The same tarantella refrain is featured in the finale to John Corigliano's Gazebo Dances (1972) and in the second movement to his Symphony No. 1 (1988). How can identical tarantella refrains function both in a witty, virtuosic finale and in the dance movement of a symphony dedicated to the composer's friends lost to AIDS? In this presentation, I incorporate the cultural context of traditional Italian dance as well as Byron Almén's phases of the ironic narrative archetype to explore how the tarantella’s web of meanings enables the composer to work out the two pieces in drastically different ways. Corigliano's two tarantella movements can help us better understand both the tarantella as a topical field in twentieth-century music as well as the opposed comic and tragic phases of Almén's ironic narrative archetype.