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ItalianSongWriters.com is not for profit.
It is intended for educational and scholarly purposes.
This site was initially developed by Francesco Ciabattoni thanks to a Grant-in-Aid by Georgetown University
Methodological Note about Lyrics Transcription.
The site www.italiansongwriters.com has a primarily educational purpose and aims to spread Italian culture to a global audience by translating the most significant songs and contextualizing Italian singer-songwriters from the 1950s onward (although some singers have also been added who are not songwriters). Precisely because it was born as a teaching resource, of high quality and rigorous standards for a publicly accessible website, the selection of songs and artists is somewhat arbitrary and the transcription of song lyrics was carried out following a general methodology to make the whole process as consistent as possible. Except for the songs by Francesco De Gregori, for whose lyrics we followed the edition by Enrico De Regibus (Francesco De Gregori. I testi. La storia delle canzoni, Giunti Editore, 2020) because they were approved by De Gregori himself, the criteria taken into account are set out below.
Transcribing song lyrics is a forceful, unnatural and necessarily imperfect operation: the song is a complex text, composed of many characteristics (words, music, voice, image, movement) and is essentially oral in its sonorous form, the transcription of the lyrics (paroles, letras, testo letterario, Liedtext) presents new textual problems that have no easy solution. For example, how should we add punctuation and capital letters? where should we break the line if the music itself does not clearly suggest it? how should we transcribe phonetic ambiguities or glossolalìa? And even before addressing these specific problems, to what extent is it legitimate or useful to transcribe graphically these non-verbal elements of the text, which obviously can vary according to different interpretations of the same piece? In this regard, it must be specified that, without wanting to extend the status of auctor in the classical sense of the literary sciences to every songwriter or singer, we should nevertheless recognize that certain songwriters have paid attention to the transcription and edition of their lyrics: for example, Francesco De Gregori edited the edition of his entire corpus of song lyrics, as cited above, and Francesco Guccini has selected about fifty of his texts for a volume (F. Guccini, Canzoni, 2018).
Another essential caveat is that, for the transcriptions on this website, we referred to the first studio recording of each song. We believe that the original recording should be considered the version licensed by the author and the singer: here, therefore, we did not respect “last will of the author” in the strict sense, but only of the final result as recorded in the studio version first released. Sometimes the video linked on Youtube will instead be of a live or later version, but this choice is due to specific cultural and entertainment interests, and has nothing to do with the transcription of the text.
With these few methodological principles in place, the site remains primarily a support for teaching and for the dissemination of Italian culture to the broader world, with no ambitions to represent a textual or philological model for the edition of musical texts. We thank the authors and all those who have contributed to its creation.
Francesco Ciabattoni is Professor in Italian Literature at Georgetown University. He received his Laurea in Lettere from the Università degli Studi di Torino and his PhD in Italian Studies from Johns Hopkins University.
Prof. Ciabattoni’s research focus lies on Dante and the middle ages, the twentieth century short story and the interplay of music and literature. He has published on Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio, Giuseppe Berto, Pier Paolo Pasolini in various international journals as well as a collection of original poems (Paradosso terrestre, Il filo, 2008).
Sarah Annunziato (The University of Virginia)
Debora Bellinzani (University of Wisconsin)
Luca Bertoloni (University of Pavia)
Eleonora Buonocore (University of Calgary)
Alessandro Carrera (University of Houston)
Paolo Chirumbolo (Louisiana State University)
Francesco Ciabattoni (Georgetown University)
Alexandre Ciarla (Independent Scholar)
Corrado Confalonieri (Wesleyan University)
Sara De Angelis (Independent Scholar)
Anthony Deldonna (Georgetown University)
Giusy Di Filippo (College of the Holy Cross)
Paolo Di Motoli (Università di Padova)
Cathy Ann Elias (De Paul University)
Jan Gaggetta (Université de Fribourg)
Claudio Giunta (Università di Trento)
Scott Kapuscinski (Queens College, CUNY)
Massimo Lajolo (Composer & Musician)
Simone Marchesi (Princeton University)
Mary Migliozzi (Villanova University)
Chris Newman (George Mason University)
Marianna Orsi (University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu)
Sabrina Ovan (Scripps College)
Cristina Perissinotto (University of Ottawa)
Elena Porciani (Università della Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”)
Bridget Pupillo (Connecticut College)
Fabio Romerio (University of Maryland, Baltimore)
Marco Santoro (Università di Bologna)
Pasquale Scialò (Università S. Orsola Benincasa, Naples)
Carlo Testa (University of British Columbia)
Jacopo Tomatis (Università di Torino)
Julianne Van Wagenen (University of Michigan)
Laura Zambianchi (The University of Central Lancashire )
A special thanks goes to:
Bridget Pupillo (Connecticut College) for assisting in the early stages of the translations.
Jordan Brewer, Ciarra Criscione, Cesare Crova, Peter Di Giovanni, Rachel Grasso, Laura Martell, Christina McGrath, Raphaelle Hupez, Zachary Penati Aguilar, Luke Ross, Natalia Ruiz, Charles Salvest, Nikole Sanchez, Maya Tenzer, and Francesca Truitt.
Some translations are by students of Georgetown University and the University of Houston.