The National Music Of The World

Styles & Characteristics Of Regional Music With Sheet Music Examples - Online Book

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98              National Music of the World,
within the spell of the tarantella, and the sound of what may be called a gipsy instrument—that small provocative drum with bells, the tambourine. Among all mortal measures, the tarantella is as­suredly the most delirious one, the most instinct with motion and spirit, accumulating with a sort of frantic and fierce earnestness that one might fancy to be at variance with the light-heartedness of mirth, did one not see it pervade every Italian pursuit and pastime. There is no playing or dancing a tarantella sluggishly. There may be such things as a flaccid waltz and a heavy galoppe, but the southern dance constrains all concerned in its execution to a vivacity of animation to which no parallel can be found, unless it be in the reel of Scotland.
It is interesting to recollect how almost every learned or fanciful musician has, at some time or other, been enthralled by this whirling melody. The grave Bach, the melancholy Chopin, the sensuous Rossini, and half a hundred composers of every mood and every colour, have all tried their hands at tarantella making—almost all with great success. One of the most admirable examples of its adoption is that made by Mendelssohn in the last

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