Monday Notes

Luigi Tenco, Ti ricorderai. The Italian song that turns to jazz

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Leggi in Italiano

[Monday Notes n.25] Luigi Tenco was a unique case in the history of Italian song. He was an excellent composer but also a musician, lyricist and performer. None of his contemporary Italian songwriters had qualities comparable to his. Let us analyse his ballad Ti ricorderai.

Luigi Tenco was drawn to Nat King Cole as a singer, Paul Desmond as a saxophonist, and Cesare Pavese for his lyrics. In his compositions there is a strong imprint of American music, while the lyrics often contain an anti-conformist character and social criticism.

Ti ricorderai is a jazz-inspired ballad, the melody performs a descending octave movement, starting from the major 7th of B♭ chord at measure 1 and reaching at measure 2 the major 9th of the Gm7 chord. For example, look for a similarly daring melodic movement in any Gino Paoli song: you won’t find anything similar.

Luigi Tenco, ti ricorderai. The first part.
Luigi Tenco, ti ricorderai. The first part.

The piece is also interesting from the perspective of metrics. While jazz standards often use the typical AABA form with each section of 8 measures, Tenco’s composition employs an unusual AABAA structure, where the A sections have a duration of 6 measures each.

The piece as a whole still has a form of 32 measures, but subdivided internally in an original way. Once again, Luigi Tenco is an original and unconventional composer.

The piece is adorned with a superb arrangement, at the beginning you can appreciate an upper pedal, i.e. the F note played by the violins resonates for a long time in the high register, despite the chords changing repeatedly.

Overshadowed by his sad biography, Luigi Tenco’s songs are often absolutely perfect miniatures, just like Ti ricorderai, which is not among his best-known songs, perhaps because it is musically very sophisticated. Ti ricorderai is one of Tenco’s songs closest to the jazz repertoire, and it does not disfigure at all when compared to the songs of the great American composers.

Until next Monday!

Download the score of Ti ricorderai – Luigi Tenco

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