O Sole Mio is actually not standard Italian. Neapolitan is the language of the city of Naples and all the surrounding area in the Region of Campania. Italian and Neapolitan resemble each other to some degree linguistically. But there are notable grammatical differences such as neuter-form nouns, unique plural formation, and historical phonological developments differing from traditional Italian.
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o sole Mio
What a beautiful thing is a sunny day! The air is serene after a storm, The air is so fresh that it already feels like a celebration. Your window panes shine; A laundress is singing and boasting about it; And while she's wringing the clothes, hanging them up to dry, and singing, Your window panes shine. When night comes and the sun has gone down, I almost start feeling melancholy; I'd stay below your window When night comes and the sun has gone down. According to the traditional account, di Capua had composed it in April in Odessa , while touring with his father's band. In October , Maria Alvau, a judge in Turin , upheld the declaration, ruling that Mazzucchi had indeed been a legitimate co-composer of the 18 songs, because they included melodies he had composed and then sold to di Capua in June of , with a written authorisation for the latter to make free use of them.
by Eduardo di Capua
But who wrote it, and what are the lyrics? Written by Giovanni Capurro, its Neapolitan lyrics rhapsodise about the beauty of a sunny day, creating an enviable picture of southern Italy in the sunshine. But the melody is known and understood worldwide, having been used in English cover versions by Elvis Presley, Tony Martin and perhaps most famously, in an advert for Cornetto ice cream. But after 75 years, it turned out that the melody in fact was an elaboration of a song which di Capua had bought from another musician, Alfredo Mazzucchi, the previous year. In October , a judge in Turin ruled that Mazzucchi was a legitimate co-composer of the 18 songs, because they included melodies he had composed and sold to di Capua. It was also famously performed by Enrico Caruso. In , it was named the catchiest jingle of all time, with 45 per cent of British adults claiming it pops into their heads against their will. What a beautiful thing is a sunny day!
They then sold the song to the music publisher Bidieri for 25 lire! Firstly the original Neapolitan text :. I love the way in which the text is exposed; especially for us folk who are unfamiliar with la lingua napoletana. Thank you for sharing.