Canzoni da Battello – Gondola Songs

Did you know that “La Biondina in gondoleta” was written for this lady?

Gondola Songs

J.J. Rousseau, a French philosopher and writer from the 18th century, described in his Dictionary of Music how traditional boat songs, barcarolles, were originally sung by Venetian gondoliers who would listen to popular arias in the many theaters throughout the city and attempt to imitate their singing idols.

The “Canzoni da Battello” are pieces of music characterized by a simple melodic and harmonic structure written over poetic texts in Venetian dialect. Thanks to these characteristics the songs became very popular from the mid 1700s onwards.

The songs were intended for various occasions; the most elaborate ones were written in verses by poets and transformed into serenades for lovers and they were often performed by professional singers on gondolas or other types of boats, which might further explain the reason to why they are called boat songs.

At times the gondoliers themselves were the authors of the lyrics. During the long period of the Carnevale they would carry masked passengers in their gondolas and offer their spontaneous singing, which is a custom that very few, if any, gondoliers have maintained today.

Other content that might interest you

Alexander Simpson - Countertenor
Special Guests

Alexander Simpson – Countertenor

Praised for his ‘extraordinary stage presence’ and ‘sublimely melodic voice’, Alexander Simpson is a versatile young countertenor who has been earmarked as ‘the voice of his generation’ (The Times). Recent

Leggi Tutto »
Marica Tacconi
Special Guests

Marica Tacconi – Musicologist

Marica Tacconi is Distinguished Professor of Musicology and Art History and Associate Director of the School of Music at Pennsylvania State University. A native of central Italy, she holds a

Leggi Tutto »
Rolando Moro Violoncello
Special Guests

Rolando Moro – Violoncello

Rolando Moro ha iniziato lo studio del Violoncello a 6 anni con Giancarlo Trimboli. Successivamente si è iscritto al conservatorio “A. Steffani” di Castelfranco Veneto, studiando dapprima con il M.

Leggi Tutto »

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Keep informed about our initiatives and concerts!

If you would like to stay in touch and receive information about our concerts and events, as well as invitations for them, SIGN UP for our newsletter

Support the Venice Music Project!

Your support will help us to budget for extra-special programs in celebration of our first decade of activity, as well as help to fund our Musical Archaeology and the performances of works we discover during the year.

And, as always, we will Ba-ROCK you!