SONGWRITING AND SINGER SONGWRITERS
This section of the portal focuses on songwriters: lyricists, composers, or both. In many cases, however, the figure of the lyricist coincides with that of the interpreter, and in Italy this overlapping role has generated a neologism that has no equivalent in other languages: cantautore, or singer songwriter. Singer songwriters sing their own songs, as well as writing the lyrics and the music. Although they already existed in the 1920s, these artists – whose talent encompasses song and poetry – fully emerged in the 1960s and began to occupy a central place in the music industry in the 1970s, when they represented the main alternative to international pop and rock. Singer songwriters cracked a mechanism that had always been at the foundation of song production: the tripartite division between composer, songwriter and interpreter. But above all, they have played, at some stages of Italian history, a messianic role for young audiences, who turned to them to find answers that were denied elsewhere (at school, in the family, at work). Song writing aspires to rise above the average, intended as a serial product for a mass audience. It therefore pursues its own original poetry through the use of less conventional language, music, timbre and less stereotyped arrangements. The folksingers with guitar and vocals and existentialist chansonniers that were a prominent feature of the 1950s and 60s have now been replaced by figures more in tune with pop music trends. Thus the ground-breaking role that many songwriters have played in the past is vanishing, ending a historical phase in which songs automatically expressed a vision of the world. The section also features songs produced by famous pairs (lyricists and composers) or single figures (lyricists/composers) whose production is similar to that of songwriters or, conversely, tends towards the exact opposite, that is, churning out hits.