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brief history of the tammurriata
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Characters and origins of tammurriata
The constant musical element of almost all parties in the Vesuvian area is the so-called 'tammurriata'. This term actually came into use only since the 70s, following the work of the musician Roberto De Simone first instead talked about "sung and abballata 'ncoppa' or tammurro" (song and dance on the drum) . This kind of musical expression, typically bell, can be found in the Vesuvian area (Giugliano, Somma Vesuvius, Pomigliano, Terzigno), on the Amalfi Coast (Maiori) and in the Agro Nocerino-Sarnese, in the province of Salerno.
This is definitely a linguavvio ancient music, which dates back to thousands of years ago: the Archaeological Museum of Naples is preserved in fact a mosaic made between the second and first century BC, from the Villa of Cicero at Pompeii, where represented the 'traveling musicians' holding castanets, tammorra and double flute.
A language, a form that is a true 'rite' music, which has its roots in the remote past of family celebrations, but today it is encountered especially in Marian celebrations and pilgrimages, with clear signs of 'osmosis' between sacred elements and profane.
Execution begins with the action of tammorra, an instrument consisting of a piece of beech wood with a diameter ranging between 40 and 50 cm, with a goat skin stretched over, and around the circle there are holes with disks tin, called cymbals. Tammorra is held with one hand, while with the other it is so tonally different beats using the tips of your fingers, the percussive force of the thumb and the palm of the hand.
'At the beginning of execution,' recalls Romeo Barbaro, one of the most important performers of this genre, 'the pace is cold, so it takes about ten minutes before the atmosphere is warm: it must be produced that a climate such that all present feel the same pace and move psychologically and physically on the same track. '
The drum that beats a rhythm track, is accompanied by castanets called tradition of our region 'castanets'. They are composed of two concave parts of wood joined by a piece of cord, which is fixed between the fingers, allows the beating of the two parts that produce a dry sound.
Of the two castanets, is called a 'male' and sits with his right hand, and the other - the 'female' - is challenged with the left hand. In fact, this distinction is motivated by a belief common to many cultures that attaches to the right side of the human body male identity, while to the left a female identity, then the person is when it sounds as if it became double, in the sense that it is man and woman together.
Castanets, challenged by the dancers, beat the unit of time, at a rate in only one and on this basis the function rhythmic melody is almost always carried out by the voice of a singer who improvises melodically on rhythmic pattern of tammurriata. The texts, all oral transmission, are songs in the form of strambotti that are articulated mostly in two lines at a time; the direction in union with the music is fractured, and resumed several times and repeated at each couplet adds to the executor his pleasure other verses shorter form. The song can also be punctuated by other models engineers, usually animal noises, used as embellishment.
Generally the tammorra (it should be noted that in the Agro Nocerino-Sarnese sounds only tammorra at a time, unlike Maiori - Feast of Madonna Avvocata - where sound more tammorre) are added other instruments, such as, for example: triccaballacche (instrument with three hammers, of which the central fixed, implanted in the bottom of a wooden base; playing beating the two hammers lateral articulated on the middle one); putipù or friction drum (consisting of a jar of wood or tin covered at the top by the skin . Above is a rod that, wet a rag and rubbed, produces amplified vibrations from the jar and skin); scetavaiasse (consisting of two wooden clubs, one straight and one serrated, whose side has some cembrali. Passing the toothed part on the smooth part, it has the vibration of cymbals, which produce a sound).
These tools then, beginning in the twentieth century, has been added to the accordion, which has replaced the pipe, probably used in past centuries.

Phases of choral tammurriata
The tammurriata, dance that you need as a couple, will have three phases: at first the dancers perform the gestures with which we evaluate the relationship with space and the relationship between the dancers themselves, then either take an aggressive role, repulsed or seconded from the other. This moment is followed by definitely more fast-paced dance, that is the so-called 'voted' (or wheel): drum beats in one, the basis of a well-known singer very prolonged or adds lines shorter and the dancers they whirl or between them.
The gesture is found in somatic tammurriata is all ritualized, that any gesture made takes on a symbolic meaning that can be fully understood only by members of that community whose tammurriata expresses cultural identity. The tammurriata is dancing farmer par excellence: the majority of gestures performed coreutici are taken from the daily work (such as the simulation of the act of digging, planting, etc..) Or they are acts of imitation of animals, especially fowl (the anthropological meaning is similar to that observed in the feasts of Our Lady of hens Pagani, country of Salerno, and Our Lady of the Advocate Lattari).
But these gestures so full of symbols that point to the earth, to spring, to rural life and the harvest, are to be understood according to a key reading closely related to death and sex.
We should not forget the fact that dance on the drum is primarily a courtship dance, and the various positions of the body, especially the hands, arms and legs, clearly express refusal or consent to the other.
All this is part of what the dancers themselves define 'magic circle': a circle traced by the various pairs of dancers with their movements (in which each pair then draws his own circle), the players and the 'audience', which form a barrier around. It defines in this way the space in which to act with a clear desire to possess them, the other dancer or expulsion from the territory of the latter.
The rhythm of the dance and the song is expressed as a whole from all the parts of the body - the head, neck, pelvis, upper and lower limbs - in this way we try to get rid of the pains and strains to which it is daily submitted. 'So the act of rhythmically repeat the same gesture', remember Romeo Barbaro, one of the leading interpreters of this fascinating repertoire, 'is dictated not only by a natural instinct, from an anguish that can not be resolved, determines the obsessive repetition of a same action '. So this is a kind of purifying action through which we try to exorcise daily fears and frustrations, to give free expression to the self individual.
About individuality, it is noted that the dance on the drum, as well as being seen as collective ritual event in the Community in the context of the festival, is also caught in appearance individual because the individual dancer tends to express their truth, their needs, their psychological conflicts. One can therefore speak of 'individual styles', ie next to the formal passed by tradition and which are reproduced in an iterative, each dancer can take poses and perform their movements and different from each other. Similarly the songsters, in addition to assume a certain type of expression determined by the way of using the tools, may improvise extemporaneously on the basis of models traditional musical.
'So the singer popular' Romeo Barbaro continues, 'is all the more valid for as many songs familiar to much imagination strives to use the traditional verses, mix them in, fratturarli, although more can use the templates and modify them to execution time '. It follows that no song is performed in the same way, even by the same performer as other variables are determined also by the time when they sing and from the relationship that is established between the singer and the participants.

The tammurriata between past and present
The singing and dancing on the drum have a history that covers a long space of time, but that does not mean that they have always had an easy life. E 'to emphasize the fact that the hostile attitude of the bourgeoisie or the so-called' dominant culture 'and the Church have taken in the past against this form of expression-dance music, a characteristic of the' underclass'. The tammurriata has often been judged obscene, licentious, an indecent exposure given the strong and obvious erotic issued by the words, voice, gesture. So much so that in the 50s and 60s of the last century women could perform dances alone in the house, at private events, while those who took part in 'active' popular festivals women were considered 'not serious', given the 'physical excitement that this caused in their wild dances. E 'for this reason that until a few years ago tammurriata was a dance performed in public by pairs formed almost exclusively by men, but today is performed by pairs of men and women alike, men-men and women-women.
However, if in the 60s tammurriata reached the height of its distribution, then began its downturn due to a crisis involving the folklore as a whole. But in the '70s, thanks to the research done by Roberto De Simone and the 'New Society of Folk Song', which should, inter alia, the elaboration of texts (which, remember, were transmitted orally) with the addition of new tools, there has been an awareness of the value of the cultural heritage. From the 90s to come down to our day there has been rather a slow and gradual 'transformation' of tammurriata of civilization. Some of the peasant youth have indeed begun to move in a dance reminiscent of the elderly with a view but a bit 'different, that of the spectacle of dance. The movements are so exaggerated, enlarged; the space between the dancers is restricted; started dancing many couples simultaneously, while in the communities oldest danced a single pair at a time. This way of dancing, more detached from the earth, most anonymous, has favored the meeting with young people giving birth to what is now boosts key reading erotic looking for a moment of liberation. If you need to take into account the needs of future generations, so even accepting modes of play and dance diversified functional in the world where you find yourself, you must also be aware of the starting point: our elders. The old 'carriers' of tradition are quite often left out, marginalized, they themselves do not recognize themselves in these modes of expression, in this dramatization of the popular.
It 'clear that the socio-economic context in which he acted the original tammurriata has changed profoundly, it would therefore propose an anachronistic sic et simpliciter the old model in our days, but it would be equally wrong to revive the old peasant culture in a space and in a time defunctionalized and decontextualized.
So what could be the solution? The answer to this 'dilemma' may lie in a compromise between the old and the new generation. This means that young people who want to approach this kind of music should approach with great humility and respect to so-called 'old hands', and in this way you could establish a real contact with the world popular, understand the secrets, spells.
This would be a good starting point for a harmonious collaboration to musical forms that, although modernized, to take account of a culture that is 'other' than our own.
On the other hand, if the reasons that have led generations of our ancestors to immerse themselves in these forms dancing and musical surely can not be the same as those who live in the era of so-called globalization, what he certainly has remained unchanged over time is the ' need to convey our passions, our emotions, our inner world.
The tammurriata from this point of view can still fulfill this task of communication and contact, but it is true that today these main aims are supported by other reasons. So then the dance on the drum can represent, for those who do, a competition, a challenge to others 'competitors', an exhibition, thus giving great importance to the choreography and set design. And do not forget that for some it can be a big business.
Maybe you would think that everything is fine as long as the story does not disappear, but it would probably be preferable to the 'free and spontaneous dance' than on the stage, where very often you see only mechanized movements: movements from which perhaps is very difficult, if not impossible, able to understand what they were our grandparents yesterday and so what we are today.

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