two of them glued together with beeswax. The complex style of music that can be produced on a laneddas has been recognised internationally, with many similarities required of the musician as when playing other similar wind instruments – such as the Australian digeridoo or the Egyptian arghul. If you’re impressed with the launeddas music while relaxing at your villa in Sardinia, you’re not alone – professional musicians such as Frank Zappa and Peter Gabriel have included them in their modern works.


If you’re interested in experiencing music in a more formal setting outside your villa in Sardinia, then why not pay a visit to the Teatro Communale of Cagliari? You’ll be able to see a performance by the permanent Choir and Orchestra of the Opera and Concert Association of Caligari, and if you’re preference is for open-air venues, then the Roman apmpitheatre is often open to visitors in the summer.