The group of Fifes and Drums of the City of Ivrea seems to derive from the ancient tradition of Ivrea districts’ carnivals of
15th and 16th century, some pieces of their repertoire bear the names of the five different parishes of the old quarters of the city.
The music is also due to the ancient tradition of military bands that accompanied armies through the countryside of Europe.
Once lost the military connotation, this musical accompaniment, was adopted to give rhythm to the pace of a carnival procession,
composed in the mid '800 mostly by people in military uniform and of modest proportions.
At the beginning of the 20th century the Group consisted of few musicians, who appear in rare photos: only three or four fifers
and drummers, some in civilian clothes. But in 1908, the centenary edition of the Carnival, the group was composed by a macebearer,
five pipers, five drummers, a bass drum carrier and a bass drum player. In that period the "Committee for the reorganization of the
fifes and drums" was formed by the music teacher Angelo Burbatti, transcriber of all the music, by Pietro Cavallo and Nicola Viglio.
The group of Fifes and Drums of the City of Ivrea 1906
Over time the number of players increased until, in the years following the First World War, it reached the number of 6/8 fifers,
and 8/10drummers, in addition to the bass drum carrier and the player. This headcount has remained largely unchanged since very
recently and currently includes 15 fifes, 15 drummers, the carrier and the player of the bass drum.
Some sonatas of the repertoire were inspired by the marches of the Piedmontese army led by the Prince Emanuele Filiberto, restorer
of the Savoy State in the sixteenth century. Then other pieces were added to the repertoire: the “Monferrine”, cheerful and lively
folk dances of Piedmont, some marches typical of the Napoleonic period and other music of Risorgimento (the period of Italy’s
unification, dated 1861).
The bond between the Group and the historic Carnival of Ivrea is indissoluble, the Group is the soundtrack of the party.
There’s no doubt that the Fifes and Drums are the most loved and followed component of the Carnival of Ivrea, their following
has increased from year to year and now involves thousands of people of all ages.
On the official memorandum of the Carnival, that relates the highlights of the ceremony, was reported that "without the music
of this precious group, the Carnival of Ivrea could not begin nor end."
They is "a heritage to which all Ivrea and Canavese are linked with great feeling of affection and identification."