Musical instruments from Abruzzo

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Article published by Italian Heart on October 30, 2015:


“ddu ‘bbotte” from Teramo

Among the musical instruments that have marked abruzzese history I would like to mention the organetto (squeeze box) called “ddu ‘bbotte” in the local dialect. It is an instrument that goes with chants and dances during local festivals in the pretty abruzzese villages.


The fun comes from the dialect term DDU BBOTTE incessant movement that the player makes opening and closing the bellows. In Abruzzo and Molise, especially in hilly and mountainous areas, the first organs appeared in the late nineteenth century, was and is the tool along with the accordion was a master in family parties, to make political and popular festivals.

The “ddu ‘bbotte” is a real ritualistic object needed for a serenade in Abruzzo.


Its name probably derives from the movement the player makes while energetically and quickly opening and closing his arms causing the opening and closing of the bellow of the instrument. Playing it as well as building one is a real art form. Nowadays small workshops around the region proudly keep handmaking “ddu ‘bbotte” especially in Atri, Casoli and Teramo.


zampogna 1

The zampogna is an instrument that emits a sound following the introduction of air through a sack. Its constitutive parts are:

  1. The sack, traditionally made of goat’s skin made soft and resistant.
  2. A wooden stick called “ceppo” that sits on the sack and in which the canes are inserted
  3. The canes, they can vary from a minimum of 3 to a maximum of 5 depending on the region.
  4. The reeds, once made by the sugarcanes.

Surely the modern instrument is the evolution of the basic instrument. A pierced sheep’s shinbone is used because of its practicity and diffusion in the areas where the shepherds were. Different geographic areas (all around the mediterrenena sea) have developed different models but each with the same characteristic sack and canes. It is hard therefore to establish the fatherhood of the zampogna.


Among other traditional instruments of Abruzzo putipù, triccheballacche and tamburello need to be mentioned.




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