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A player of the launeddas

The launeddas (also called triple clarinet or triplepipe) is a typical Sardinian woodwind instrument, consisting of three pipes. It is polyphonic and played using circular breathing. An ancient instrument, dating back to at least the 8th century BC [1], launeddas are still played during religious ceremonies and dances (su ballu).[2] Distinctively, they are played using extensive variations on a few melodic phrases, and a single song can last over an hour, producing some of the "most elemental and resonant (sounds) in European music".[2]

Launeddas are used to play a complex style of music that has achieved some international attention, especially Efisio Melis, Antonio Lara, Dionigi Burranca and Luigi Lai. Melis and Lara were the biggest stars of the 1930s golden age of launedda, and each taught their style to apprentices like Lara's Aureliu Porcu.[3]

A launeddas

Launeddas consist of three reed pipes, two five-holed chanters of different lengths and one drone. They are played using circular breathing.[3]

Closeup of the reeds of a launeddas

Since the late 20th century the launeddas has also been used in non-traditional contexts. In 1990, the American jazz saxophonist Dave Liebman released a CD called The Blessing of the Old. Long Sound, on which he collaborates with the launeddas players Alberto Mariani, Carlo Mariani, and Dionigi Burranca. The CD was recorded in Milan in November 1989. In 1996, the British free jazz saxophonist Evan Parker released a double-CD collaboration with Carlo Mariani and other world musicians entitled Synergetics--Phonomanie III, which was recorded in Ulrichsberg, Austria in September 1993.



  • "Franco Melis". Musical Traditions Internet Magazine. URL accessed on 26 August 2005.
  • Surian, Alesso. "Tenores and Tarantellas". 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East, pp 189-201. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 1-85828-636-0
  • F. W. Bentzon, The Launeddas. A Sardinian folk music instrument (2 voll. Acta Musicologica Danica n°1), Akademisk Forlag, Copenaghen, 1969
  • F. W. Bentzon, Launeddas, Cagliari, 2002 ISBN: 8888998004


  1. ^ Surian, pg. 190 Surian calls the launedda very ancient, appearing on votive statues from the 8th century BC.
  2. ^ a b Surian, pg. 190
  3. ^ a b Musical Traditions Internet Magazine

Further reading

  • F. W. Bentzon, The Launeddas. A Sardinian folk music instrument (2 voll. Acta Musicologica Danica n°1), Akademisk Forlag, Copenaghen, 1969.
  • F. W. Bentzon, Launeddas, Cagliari, 2002 ISBN 8888998004.
  • "Launeddas, et sardisk folkemusikinstrument." F. W. BENTZON. (Dansk Musik-tidsskrift, Copenhagen, May, 1961, No. 3, pp.97-105.
  • Bernard Lortat-Jacob (1982). "Theory and 'Bricolage': Attilio Cannargiu's Temperament", Yearbook for Traditional Music, Vol. 14, pp. 45-54.


  • Efisio Melis and Antonio Lara - Launeddas (2001), cited in Robert Andrews (2007). The Rough Guide to Sardinia, p.335. 3rd edition. ISBN 1843537419.

External links


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