Traditional music includes opera, which began in the 16th century, and classical music. Italian folk music is an important part of the country’s musical heritage. Many of the regions in Italy have their own style, instruments and dancers. Italy has a long history of church music since 90% of the nation is Catholic. Early ballet was accompanied by horns, trombones, kettle drums, dulcimers and bagpipes. Italian folk songs, ballads, lyrical songs, lullabies and other children’s songs, seasonal and special occasion songs, and songs dealing with certain professions. It was common for fishermen, shepherds and soldiers to have their own songs. Yodeling in northern Italy is a type of folk music, too.
Some traditional musical instruments include the folk accordion, folk flutes and bagpipes. The zampogna bagpipe is usually played at Christmastime. The quartara is a wind instrument. You blow across the opening at the top. It is played mostly in the south of Italy. The tamburini like a modern day tambourine is a percussion instrument. The scacciapensieri is a mouth harp. This instrument is played only in northern Italy and in Sicily.