Despite being originally composed during the nineteenth-century by anonymous workers, who were detonating the explosive charges when excavating the San Gottardo Gallery, “Ta-Pum” became widely known during WWI after the catastrophic Ortigara Battle which caused 20000 death and wounded on both sides of the Alps and is still remembered to be the highest battle ever fought.
Venti giorni sull’Ortigara
senza il cambio per dismontà
Ta pum ta pum
Ta pum, ta pum
E domani si va all 'assalto,
soldatino non farti ammazzar
Ta pum, ta pum
Ta pum, ta pum
Twenty days on the Ortigara
with no change to dismount
Ta pum, ta pum
Ta pum, ta pum
Tomorrow we launch an attack,
young soldier don’t be killed
Ta pum, ta pum
Ta pum, ta pum
Since its first version, the expression “ta-pum” portrayed an onomatopoeic sound: it represented indeed the explosive detonations in its dynamite workers arrangement, while the Italian soldiers used that locution to repeat the characteristic sound of the Austrian rifles.
When the infallible snipers fired from their long-distance positions with their deadly Mannlicher M95, the first thing the Italian soldiers could hear was the sound of the arrival of their bullets, which hit their targets making a distinctive “ta” and only after they could catch the noise of the original detonation (pum).
Nino Piccinelli wrote the WWI version of the songs in 1917 while he was serving in the Arditi corps (the Italian elite storm troops of WWI).
He affirmed to have written the lyrics on the night before one of the assault at a ...
... middle of paper ...
...of Glory”, and “Uomini Contro” illustrated, the High Commands were sadistic and led their soldiers to a wholesale slaughter.
They didn’t have any flexibility and weren’t looking for any relation with their troops.
By contrast, their soldiers, on both sides, were simple people.
They were the ones who spent the Christmas together in the trenches, exchanging goods, photos and letters.
They stayed for more than a year separated by few hundred metres, so they developed a strong relation with their “enemies”. (Bubola, 2015)
Many soldiers’ song were indeed censored also once collected and transcribed because of the realities they were depicting, coarse language and the narrow-minded mentality of many collectors.
Moreover, since the music structure of those songs was usually basic and modest, many of them weren’t even considered by researchers and valued as mediocre works.
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