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The Musical Heritage of Puglia

The Musical Heritage of Puglia

The music of Puglia is a mix of traditional Italian and Mediterranean music. Pizzicia is a piece of traditional folk music and dance performed in Puglia.

There are two types of Pizzicia: the Pizzica d'Amore, also known as Pizzicarella, which is known as a courtship dance and competition between young men, and there is the Pizzicia Tarantata, also known as tarantella. The name is derived from a disease ‘Tarantism’ caused by a Tarantula spider and acts as an antidote to the spider's bite. The two traditional pieces of music feature a percussive acoustic and upbeat tempo.

Tarantella is a piece of upbeat Italian music and dance characterized by light steps and tambourine, and other varieties of hand drums. The music is also performed by the early musicians with castanets and mandolins. The tarantella was also performed with pianos and other instruments, especially for ballets and operas.

Most contemporary musicians blend tambourine and percussive sounds with folk accordions, more modern guitars, and even full bands or symphonies to create a global fusion sound rooted in tarantella traditions. A folk group named Tarantula Garganica was established in 2002 from Monte Sant’Angelo in the eastern part of the Gargano Peninsula in the Foggia Province. They were advocates for the rediscovery of music. They disseminate the ancient resonance of their birthplace through audio-visual re-interpretation using traditional acoustic instruments such as the chitarra battente (a guitar which is both strummed and beaten), tamburello (large-sized tambourine) and castagnole (castanets).

In 2004, they released “Sope a na muntagne”, their first album, which featured lively compositions of tarantellas originating from villages. In 2005, they released “Quelle strette vie del sud”, the second album following the success of the first album. Since then, they have released many more albums to promote the music from their native land.

Puglia is also home to one of the most amazing museums in the world, and the museum holds a collection of antique musical instruments in an old old building in the centre of Lecce. This museum is located at the centre of the city and has an enormous collection of over 850 instruments and a library with many manuscripts of music and instruments. The building was once a palace and a shoe factory. The Assembly of instruments includes Orchestral Instruments, Pianos, Liturgical Instruments, Mechanical Players, Strings, Folk Instruments and a pre-columbian Peruvian flute.

Several music venues are located in Puglia. The Petruzzelli Operatic and Symphonic Foundation of Bari, named after Teatro Petruzzelli, is the organization around which much of the city's cultural life is centred. There is the Basilica of San Nicola, the Piccinini Conservatory, and the Verdi Theater. Bari plays host to the Kismet Theater, a theatrical and musical workshop open to the public six days a week, whose purpose is to encourage those activities among the youth. The area hosts several events, such as the Association for the Music of Paisiello, the annual Nicolosi Song Competition, and the Valle d'Itria Festival.
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