Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/75

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��generally danced by a man and a woman, but sometimes by two women alone, who often play castagnets and a tambourine. It Was formerly sung, but this is seldom the case now. The Tarantella has obtained a fictitious interest from the idea that by means of dancing it a strange kind of insanity, attributed to the effects of the bite of the Lycosa Tarantula, the largest of European spiders, could alone be cured. It is certain that a disease known as Tarantism prevailed in South Italy to an extraordinary ex- tent, during the i5th, i6th, and I7th centuries, if not later, and that this disease which seems to have been a kind of hysteria, like the St. Vitus dance epidemic in Germany at an earlier date was apparently only curable by means of the continued exercise of dancing the Tarantella; but that the real cause of the affection was the bite of the spider is very improbable, later experiments having shown that it is no more poisonous than the sting of a wasp. The first extant notice of Tarantism is in Niccolo Perotto's 'Cornucopia Linguae Latinse' (p. 20 o, ed. 1489). During the i6th century the epidemic was at its height, and bands of musi- cians traversed the country to play the music which was the only healing medicine. The forms which the madness took were very various : some were seized with a violent craving for water, so that they were with difficulty pre- vented from throwing themselves into the sea, others were strangely affected by different colours, and all exhibited the most extravagant and out- rageous contortions. The different forms which the disease assumed were cured by means of different airs, to which the Tarantists the name by which the patients were known were made to dance until they often dropped down with exhaustion. The epidemic seems only to have raged in the summer months, and it is said that those who had been once attacked by it were always liable to a return of the disease. Most of the songs, both words and music, which were used to cure Tarantism, no longer exist, but the Jesuit Kircher, in his 'Magnes' (Rome, 1641), book III, cap. viii., has preserved a few speci- mens. He says that the Tarantellas of his day were mostly rustic extemporisations, but the airs he gives (which are printed in Mendel's Lexicon, sub voce Tarantella) are written in the Ecclesi- astical Modes, and with one exception in common time. They bear no resemblance to the tripping melodies of the modern dance. 1 Kircher' s work contains an engraving of the Tarantula in two positions, with a map of the region where it is found, and the following air, entitled 'Antidotum Tarantulas,' which is also to be found in Jones's 'Maltese Melodies' (London, 1805) and in vol. ii. of Stafford Smith's 'Musica Antiqua' (1812), where it is said to be derived from Zimmermann's 'Florilegium.' 3

It has been suggested that these fragments of melodies for they are little more are ancient Greek tunes handed down traditionally in Taranto.

a In Mazella's BalH, Correnti,' etc., (Rome. 1689). is a Tarantella In common time in the form of a short air with ' partite,' or variations. Mattheson (Vollkomener Kapellmeister, 1739) says there is one in the ' Quintessence des Nouvelles ' for 1727.


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���For further information on this curious sub- ject we must refer the reader to the following works :

N. Perotto, 'Cornucopia' (Venice, 14SO); A. Kircher, 'Magnes' (Home, 1641); 'Musurgia' (Home, 1650) ; Her- mann Grube, 'De Ictu Tarantulao' (Frankfurt, 167'.)) ;. G. Baglivi, ' De Praxi Medica ' (Eome, 1600) ; Dr. Peter Shaw, 'New Practice of Physic,' vol. i. (London, 172C) ; Fr. Serao. ' Delia Tarantola/ (Eome, 1742)- Dr. K. Mead, ' Mechanical account of Poisons' (3rd ed., London, 1745) ; J. D. Tietz,'Von den Wirkungen der T8ne aufden mensch- lichen Korper' (in Justi's 'NeuenWahrheiten,' Leipzig, 1745) ; P. J. Buc'hoz, ' L'art de connaitre et de designer Ic pouls par les notes de la musique ' (Paris, 1806) ; J. F. E. Hecker, 'Die Tanzwuth' (Berlin, 1832); A. Vergari, ' Tarantismo ' (Naples, 1831) ) ; De Reuzi, in ' Eaccoglitore Medico' for 1842; C. Engel, 'Musical Myths,' vol. ii. (London, 1876).

The Tarantella has been used by many modern composers. Auber has introduced it in ' La Muette de Portici,' Weber in his E minor Sonata, Thalberg wrote one for Piano, and Rossini a vocal Tarantella ' La Danza ' (said to have been com- posed for Lablache) the opening bars of which are here given :

���a re chl e in amor non man - che - ra, etc.

One of the finest examples is in the Finale to Mendelssohn's Italian Symphony, where it is mixed up with a Saltarello in the most effective and clever manner. Good descriptions of the dance will be found in Mme. de StaeTs 'Corinne ' (Book VI. ch. i.), Mercier Dupaty's ' Lettres sur 1'Italie' (1797), and Goethe's 'Fragmente uber Italien.' It was danced on the stage with great success by Cotellini (1783-1785) at the Teatro dei Fiorentini at Naples, and in our own day by the late Charles Matthews. [W.B.S.]

TARARE. Opera, in prologue and 5 acts (afterwards 3 acts) ; words by Beaumarchais, music by Salieri. Produced at the Grand Ope*ra June 8, 1787. Translated into Italian (with many changes of text and music) as * Axur, Re d'Ormus,' for the betrothal of the Archduke Franz with Princess Elizabeth of Wurtemberg at Vienna, Jan. 8, 1788. Produced in English as 'Tarrare, the Tartar Chief,' at the English, Opera House, London, Aug. 15, 1825. [""]

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