The Extemporary Poetry
Widespread in various areas of the world, the extemporary poetry is never shouted nor recited, but singed with different techniques. A combination of music and words, made unique by his extemporaneous nature, the improvisation and the performance.
In Sardinian tradition there are four different kinds of extemporary poetry, Logudorese a otadas (octaves), Campidanese a mutetus e versus, a s' arrepentina and a mutos. Each of them has a different and specific poetic code, way to be performed, area of diffusion, authorities and great poets, both in past and present times. The most important thing is the performance: "Sa gara" (the contest). The Poets must follow a rigid code of conduct and challenge themselves, on a stage, in long duels based on complex metrics and formal patterns. The contest, depending on which kind of poetry is performed, is accompanied by guttural songs (Logudorese and Campidanese) or musical instruments like guitar, diatonic accordion and accordion (a versus campidanese, arrepentina e mutos).
During the nineteenth century, these contests were one of the main events during the feasts in our towns, involving a vast, passionate e competent audience, that was in fact a indispensable part of the performance itself. Accounts of the duels between the most famous poets still exist today, in form of transcripts, printings and later on amateur recordings.
Signs of decadence, due to the rise of more modern and contemporary forms of expression can't be denied, but extemporary poetry is still alive and has a following, especially in some areas of the island. Young people is still discovering it, thanks to a new awareness of the cultural/identity values and the appeal that oral poetry has on scholars of different disciplines (ethnomusicologists, linguists etc.).