It is essentially composed of a sound box and by an handle with keys in five rows of strings.

The profile takes the form of an elongated eight as in the ancient guitars. There is no standard type of ‘chitarra battente’ (five-stringed guitar) in the Gargano area, with a formal aspect and unchanging size. The first type, also called ‘chitarrino’ (a little guitar), especially contains instruments made by Borraccino family of Cerignola or their imitations: their bottom is flat, the bands are not very high, the convex surface close to the jumper of the guitar, contains three soundholes, a larger one in the center and two smaller ones on the sides. The headstock contains ten or twelve slots for the strings, while the handle has ten keys. The second type, made by Cozzola’s family of Carpino, differs from the first because it has a rounded bottom, the center sections are very high, the soundboard has a single hole and the headstock contains five housing holes for the strings. The handle has ten keys. The third type, its manufacturer is unknown, it differs greatly from the others: the bottom is flat as in the first, the soundboard with the fixed jumper contains two soundholes heart-shaped close to the center of the guitar. The keyboard mounted on the handle continues  on the soundboard and stops close to the soundholes. The technique mostly used in playing the instrument is called "battente", for that the name ’chitarra battente’, which produces more sounds or notes at once, striking the strings with one or more fingers of the right hand. The ‘pizzicato’ is less used.


THE DRUM (Lu tamburerèdde)

It is the typical handcraft tool, with a round wooden structure, on which is fixed a kid goat or lamb skin appropriately prepared. In the structure there are some recesses in which they settle some metallic bells of variable diameter from three up to four centimeters, made from metal containers or bottle caps. Along the structure they apply colored ribbons, while the leather is the swing surface for hand percussion. In the larger version it is known as the ‘Tamborra or Tammorra’.



They often remind the castanets and are called like that because the best wood to make them is the chestnut. The ‘castagnola’ is composed of two pieces with a size from two to five centimeters. While the external part is rounded, the inner one is hollow and it is used as a sound cash. The two parts are linked in pairs, with the sunken faces that fit together and fixed to the fingers of the hand in the outer part of it, depending on the skill of the player, also in the inner part. They were divided into male and female and they were of different sizes. The player wielding the largest with the right hand and the smallest with the left one. This lead to a different sound, darker in the bigger one.



It is made from two pieces of wood, and is also called the violin of the poor, because it is played in a similar manner to the known instrument. The two pieces have a size ranging from forty to fifty centimeters. The first is simple and does not present any particularity: is taken to an extreme with the hand, while the other end rests on the shoulder. The other piece is notched along one side, while on the opposite side there are metallic bells. The sound is produced by the flow of the piece with the bells on the piece leaning on the shoulder.



This instrument it is very common in the southern area of Italy, also for that it is really varied in its construction. It is sometimes used, as a sounding board, a tin container of clay or wood. The soundboard is made of lambskin or  with a special goatskin. At the center there is a wooden pole, usually cane or butcher's broom. Depending on the size of the instrument, the sound is produced by rubbing with one or two hands the rod, from the top to down, using especially the palms of them.

The sound will be darker if you take care to periodically wet the hands with water or saliva. For the bigger ones you can also use a sponge for rubbing.



It's a barrel organ with few low, from two to eight for the diatonic notes. This instrument is widely used in Abruzzo and has spread in our area due to the transhumance.



It's a wooden instrument, consisting essentially of two set pieces. The first piece, which has the handle, ending with a toothed wheel, the other acts as a small resonance chamber, with a flap, always in wood, which is moved by the wheel, giving a sound similar to the croaking of frogs.












The peasant opera was all made of genuine verses of loving invocations, often grotesque and rough, but always with kindness notes. In their long solitude in the woods, the shepherds, the cowherds, the mare herders sang sweet lullabies; in the stables the peasants sang songs, a genuine expression of the soul, of the customs and habits of the Gargano; the women with the dresses raised on the hips and the handkerchief folded on their head were singing songs of love, in the midst of green meadows, during the  hoeing, the weeding, the mandatory process, the grape and olive harvest.

The more traditional musical forms of San Giovanni Rotondo belong to three types of tarantella, which take place in different tones and registers, a form of free song, sonnet or ‘canto a distesa’ (an extended song, very acute and melismatic, typical of Mediterrean area), with a minor key, and a hymn to Capuan, as well  ‘ canto a distesa’ in a major key.


The ‘Cerignulane’, tarantella of major modality. The chords LA and MI are fingered in the first position. The present note chords instrumental in the introduction are pinched by the index, while the thumb plays the last open string that acts as a drone. The bichords present in the instrumental introduction are pinched by the index, while the thumb plays the last string that acts as a drone. The voice attacks upbeat on first degree with a downward trend until the sixth. On ternary rhythm of the ‘chitarra battente’, the voice has a binary representation in the last beat of the measure.

The ‘Muntanare’, tarantella of major modality. It alternates the chords SOL and RE seventh. The voice attacks upbeat on the seventh grade to move later to the tonic. The melody is held as part of a minor ninth.

The ‘Cannellèse’ includes two forms of tarantella of minor modality. A simpler form, which alternates  tonic and dominant chords, a second, more complex, which uses the pinched technique and a wider chord succession. The vocal melody sticks upbeat on the fifth grade to move later to the tonic.

The ‘canto a distesa Sunette o Leccesèdde’ takes place in RE minor tonality, then modulating its dominant. The player uses an elaborate pizzicato. The accompaniment becomes more regular with the beginning of the song, with the constant repetition of a rhythmic-melodic form, until the next instrumental section. The attack of the voice is upbeat on the fourth degree.



They are songs accompanied by the ‘chitarra battente’ and they have as contents the lyrical themes of love. Their origin dates back to the sicilian school and the tradition of the jesters, whose forms were spread widely in the folk poetry. In the sonnets triumphs the performance of a soloist and, very often, is the same player of the guitar. Often the songwriters alternate the challenging both on the repertoire, both on the improvisations. During the serenades, which take place always according to a definite ritual, the sonnet becomes a choral song.

"Purté lu sunette" means precisely to bring the serenade, according to a ritual that lasted a few hours and, at times, it lasted all the night. On these occasions, which emphasized the important moments of the life cycle, the guitar was accompanied by the mandolin and the rhythm of the drum and the castanets.




The tarantella performed in pairs, it is a courtship dance, in which man, incited by the group and stimulated by music, invites the woman chosen to dance. The man dances and claps her hands to mark the time, but she seems disinterested in the dance. When the man's urge becomes unbearable, the woman starts to dance, looking for an opening to escape his pressing invitations. In this way began the most dramatic phase of the tarantella. The woman, runs away and she is reached, pretends to accept the invitation of the male dancing but just glimpsed a free space, try a new way of escape; It is now run by the man who is pressing again uttering cries of encouragement to overcome its resi stance. After several attempts, she finally accepts the invitation, and so begins the final part of the dance, frenetic and release.