HISTORY OF SOUTHERN ITALIAN MUSIC: TARANTELLA
During a recent trip to southern Puglia (Salento), I experienced traditional Tarantella music. Sure, I’ve heard it before in movies, but actually being in Italy to observe the musicians and dancers made my heart experience sensations it has never known. It was inspirational, and gave me a deeper appreciation for not only southern Italy, but also music therapy. Even more than that, it got me hooked, like Ulysses and the Sirens.
The history of Tarantella is fascinating. Dating back centuries, likely with Greek influences from prior to the Roman empire, the music was originally used to heal sick people suffering from hysteric behaviors. Transforming over time, Tarantella music today has become a fashion, and a part of southern Italy’s pop-culture.
I recently interviewed Italian music expert, Salvatore Gervasi, of Centro di Cultura Popolare in Melpignano, Italy. According to Salvatore, the proper Tarantella instruments include tambourines, castanets, accordions, violins, guitars, tricchebballacche, putipu, lavaturo, violino dei poveri, cucchiare, fischiotto, zigde-zagde, harmonicas, and mandolins.
Further, in southern Puglia, the local version of Tarantella is called “Pizzica”, and there are now three versions of Pizzica performed, in addition to the traditional Tarantata form: Pizzica of Love; Pizzica Pizzica; and Sword Pizzica. Others parts of southern Italy have their own variations, which Salvatore outlines in his interview.
I recorded the interview and put together two videos (an English and Italian version) for my viewers to enjoy, which include presentations by Salvatore Gervasi and Gabriella Pappadà, both of Salento, and a few music clips of the Tarantella music. I hope you all enjoy them below.
March 23, 2022
June 25, 2021
June 07, 2021