Folk music is a fundamental and important part in the cultural heritage of Italy. Italian music covers a wide range of styles, dances, and instruments. Over time, Italian music has taken elements from Western European cultures that have dominated or influenced the country, including the music of Germany, Greece, France, and Spain. The opera is undoubtedly a fundamental part of the musical culture of Italy. Opera was first developed in the 16th century—and taking advantage of innovation in the musical scale, notation, harmony, and theatrical music, the opera genre soon became the pride of Italy In the early twentieth century, the Italian classical music style developed a distinctive national sound characterized as melodic and romantic songs. This style is typified by the operas of Verdi.