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How to de-stub[edit]

This atricle deserves a MAJOR rewrite, as it is pathetically small in size and content.

Here are some links to begin with:

See also: Ghetonia

Etz Haim 17:48, 13 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Someone added to this article the words: "The tarantula is sometimes replaced by other arachnids, such as the painful Wolf Spider. Whatever the species, its bite caused hallucinogenic effects which were warded off by the performance of the dance." I've been studying spiders for 50 years and have yet to hear about even claims of hallucinatory effects of spider bites. If there is scientifically justified grounding for such a claim, please supply the appropriate citations before restoring the claim. P0M 17:55, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)

It was me, and I have reverted with a minor change to make it more clear that the whole entire thing is legend. Neither wolf spiders' nor tarantulas' bites are dangerous, no spiders cause hallucinogenic effects, and dancing has no effect on any kind of venom, hallucinogenic or otherwise. Tuf-Kat 03:16, Nov 10, 2004 (UTC)

The text is now much worse than the previous version. What are the sources for these claims?

Some theorize that the frantic dance was a means of purging the body of the spider's poison and thus avert [turning into a werewolf]. Whatever the species, its bite was said to cause hallucinogenic effects which were warded off by the performance of the dance. In some versions of the legend, the venom itself caused the dancer to move uncontrollably. In any case, neither the wolf spider nor tarantulas have dangerous bites, so there is no need to dance to ward off any ill effects. There are no arachnids known to have hallucinogenic venom.

Nothing that I've ever seen has said anything about hallucinogenic effects of the venom -- probably because this term originated in the LSD era. The idea that spider bites can turn people into werewolves has no basis in the legends about werewolves that I have heard before. Is this a recent idea? Or is there actually an early source that somebody can quote.

Unless somebody can supply citations this part needs to be scrapped. It is not even true to say that no tarantulas have dangerous bites. None of the bites are known to be deadly, but there are some bites that can be quite serious and should be treated by an M.D. and might even require hospital care. P0M 03:40, 12 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Oi! How's this for fatuous fakelore: Another origin leans on a legend of a woman who was depressed and frustrated from the subordinate lifestyle would fall into a trance that could only be cured by music and dance. Don't "Subordinate lifestyle' just have that ring of authenticity, though? I was going to note Rossini's tarantella from Soirées musicales ("La Danza"), but reading the article I sense that only its refrain is apropos: "Mamma mia, mamma mia, la la LA la-la lalala" --Wetman 09:29, 11 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Needed improvements[edit]

The current article is remarkably lacking in documentation, particularly in regard to the history of its origins. From the name of the dance and the general folklore surrounding the dance it seems that there was very likely an early association between the dance and the large local wolf spiders. From the fact that wolf spiders are generally very frightened of human beings and will avoid them at all costs, and the fact that there are actually no severe medical consequences of bites from these spiders when humans sometimes contrive to get a defensive bite, it seems clear that the alleged bites must have served as an excuse for dancing. For one reason or another, people wanted to dance, and they explained their desire or need to dance by alleging that a spider bite incident had occurred. But even reasoning things out this way stands pretty much as "original research" in the sense that I have not bothered to look up John Compton's explanation in his 1952 book on spiders, and his account is by his own admission not grounded on much more than hearsay. To really know how the dancing and the spiders became associated, one would have to consult the works of specialists on medieval folk customs. If there are pertinent works they are probably in Italian. Are there encyclopedias of folk dance? I've taken out the more wildly spedulative materials. The idea that there was an actual toxin involved in the compulsion to dance that was mistaken for the results of spider envenomation is interesting, but it would be even more difficult to prove. P0M 19:18, 11 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Poopy!!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:26, 15 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Inaccurate information: etymology[edit]

The New Harvard Dictionary of Music (1986) says specifically that the origin of the name "tarantella" is NOT from the spider. "A folk dance of southern Italy that takes its name from the town of Taranto (not, as is often said, from the tarantula or from a dance to cure its bite)."

Quod Felix (talk) 00:51, 2 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I added some sources to the article. Hopefully this is clarified now. Hyacinth (talk) 04:20, 2 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The Italian wiki says otherwise. Besides, in Italy it is primarily a music form, then a dance form. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:52, 31 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi there, I am a player of Italian trad music (I come from there). Tarantella is all the time associated with the dance it is really impossible make a distinction between the dance and the music, the dancer is the real center of the playing both in the reality and in the mind of the people, I would say that the first thinking when you hear the word tarantella is not the music but the dance. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:44, 17 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Italian folklore[edit]

I am saying this here, as I learned it from my relatives - as you might imagine, folklore is not documentable, in the sense that any publications on folklore will cite personal or social beliefs that are not verifiable in any way other than asking people (like me) who have heard the stories at bedtime. Tarantella is in Southern Italy the dance that the people bit by a tarantola, a spider with a big body and fuzzy legs, are forced to dance to overcome the effects of the poison (as the story told to me by my grandmother goes). It's a legend of course: I have never seen a tarantolato, neither I have seen anybody bitten by the spider, so the entomologists can relax. My personal interpretation is that the poison caused convulsions in some sensitive people (tarantole are venomous spiders); so the jump between what was involuntary (the convulsions) and what was voluntary (the dance) could have been easily made. The city of Taranto comes in because it was an ancient Greek town, for all I know unrelated to the spider or the dance. It might be though that the spider took its name from the city. It's just a guess (but this might be easier to verify than a legend). There is a very similar music to tarantella in a geographical area in Apulia very close to Taranto that is called pizzica. As that means "pinch", I cannot be sure it is related to the tarantella, or because it has a clear pizzicato. Gioland71 (talk) 16:37, 23 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The spiders are known. There are pictures of them on the Commons and in many other places. They are typical wolf spiders. It would be known to doctors in the area if their bites were medically significant.
Sorry, but you are reasoning as an educated 20th century person, not as a Middle ages peasant. Whether or not the spider bites are dangerous, most folklore legends take leaps away from reality. At least, the bite must be painful, and there might have been a number of people allergic to the venom. (talk) 16:00, 31 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There are no reports of problems with them. South America has one or two wolf spiders that are regarded as medically significant because their bites can produce necrosis. People in the U.S. have reported being bitten by some of the larger kinds here, but they just hurt for a while. People die from bee stings all the time, but people are even reported as being made ill by the wolf spiders. (For one thing, the kind that do not stay in a burrow all day long will run like crazy to get away from people, so someone would have to trap on or try very hard to grab it in order to be bitten. They occasionally bite people because they crawl into a shoe and somebody puts the shoe on with the spider still inside. Of course the spider objects to that kind of treatment. My guess is that the name of the town came first, then the name of the spider, and finally the name of the dance. If the oral traditions or old wives tales or whatever you want to call them are based on the truth, it may be that people wanted a way to evade religious restrictions against dancing. We need to get an obsessive Latin scholar to poke around for church records from the middle ages I guess. P0M (talk) 05:34, 24 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The bite was said to be accidental, so we were warned to be careful when picking up logs for the fire and other such things. Taranto was founded during Magna Graecia, that is at least some centuries b. c. - so I also think that came first. Were there religious restrictions on dancing in Apulia during Middle Ages? I wonder because of the peculiar history of the land (until early 1000 it was under the control of Byzantium). Maybe a Middle Ages expert should jump in with some "original" research?

Hi, I am not a Middle Ages expert, but a player of trad music from Italy, what I am writing is what I have heard from other musician and musicologist so, I don't know if it is true. Anyway this kind of music was connected with pagan rituals, especially in the country side. It was an ecstatic dance, still now the people play and dance for hours till they fall down exhausted (even if the spider is not around) the tambourine player often bleeding because the long furious playing (that's is something I have experienced directly). It is pretty common see plenty of tambourine with blood spots on the skin. This dances were forbidden in the Christian era, I don't remember when, few months ago I read an article about that, written by Eugenio Bennato a famous player and researcher of trad music. I think (my personal idea)probably the bite of the spider was a way to justify the playing and the dancing in a new social context. What it is true is that actually in my country the main idea (not of the scholars bu the people) is that the name and dance itself come from the name of the spider. Hope my English is not that bad — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:02, 17 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]


"The Tarantella is a southern Italian dance, its name coming from the town of Taranto, where it originated." "The first dance originated in Naples and spread next to Apulia, Basilicata and Calabria." Clearly, we have a problem here: if the Tarantella came from Naples, how can it originate from Taranto, and how can we resolve this contradiction?Rex Imperator (talk) 15:54, 2 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree. First, tarantella is not a single musical form, or dance, but it groups several different forms, in different tempos and with different origins (tammuriata, pizzica etc are all forms of tarantella). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:54, 31 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Some musical information, please[edit]

The article says that the rhythms, melodies, gestures and accompanying songs of the tarantella are quite distinct, but fails to say anything about them except that the tarantella is "upbeat". A Liszt tarantella in 6/8 or 2/4 time is mentioned, but what exactly is the rhythm of the folk dance? Marshall46 (talk) 16:10, 19 May 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sorted. But there remains a contradiction between the "upbeat tempo" and the Toschi citation which describes it as "stately". Marshall46 (talk) 06:57, 20 May 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, it is hard speak about it cause there are really many forms of tarantella even here, in Italy, it is really messy, so many times the name it is used for completely different dances and music. The most common form I found playing around is 6/8. On the tambourine it is played with two quick triplets. The strongest accent is on the first beat of the first triplet, so it is not upbeat. I think there is a kind of upbeat impression because normally the player use to beat the accent with a kind of little hesitation, I can't explain it better, it is like if he was almost loosing the rhythm. Hope I have been useful. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:16, 17 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wholly improbable[edit]

"The term "tarantella" originally referred to an exorcism ritual that existed in Greece around the year 2000 BC and was connected to the gods Dionysus and Apollo". No. First of all, we couldn't even say this much about a Minoan ritual of 1300 BC. The date is the giveaway. The inventor of this fakelore couldn't even come up with a believable date range.--Wetman (talk) 00:47, 29 August 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

BS: "Classical music is notable, video games [literature, film, manga/anime] are not[edit]

Bit of an edit war here, one person thinks culture is bigger than (classical music), another thinks that only what they like is notable. I love classical music, but there is more to the world than that. I do note that neither the classical music citations nor the other cultural fields have citations. People, where are sources. Also, Tarantella is alive and well and flourishing, there is no mention of the extensive New Tarantella Music coming out of Italy. If I had time... Brunswicknic (talk) 13:36, 26 April 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

External links modified[edit]

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Uncited lists and unciteable trivia[edit]

An editor has seen fit to restore numerous uncited items to the set of lists attached to this article. Lists are to some extent deprecated by the MOS, though not entirely forbidden. The deprecation is well justified: lists attract uncited cruft, and I in fact reverted one such addition before hunting out refs for a dozen of the existing uncited items a day or two ago. A list (or indeed, as here, a list of lists) is no substitute for serious analysis of a subject supported by reliable secondary sources, which in the case of Tarantella should be scholarly texts on the history of dance and of music.

I hope we can agree on three points which in most circumstances on Wikipedia would be taken as obvious:

  • that an article about a serious dance and music topic should not be dominated by appearances in popular culture.

I would also point out that Wikipedia policy allows any editor to remove uncited materials, especially trivia, from any article at any time. As it happens, I took great care only to remove claims where a search failed to find any usable sources. However, the WP:ONUS of proof of inclusion rests on the editor including the material, not on everybody else who wish the article to contain only reliably cited materials.

The recent claim in an edit comment "A WP link is sufficient for most media" is false for two reasons:

1) For the avoidance of doubt, a blue link to an existing article is NOT verification of notability, as Wikipedia is not itself a reliable source, and indeed many of the linked articles contain no usable citations for the claims made (that a tarantella appeared in such-and-such a work).

2) In addition, on a related point the editor claimed "books and film and other PUBLISHED media do not need an additional citation source, since the media itself (book, film, etc.) IS the source." That is true ONLY for evidence that the book or film EXISTS, (and even for that, many editors other than me do not accept it as sufficient), but the mere existence of a book or film is, obviously, not proof that the book or film actually contains a tarantella, for which a reliable secondary source is required as usual.

I suggest therefore that we clean up these lists, removing all uncited trivia.

In the mean time, the "refimprove" tag is more than justified, and I am astonished that any editor should think to remove it. Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:20, 16 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Overburdened article[edit]

Whatever the arguments about citations, it is totally unacceptable for an article to consist more than 50% of a list of lists. I've therefore moved the list to a list article and linked it with a "main" link here. I note that the same rules from the MOS apply to list articles as to any others. Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:37, 16 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

List of tarantellas

It wasn't a List of Lists, it was just a List, and only a partial one at that. But it grew out of a stub and has now evolved from a short list of "notable" tarantellas, in which any editor could decide (as you and others have done) on a whim of subjective preference what constitutes notability, to a REAL official wp list designed with the new goal (as all wp Lists have) to be as complete as possible. I like lists and I like completeness; thank you for the split, let's all of us start adding to it to make it a great list for every wp viewer's ultimate reference! Chuckstreet (talk) 17:17, 16 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks for the clarity Tradimus (talk) 02:32, 3 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Greek but not Italian?[edit]

Why is there a navigation bar for Greek Dances? Shouldn't that be Italian Dances? Others have cited the supposed origins of tarantella as Greek to be fakelore. The tarantella is known as an Italian folk dance; there should be a navbar for it. Chuckstreet (talk) 19:09, 17 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]