Abbasalìa, music from Sardinia



Copyright © Maurizio Puxeddu (1996/2000)

The album entitled ABBASALÌA collects some musical pieces for piano, as they were improvised and recorded by Maurizio Puxeddu between 1996 and 2000. It was a preparatory work for something more articulated and complex, a bit like when a painter makes a first sketch, in pencil, pen or charcoal, of the work he intends to create in its entirety. Often, in these sketches there is all the pathos and the meaning of what we could perceive in the work that will eventually be created. We find the freshness of the creative and expressive act.

The recording took place with a piano, exactly with the same original instrument on which the pieces were conceived and composed. In the following years, various arrangements of these music were then prepared, for live musical performances in the following musical projects:

1996 – Aterusonus – Maurizio Puxeddu (launeddas, piano), Alessandro Garau (percussion), Adriano Orrù (double-bass)
1999 – The new launeddas – Maurizio Puxeddu (launeddas, accordion), Silvia Corda (piano), Adriano Orrù (double-bass), Massimo Cappai (soprano sax), Alessandro Corona (drum, percussion)
2000 – Intrecci – Maurizio Puxeddu (direction, composition, launeddas, piano, sound inventions, electronics), Enrico Di Felice (flutes), Roberto Pellegrini (percussion)
2000 – Mediterranea – Maurizio Puxeddu, Silvia Corda, Adriano Orrù, Roberto Pellegrini
2001 – Mediterranea – Maurizio Puxeddu (direction, composition, launeddas, piano), Enrico Di Felice (flutes), Roberto Pellegrini (percussion)
2002 – Keepers of the time – Maurizio Puxeddu (direction, composition and arrangements, piano, Sardinian guitar, bena ‘e corru, pitiolus), Gianluigi Trovesi (clarinets), Coro a Tenore “San Gavino” di Oniferi, Rossella Faa (voice), Enrico Di Felice (flute), Massimo Cappai (sax), Nicola Piras (sax), Giuseppe Orrù (launeddas), Renzo Zucca (launeddas), Fabrizio Meloni (cello), Pierpaolo Cardia (synth), Alberto Cabiddu (percussion), Alessandro Corona (drum), Massimo Tore (double-bass)

What you will hear on this album, finalized and released in 2020, are not the subsequent elaborations, but the original themes and sound developments.


1. Gaia (3’49”)
2. Wind and sea (5’37”)
3. Ballu tundu (4’38”)
4. Istedda (5’14”)
5. Bardana (4’34”)
6. Namuhni (2’50”)
7. Slavo meditation (2’48”)
8. Nurake (3’15”)
9. Remote dance (3’46”)
10. Mariazioni (9’42”)

Copyright © Maurizio Puxeddu (1996/2000)

Maurizio Puxeddu: Piano

Compositions by Maurizio Puxeddu
Audio and graphic editing by M.Puxeddu

For audio editing, the following were used:
(2020) PRESONUS Studio One 4 Professional, PRESONUS StudioLive 32 III, PRESONUS Eris 5, Bowers & Wilkins 601 S2.

The piano used is a GENERALMUSIC Real Piano PRO 2.

In Gaia and Remote dance a delay was used in real time.

For the choice of the cover, I thank Enrico Di Felice because, advising me to rotate the inverted color photo I had submitted to him vertically, he turned on the light bulb. Look, it looks like a sea with foaming waves. Graphics also play their part and should have contextual meaning.



“… fundamental was the collaboration of the musician Maurizio Puxeddu who created the sound effects and composed the original music, which support the entire stage set, created following the evolution of the show, interacting with it to ensure that creativity was in total harmony with the individual scenes. ”

Gianfranco Angei (director)

Copyright © Maurizio Puxeddu (2002)

Notes on music

The musical work for the show PARISTORIA has drawn fully on the research I have been doing in Sardinia (for over fifteen years now) on the ethnic musical instruments of our island culture. In this research there are two main strands: the first relating to the recovery of tradition, the second based on innovation. Some results, finding a natural harmony with the work of the Actores Alidos, have therefore flowed into the realization of the music necessary for the show in question.

Sardinian instruments, like my original music, not forgetting the accumulation of cultures with which the Sardinians have dealt, adhere (I don’t like to say that they bend) to the needs of the scene, suggesting resolutions or emphasizing magical settings, supported by other ethnic Mediterranean instruments and electronic instruments: launeddas, sulittu, benas ‘e corru, tumbarinu’ and Gavoi, triangulu, ischiglittos, pitiolus, crocorigas, darbuka, bendir, accordion, piano, transverse flutes, synthesizers, are all the tools used in this work.

Torchlight dance

And then, incredibly, the sound of su sulittu, the reed flute of Sardinia, weaving memories of distant melodies, in the scene of the Sartiglia, it hisses and winds, or, by choice, but it seems almost by scenic suggestion, horse neigh .

The launeddas that traditionally play in “major”, cheerful and joyful, for the scene of the Duel and the Love Encounter, in order to make the atmosphere dramatic through the “minor key”, are modified by combining different “reeds” coming from different cunzertu.

Dreamy atmospheres also for the Dance of the torches where su tumbarinu ‘and Gavoi, played with an unconventional technique (i.e. hitting the skin membrane with your fingers), creates a sound carpet, together with piano and synthesizer, on which rests the melody of a transverse flute with a soft sound.

Around the fire
The good ‘e corru, in the scene of the ritual dance, draws a simple yet effective melody with a Mediterranean flavor supported by a strong percussive rhythm, while, in the solitary Sardinian women scene, it launches painful calls.

But sometimes the compositional wisdom has to step aside, leaving room for noise and sound effects. The job of the composer musician becomes a balancing act, a matter of taste in the choice of the piece of ambient noise to be used, in the editing of the various recordings, cut and glued thanks to the computer, until it becomes what seems normal to us when listening. “worked”.

It was fun to record the crickets in Sant’Isidoro, going specifically to interview these cute little animals, or the voices of children, in a kindergarten in Cagliari, unaware of their theatrical audio debut.

Maurizio Puxeddu (composer)

Launeddas in “Lintu e pintu” by Mario Medas

LINTU E PINTU (1992/93)
Theatrical text: Mario Medas
Directed by: Gianluca Medas
Soundtrack: Maurizio Puxeddu

LINTU E PINTU is a theatrical show in Sardinian language, the text is by Mario Medas (great actor and author of Sardinian theater), staged by the Associazione Figli d’Arte Medas under the direction of Gianluca Medas.

For this show (I signed the soundtrack) there was the need to create different atmospheres, melancholic, gloomy, sweet, containing and scanning the theatrical performance. There is also the use of launeddas, modified to be able to play in a minor key (traditional launeddas play in a major key). Most of the original music of the show refer to melodic / rhythmic cells of traditional Sardinian music.

You can listen launeddas instrument at the following minutes:
23:43 Eugenia (Launeddas original music )
36:18 Cecilia (Launeddas original music )

In addition to the sounds recorded with some acoustic instruments, such as launeddas and classic guitar, there are many synthetic sounds deriving from synthesizers and sound production modules (ROLAND D50, E-MU SYSTEM Proteus / 1) and the use of an effects processor YAMAHA SPX 50D to make the main character’s voice of consciousness (played by Mario Medas).

The music preparation work was carried out in close contact with Gianluca (the director) and Mario Medas, reading and rereading the script to understand its structure and where original music was needed. During the rehearsals I used to bring the musical samples to verify the goodness of the music, to understand its length and the expressive intensity needed. After the approval I moved on to the final realization of the tracks. A part of this musical work consisted in the realization of the voice of conscience of Ziu Basili (Mario Medas), which took the name of “Su stromingiu”, recorded by Mario Medas himself. In the show, the voice of conscience (recorded) dialogues with Ziu Basili (who performs live). This fact, having to dialogue with a recorded voice, often makes it difficult to realize the timings and inflections of the voices in the blow and response of the dialogues. During the recording sessions I was amazed how Mario resolved the issue in an exceptional way. In fact, it was as if he were giving the voice to a cartoon character of a large production, with spectacular voice inflections, imagining the answers or how he would dialogue live with the character Su stromingiu.

Maurizio Puxeddu (composer)

Characters and performers

Ziu Basili: Mario Medas
Ziu Basili giovane: Damiano Oghittu
Madre di Ziu Basili: Teresa Podda
Callistu (figlio di Ziu Basili): Giulio Landis
Nuora: Frida De Palmas
Nipote: Noemi Medas
Nipote: Sara Medas
Cecilia: Fatima “Mimma” Medas
Infermiere: Salvatore
Su stromingiu: Linda De Palmas (burattinaia) / voce registrata da Mario Medas

CECILIA – For Launeddas in minor key – Maurizio Puxeddu
From soundtrack of “Lintu e pintu” (1992)

The musical piece CECILIA opens with a small introduction, of only two bars, which is followed by a simple melancholic melodic theme that is repeated three times, whose closings diversify, and then closes on the third repetition. Resuming for three more repetitions, but with the varied theme, the theme also ends this time on the third repetition. The same theme is changed twice only, which therefore omits the third repetition, in its place a small variation of the Bb pedal (with Bb Do three times) which closes the piece. The launeddas used are a Punt”e Organu in Bb with the third (Re brought to Reb) lowered by a semitone in the Mancosedda. La Mancosa plays a F pedal and the Tumbu the B pedal.

EUGENIA – For Launeddas in minor key – Maurizio Puxeddu
From soundtrack of “Lintu e pintu” (1992) 

Even the piece of music EUGENIA opens with a small introduction (of only three bars), which is followed by a slightly rhythmic terced theme in 6/8, which closes with a response in contrast to Dela Mancosa. The launeddas used are a Punt”e Organu in Bb with the third (Re brought to Reb) lowered by a semitone in the Mancosedda, in the Mancosa there is the lowering of the VII degree (La brought to Lab) and the Tumbu produces a pedal of Sib.

Launeddas in B’at una femina by Piero Marras

by Piero Marras

Launeddas: Maurizio Puxeddu 

Also in the song B’at una femina (musical album TUMBU – 1995), Piero Marras wanted the launeddas to color a part of the song, making me use the launeddas in a different way from the classic and traditional one. Find out where in the song launeddas can be heard.

Launeddas in Sa oghe ‘e Maria by Piero Marras

SA OGHE ‘E MARIA from TUMBU by Piero Marras
Launeddas: Maurizio Puxeddu 

In Sa oghe ‘e Maria, the piece by Piero Marras dedicated to the famous Sardinian singer Maria Carta, in the music album TUMBU, I played launeddas, inventing and improvising melodic lines that adapted to the harmonies of the song, not always in keeping with the possibilities traditional launeddas. Find out where in the song launeddas can be heard.

Su corru ‘e boe in Tumbu by Piero Marras

by Piero Marras

Corru ‘e boe: Maurizio Puxeddu 

In 1994/95 I received a phone call from Piero Marras. Those were years in which I carried out intense dissemination activities in schools and municipalities in Sardinia with the exhibition / conference of traditional Sardinian and Mediterranean instruments called “AMMENTOS DE SONOS – Mostra sonora itinerante di strumenti musicali sardi”. Piero asks me to participate with traditional Sardinian instruments in the recording of some sounds for his next record work. I bring the instruments, a small representation, in the recording studio in Sassari and Piero seeing the ox horn, su corru ‘e boi, he chooses to insert it as the first sound of the album TUMBU in the track ISTRALES. Here is the track.

Is launeddas

When you return to Sardinia after years of distance from the island you have understandable emotions and very strong sensations. Every Sardinian knows what it means, on his return, to feel the wild scents of his land, he knows how it feels to observe the open and natural spaces, not fenced (the choice is wide, between sea, mountains, hills, lakes, rivers ), all of which can be used a few kilometers from the town or village centers. Not to mention the gastronomy, the people, the customs and traditions, the culture deeply rooted and felt by the Sardinians, the music.

On the occasion of my recent visit to Sardinia, thanks to my past as a popularizer, musician and composer, I was invited by the ISCANDULA Association to hold a conference on the launeddas, on the Danish researcher WFABentzon who in 1969 published THE LAUNEDDAS, works in two volumes, deriving from his research on the autochthonous island instrument, between ’56 and ’69. The relative projection of the documentary film “IS LAUNEDDAS – La musica dei sardi” by Fiorenzo Serra, produced by Dante Olianas, made up of films by Bentzon himself, formed the core of the initiative.

At the end of the meeting I was able to perceive and verify, thanks to the many questions from the audience, very specific and relevant, the profound interest of the listeners towards the topic presented: the launeddas.

I feel that there is a renewed interest in young people, towards the music of Sardinia, a music with a capital M, still not understood by everyone. I was very heartened to see the listeners attentive and involved and who have given me back an important energy.
Thank you all

26 febbraio 2020
Associazione ISCANDULA
CPIA1 Cagliari – Sede di SESTU (CA)
Prof.ssa Tiziana Pireddu

Relatore: Maurizio Puxeddu

Le launeddas
Il ricercatore W.F.A.Bentzon
Proiezione del film documentario IS LAUNEDDAS
Esercizi pratici con la respirazione circolare
Domande del pubblico

ISLANDS – Musical performance by Maurizio Puxeddu for ILLADOR

ISLANDS – Musical performance by Maurizio Puxeddu
Traditional Sardinian musical instruments used: launeddas, sulittu, bena, bena ‘e corru, ghitarra, corru marinu, trunfa, pitiolus, ischiglittos

It is an initiative created within the ILLADOR photographic exhibition by Marina Anedda, set up in suggestive contexts.

“Retracing the places described by the German philosopher Ernst Jünger, who in 1954, during a trip to Sardinia, stopped in Villasimius, fascinated by the primeval essence of the place, the author of “Illador”, through intense photographic research he autonomously reinterprets the the work of the philosopher, using black and white to prevent the use of color from altering the philological sense of the operation.”

SPOLETO – 12 July 2002
in conjunction with the Festival of Two Worlds

TORTOLI ‘ – September 14, 2002
Museum of Contemporary Art Su Logu De S’Iscultura

Spoleto – Maurizio Puxeddu with sardinian guitar

A text of almost twenty years ago, from 2002, accompanying the performance.


Il primo pensiero va’ all’acqua.
Che lambisce le terre.
Acqua di mare duro contro la roccia.

Instancabile nel sovrumano scontro all’ultimo grano di materia,
all’ultima goccia di lagrima salina.
Dove l’abisso si prende la rivincita,
su quei natali incandescenti ed infuocati.
Di eruzioni e di lave.
Fumanti di liquido esalato.
Con molta calma, dando tempo al tempo.
Nei secoli e nei millenni. Erodendo.
Perché la roccia, ormai raffreddata,
non può fuggire e avere scampo.
L’acqua. Trova la sua vendetta.
Nelle isole il tempo è un altro.

Scoprendole sulla linea del tramonto
mutano in approdo di cabotaggi stanchi.
Riferimento per navigatori di antiche rotte.
nella perdita dell’orizzonte liquido.
Poi si aprono mondi interni.
Possibili spazi limitati e limitanti,
ma profondi di conoscenza del se.
Dove scavare interiormente.
Quelle più piccole,
si contengono in uno sguardo.
La loro storia, in un pensiero,
in una sensazione.
Dalla creazione all’oggi.
Quelle più grandi,
ricche di storie tortuose,
riempiono i polmoni di vento profumato.
Generose di sole.
Ma tutte hanno il sentore
della condivisione
della particolare condizione geografica con gli altri, che vivono in altre isole.
Solitudine e separazione,
mista a condivisione.
Situazione ricercabile.
Consapevolezza del non essere solo.
Nelle isole il tempo è un altro.

Ma il primo pensiero va’ all’acqua.
Che lambisce le terre.

Abbasalìa, I can’t even read it!

When you read the title Abbasalìa you have the feeling of facing an unknown word and not knowing where to place the accent. It is like when you enter the water, the sea, and you go a little further where it is not touched. The water supports you but not too much, you falter.

It’s like walking on the tightrope rope. You have to decide in fractions of a second where and how to put the weight of your body balancing it with open arms, under penalty of the most ruinous fall.

Reading the title Abbasalìa makes your neurons move, because you also start asking yourself “what will it mean?”.

And try to decline the term with different inflections and accents, trying to reason about its specific and etymological origin: Abbasàlia, Abbàsalìa, Àbbasàlia, Abbasalià, Àbbasalìa …

I like this so much. 🙂

Musical instruments on Ritual Dance

Musical instruments on Ritual Dance

Bena ‘e corru – It is a reed aerophone, built in cane and ox horn. The use of ox horn as a bell in the terminal part projects the sound and makes it more nasal and characteristic.

Dholak – It is a double skin drum (India and Pakistan), with a shaft turned in a single block of wood, the largest mouth mounts a skin weighed down internally by a dark paste (siahi), typical of Indian drums, which allows its variability in height.

Tumbarinu ‘e Gavoi – Large drum, double skin, traditionally played with wooden sticks, in the recording instead bare hands were used to make the sound softer and warmer.

Darbuka – Chalice drum, typical of North Africa, Syria and Turkey. In the recording its characteristic sounds are very present and high, unmistakable.

Roland D50 – The historic Roland polyphonic synthesizer, in vogue between the 80s and 90s, used here with a particular timbre, which takes the place of a section of synthetic strings or a choir, in long harmonies or pedals.