Virtual Sorrento Home Page
- Music / Folklore -

Instruments of the Parthenopean Folklore


by Vincenzo Schisano
(Translated by Marianna Mastro)
Triccaballacca Tamburello

Granted that the “percussion instruments” are also part of the “Parthenopean folklore”, in this section will be described the typical instruments and the folk instruments, which are so both for their origin than for their use.

Used for the execution and/or accompaniment of songs and dances, their origin are extremely remote, for which it is almost impossible to establish the place and date of birth.

Some of these are surely derived from equivalent Arabian or anyhow oriental, such as: the “Cialamello” (the “Zampogna” Bagpipe), the “Cornamusa”, the “Tric-ballac”, the “Sisco” and the “Tamburello”, others are derived from characteristic Spanish instruments such as: “Nacchere” and “ Castagnette” (the castanets).

The only ones maybe, which can boast a Neapolitan progenitor and purely folk are: the “Caccavella” or “Putipù" and the “Scetavajasse”.

In fact the “Trofa”, the marine trumpet, has been used by the population of the entire world since ancient epochs, the “Tammorra” consists of a “Tamburello” (a drum) made bigger and the “Tromma” (scacciapensieri Jew’s harp, probably of oriental origin) which was imported in Italy by the nomad population.

All that has been said above does not subtract anything from the charm that these instruments create when they are used by folk and/or Neapolitan musicians, to execute and accompany songs and dances that, as mentioned in a famous song, “Sulo a Napule sanno fa” (only in Naples are able to do).


Copyright © 2003, Vincenzo Schisano. All rights reserved.