Italian and venetian traditional musical instruments

Italian music includes a wide variety of musical forms and takes different ranging from opera to folk music including popular music, religious music, rock and the modern rap music. The music is an important part of Italian culture and life thanks the Italian composers that created most important symphonies. Italian craftsmen invented musical instruments like the harpsichord and the bassoon, and refined others like the violin and the piano by the manufacturer of cymbals Bartolomero Cristofori of Padua (Padova 1665 – Florence 1732). He was the inventor of the piano, where, in 1698, he endeavored to replace the tabs that plucked the strings with hammers that struck him, creating “the plan and the strong”

We are based in the city of Venice named Serenissima that reached levels of maritime supremacy, democratic progressiveness, financial prosperity, and both cultural achievement and innovation, flourishing for centuries until its fall to Napoleon in 1797.

Venice produced wonderful music thanks famous compositors as Albinoni Tomaso (1671-1750), Bellini Vincenzo (1801-1835), Gabrieli Andrea (1510-1586),Gabrieli Domenico (1659-1690), Galuppi Baldassare (1706-1785), Monteverdi Claudio (1567-1643), Porpora Nicola Antonio (1686-1768) was the master of Haydn, Vivaldi Antonio (1678-1741), etc.

From its founding, Venice has always been a gateway of international cultures with strong connections to Byzantium and the Ottoman Empire, and trade routes extending as far as China. Like silk and spices, Venice exported in the world also arts, culture and most significant music with the “Venetian Influences” in all European and Mediterranean countries. The booming print industry in Venice allowed composers to mass-produce complex, multipart works by using movable type, making it possible for all of Europe to easily access La Serenissima’s musical innovations without travelling there directly.

Musical fantasy produced also special musical instruments with the advantage of the singers able to explored a multi-operas that culminates in a wonderful performances. Venice and the Serenissima Republic remained the epicenter of music and opera production thanks the capacity to perform the music following the constantly change of musical styles. In the eighteenth century, thanks to a real “school”, founded in Venice from the Dalmatian priest Pietro Nacchini Venice and the Veneto land have maintained a leading position, with innovative technical solutions and with a handcraft that exported its products not only in the rest of Italy but even in Constantinople and Smyrna.

Though vocal music was extraordinarily popular in Venice, instrumental music poured forth from homes and into the streets and canals. In fact at one time, more Venetian homes had musical instruments than books. Thanks the patronage of the Doge Marino Grimani (1595-1605) music became an increasingly important feature of many civic fasts, with a marked integration of music and theatre.

Musical instruments of Veneto Land

Musical instruments can be divided into two major categories: professional (durable) and ephemeral (occasional). Among the first it should mention the Venetian baga but has fallen into disuse for a long time without a trace, except in idioms. It was made up of a lot of skin fitted with a mouthpiece and two bagpipes, a song and a drone. Good luck also had the mandolin and the violin, instruments that some good carpenter could build at home, the more rare the guitar, while the use of band instruments to accompany the singing is not documented. For percussion it was usto the “thimpano” (harpsichord) Venetian-style large and with few bells stuck in the chest. Among casual or ephemeral instruments primarily include the bagpipes, a kind of flute made with chestnut bark and provided with holes or thicker piston to vary the sound. Taking stretched in front of the mouth the edge of an ivy leaf was obtained a sound similar to that of a reed instrument with a good extension and sonority. Even more original were two other by accompanying instruments: the first was obtained by inserting the handle three tablespoons inside the neck of a bottle which was then beaten and the second rubbing by way ‘of the violin bow “iron pole” against the edge a vat of course when it was empty: he came out a dark and deep sound that could be heard at a distance.

Photo of and description of the musical instruments

Venetian baga:
it is bag pipe, a wind instrument using enclosed reeds fed from a constant reservoir of air in the form of a bag.


Mandolino: it is a musical instrument in the lute family. There many styles of mandolin and grew popularity in the streets where it was used by young men courting and by street musicians and in the concert hall. After the Napoleonic Wars of 1815 its popularity began to fall. The 19th century produced some prominent players including Bartolomeo Bortolzazzi of Venice and Pietro Vimercati. However the mandolin music changed as the mandolin became a folk instrument.

Violino: it is a wooden string instrument in the violin family. Smaller violin-type instruments are known, including the violino piccolo and the kit violin. The most venetian composer was Antonio Vivaldi. Violinist and teacher, Vivaldi is recognized as one of the greatest Baroque composers and his influence during his lifetime was widespread across Europe. Many of his composistions were written for the violin. The luthiers Matteo Goffriller, Domenico Montagnana, Sanctus Seraphin, Carlo Annibale Tononi were the principals in the Venetian school of violin making.

Chitarra: it is a musical instrument classified as a string instrument with anywhere form four to 18 strings, usually having six strings. There are three main types of modern acoustic guitar: the classical guitar, the steel-string acoustic guitar, the archtop guitar. A cutaway on the guitar construction i san identatioin in the upper bout of the guitar body adjacent to the guitar neck, designed to allow easier access to the upper frets. There are two main types of cutaways: Venetian and Florentine. A Venetian cutway has a rounded bout. A Florentine cutaway has a sharp cout.

Thimpano or cembalo: it is an ancient musical instrument most popular in ancient Greece where the instrument is still played.

Pive or flauto:it is a family of musical isntruments in the woodwind group.



Ocarina: it is ancient wind musical instrument. The typical ocarina is an enclosed space with four to twelve finger holes and mouthpiece that projects form the body. It is traditionally made from clay or ceramic, but other materials are also used as wood, glass or bone.

Pianoforte: the story of the piano begins in 1709 in Padua the city nearest Venice town, in the shop of a harpsichord maker named Bartolomeo di Francesco Cristofori. Many other stringed and keyboard instruments preceded the piano and led to the development of the instrument as we know today.