A website by Barnaby Brown

Sardinian Heritage

Sardinian launeddas players are guardians of one of the richest orally-transmitted traditions in Europe. This page showcases their musical inheritance as it stood in the mid-twentieth century: a conservative perspective on a tradition that continues to evolve.

Eight different instruments, or cunsertus, are used. Each has a unique repertoire and sound, formed by the combination of three drone tones and the selection of notes on each chanter. A cunsertus can be made in any key within a range of about a fifth, a limitation imposed only by the size of the player's hands.

Each instrument's capabilities and characteristics are surveyed in the following excerpts, mostly from 1959 recordings made by Andreas Bentzon.


Efisio Melis (Bentzon 17: nodas 22-35)

Punt''e organu

Pasquale Erriu (Bentzon 21: nodas 7-17)
Franziscu Castangia voce & Giovanni Lai (Bentzon 48)


Dionigi Burranca (Bentzon 23: nodas 12-19)
Salvatore Murtas voce & Giovanni Lai (Bentzon 49)

Mediana a pipia

Antonio Lara (Bentzon 26: nodas 35-47)
Michele Madeddu voce & Giovanni Casu (Bentzon 52)

Spinellu a pipia

Aurelio Porcu (Bentzon 27)
Angelo Pili voce & Dionigi Burranca (Bentzon 46)


Antonio Lara (Bentzon 28: nodas 13-22)

Fiuda bagadia

Efisio Melis (Bentzon 29: 37-46)
Luigi Lai (1997: Canne in Armonia)


Efisio Melis (Bentzon 30: 0-6)

Further Reading

Andreas F.W. Bentzon 1969 — The Launeddas

Giampaolo Lallai, ed. 1997 — Launeddas

Gian Nicola Spanu 1994 — Sonos: Strumenti della Musica Popolare Sarda

This page first published 30 Dec 2007
Supported by The Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama
Contact: barnaby(at) +44 (0)78 1000 1377