It was recently published by Editorial Documenta a volume in which the culmination of years of research on the music of Italian immigrants in the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The title of the book is “Ethnic Italian records. Analysis, conservation and restoration of the Italian-American repertoire emigration of 78s”. The author is Giuliana Fugazzotto – ethnomusicologist specializing in computer science applied on ethnomusicology – which was reconstructed in full-bodied work (approximately 250 pages) a repertoire not only vast and diverse (composed of more than three thousand sound files), but little studied by the scientific tradition international. One of the most interesting aspects of the book – from which, as you can imagine, emerging fundamental data on historical and social not only migrants but also the context in which they are placed – is that the recordings, in most cases stored on disks 78s, they have been entirely digitized, as well as clearly cataloged and analyzed. This, as well as allowing access to documents in many cases difficult to find, actually opens a space for fundamental studies (just think that in the first three decades of the twentieth century were produced in the United States over seven sound documents related to Italian popular music). A space that is configured as complex: if one hand the adoption of traditional repertoires has some obvious implications for cultural identity and for migrants, on the other hand leaves out the influence that these repertoires have also had some local musical productions. As you can see, in fact, in some passages of the notes to present the book, the search “allows for the first time to outline the musical tastes, the stylistic trends, the socio-cultural of the Italian-American community in the early twentieth century and document the process of contamination and fusion of traditional repertoires in contact with the culture of the Stars and Stripes”.
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