Written for: Carpe Diem #1487 Dance of the Spider (Tarantella)
In the Italian province of Taranto, Apulia, the bite of a locally common type of wolf spider, named “tarantula” after the region, was popularly believed to be highly venomous and to lead to a hysterical condition known as tarantism. This became known as the Tarantella.
Tarantism, as a ritual, has roots in the ancient Greek myths. Reportedly, victims who had collapsed or were convulsing would begin to dance with appropriate music and be revived as if a tarantula had bitten them. The music used to treat dancing mania appears to be similar to that used in the case of tarantism though little is known about either. Justus Hecker (1795–1850), describes in his work Epidemics of the Middle Ages:
[…] “A convulsion infuriated the human frame […]. Entire communities of people would join hands, dance, leap, scream, and shake for hours […]. Music appeared to be the only means of combating the strange epidemic […] lively, shrill tunes, played on trumpets and fifes, excited the dancers; soft, calm harmonies, graduated from fast to slow, high to low, prove efficacious for the cure.” […]
The music used against spider bites featured drums and clarinets, was matched to the pace of the victim, and is only weakly connected to its later depiction in the tarantellas of Chopin, Liszt, Rossini, and Heller.
a spider crawls to its prey
© Chèvrefeuille (our host)
Here is my attempt:
from poisonous bite–
a frenzied dance is born
spider loses power