The Tarantella – A Famous Italian Folk Dance Tune

Some time ago I have discovered a site with a collection of free sheet music for the fisarmonca – the accordeon. Its mainly a collection of Italian tunes, folk songs, folk dances and also some opera melodies. When I visited this site again I looked at some Tarantellas and decided to write a post about this famous Italian dance that is very often played on the mandolin.

The Tarantella is one of the important and well known Italian folk dances. Especially the Tarantella from Napoli is famous. This tarantella is also known as the Wedding Tarantella. With the abc tune search you can find this and other traditional tarantellas from different regions in Italy.

There are still some tsypical Italian folk groups who pay the tarantella with mandolin, accordeon, tambourine, guitar and fiddle. And very often two or three dancers dance with the music like in the first video of my playlist below.

A tarantella well known to the guitar players is the tarantella by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. Roman Gurochkin has made this great video with the guitarist Asva Selvutina:

“Tarantella” Mario Castelnuovo – Tedesco, Asya Selyutina (classical guitar)

Many videos at yoputube show performances of folk dance groups – but very often the music used is not the best. The tarantella as a dance is also used in theatre and ballet. A great example is this tarantella from the ballet Napoli by Danish composer  Bournonville:

Bournonville: Tarantella Napoli

Playlist Tarantella

In this playlist I have collected many tarantellas including folk dace, folk ensembles, versions for mandolin, mandolin and guitar, guitar, accordeon and orchestra. Enjoy the Italian tarantella!

Additional Information

Wikipedia about the tarantella (German):

Wikipedia about the tarantella (English.):

Wikipedia about the ballet Napoli:

Diskussion in the Mandolin Cafe (with information and sheet music):

Another post about a tarantella: Tarantella Siziliana – Mit Gitarre, Mandoline und Maultrommel

youtube channel Roman Gurochkin:


I have collected many sources for sheet music of tarantellas:

Three tarantellas for the accordeon (manuscript):

Sheetmusic at IMSLP – classical versions, many versions for the piano:

Paganini – Tarantella for violin and guitar (ther is a video of this tarantella with flute and guitar in my playlist):,_Niccol%C3%B2%29

Sheetmusic and TABs for mandolin:

Sheetmusic and TABs for guitar:

Sheetmusic  for flute:

Traditional Italian tune

The “Tarantella” dance music is probably the most recognized tune of all Italian folk music. You can see this dance at authentic southern Italian weddings, and obviously it appears in the famous 1972 film The Godfather. In The Godfather Part II, Frankie Pentangeli tries to get the wedding band (who is not Italian) to play a tarantella; they end up playing “Pop Goes the Weasel” instead!

Sheetmusic (abc tune search) – the most important tarantella folk tunes:

Carlo Aonzo – Northern Italian & Ticino Region Folk Songs for Mandolin

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