tarantella târ´əntĕl´ə [key], Neapolitan folk dance that first appeared in Taranto, Italy, in the 17th cent. It had rapid 6–8 meter with an increasing tempo and was thought to cure the bite of the tarantula ( Lycosa tarantula, a wolf spider), which supposedly caused the disease tarantism. Chopin, Liszt, Weber, and others used the dance in the form of a perpetuum mobile.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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