Rock Around the Croc: The Concerto

Today’s topic is the concerto (plural concerti), a musical form that was first developed in the Baroque era and continued to have major influence through the present. The easiest way to think about concerti is that they are typically a three movement form in which one or more instruments plays with or against the rest of an orchestra. It’s a way for a composer to show off a soloist, but not in a solo setting. Here’s an example of what I mean, Telemann’s Viola Concerto in G major:

In this concerto, we have a brief introduction by the orchestra, the violist comes in at 0:32 and plays an accompanied piece that takes the simple theme introduced by the orchestra and elaborates it, and then the two groups spend the rest of the movement taking turns. A concerto is a wonderful form for showing off the skill of the composer and of a soloist, with a little more musical interest than if you just have an unaccompanied soloist. At the very end, starting around 14:18, you can hear a hocket-like structure where the melody bounces back and forth between solo and orchestra, a fine demonstration of how the soloist and orchestra work together to produce the whole.

You can basically pick any instrument you want, for any musical era from the Baroque onwards, and you will never run out of concerti to listen to. The different kinds of concerto adds to the incredible variety out there. The two main categories are Baroque-era concerto are the solo concerto, and the concerto grosso. The Telemann linked above is an example of the solo concerto. A concerto grosso is more complicated because it features multiple soloists (collectively called the concertino) all taking their turns playing solos before a return to the rest of the orchestra (called the ripieno or the tutti).

Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto 5 is a great example of a Concerto Grosso:

The whole ensemble plays the principal theme together until the 0:28 second mark. After that, the ripieno backs down to a lower volume whole three voices – flute, violin and harpsichord – each play polyphonic solos until 0:52, when the ensemble comes back in to play an abbreviated version of the theme, until 0:58. This is the structure of the whole piece, moving back and forth between the ripieno and the concertino. Because the concertino section is polyphonic, the three solo voices are of equal importance, which can lead to total chaos in the wrong hands. Bach gets around this by giving each soloist a series of gaps in the form of long, drawn-out notes that one of the others can fill. In this particular recording, it is hard to hear the harpsichord, but at some points (like around 1:53) you can get a sense of just how busy that guy is. He has a full-on solo starting at about 6:35 that, even if you’re not a big fan of harpsichord, is truly impressive.

I had the idea that it would be nice to spend time doing short biographies of some of the composers from the eras I will discuss, and this week seems as good a time to start as any. Archangelo Corelli (1653-1713) was one of the major developers of concerto form, writing twelve concerti grossi in the 1680s and publishing them in 1714. He was born in Fusignano, in the modern-day province of Ravenna. It looks like most of what has been said about his childhood, musical training, and early career is heavily disputed and probably was made up after the fact, so it’s difficult to say much about his early days, but he was a very successful musician and composer and died possessed of considerable fortune and a collection of works of art and fine violins. Reportedly, all of the famous 18th century composers considered Corelli as their “iconic point of reference.”

You can listen to the complete concerti grossi here:

Before I leave the Baroque era for the day, I wanted to share this video about composing in counterpoint just to highlight the extreme level of effort that goes into writing polyphonic music. Consider just how much thought and discussion this guy puts into composing over one very short, simple line. The video is 36 minutes long, so I won’t be offended if you can’t make it through the whole thing, but if you give it from 1:58 to until 17:53 you see how quickly everything gets incredibly complex, with notions of oblique motion, dissonance and such:

Finally, let’s look at how these ideas relate to modern music, and it turns out they relate very well indeed. One of my favorite Megadeth songs is Hangar 18, from their classic album Rust in Peace. The song starts out with a very standard speed metal kind of things, cool lyrics about government conspiracies, and extremely technical guitar work. But then at 2:49, something magical happens: the band collectively says “screw it, let’s play a series of blindingly fast guitar riffs for the two and a half minutes,” and then they do exactly that:

I’m not suggesting that the Megadeth guys sat down and consciously decided to take a page from Baroque-era musical forms, just that the impulse to write music that hangs on a very well-known formula, but that lets the two leads show off in the musical spaces in the formula, is one that has continued through the centuries. With that in mind, I find it fascinating how Marty Friedman (the lead guitarist in the Rust in Peace era) grew increasingly dissatisfied with that kind of mentality. He didn’t like the speed metal formula where, as he described it, he would step forward on the stage, show off for a while, and then then step back so the band could get on with the rest of the song, preferring instead to think about the song as a whole. He can play incredibly fast, but doesn’t like being called a “shredder” if that suggests there’s nothing else going on than he can play fast. I respect that a lot that he sees his instrument more expansively than just a way to show off.

Have a great week, and I hope you have some good music to fill your lives.


  1. I like my concertinis shaken, not stirred

  2. Hotspur said, “brave, selfless souls”

    Nailed it perfectly.

    I think as a generation they were waaaay less self centered.

  3. But I also believe they came back so completely disgusted with war and conflict (internally) that they avoided conflict at all costs with their children (or at least a large portion of them). The result was the boomer bitches who started the ball rolling on the narcissistic world we live in now. Or at least a contributing factor. Just a theory, and I ain’t mad at em, cause the mofos got off of boats onto beaches being swept by machine guns and motars and flew big slow ass bomb laden aircraft through skies filled with fighters and flak.

    Brave, selfless souls.

  4. We’re up to 5 flags on the vote counter which is making this a worldwide competition. This week was a little unfair to the competition because Lauren was truly miles above the other contestants.


    ^^^ This is probably paywalled but maybe not. If you have a workaround and can read it you will probably be as amused as I was.

  6. Thinking of those WW2 soldiers and realizing they were born and experienced the Great Depression helps to put it in perspective.

    Last night I went down the nostalgia route when I was remembering my newspaper route in the Village and Blizzard of ’78 and started looking at historic photographs of my hometown on DuckDuckGo. I have vague memories of some of the buildings and cobblestone roads that were eventually paved over. Seeing some of the buildings without the clutter that existed when I was an older kid was interesting. Then I realized my mother was born and raised in the same city about 23 years before me and how much more vivid the memories she must have had of the old Brockton.

  7. The Boston Herald article is frightening.

    Biden was almost always the dumbest man in the senate – we know that.

    But his illness smashes what little ability he had into dust.

  8. We all know Biden is a dumb prop, but you have sellout tools like Hewitt on his radio show saying “he’s not impaired, I call him mentally infirmed.” The guest called him impaired, a lot.


  9. wakey wakey

  10. Thanks Carin, I was struggling.

  11. Potato, potatoh, he’s barely keeping it together with all the props behind him now so you can call it infirmity, impaired or dementia. As the article said, can you imagine him a year from now?

  12. I got you

  13. That might be what Stella is saying every morning.

  14. How is it an infirmity? He’s not going to get better.

  15. It may be. It may be more along the lines of “Get up bitch, time to get shit done”.

    Which is a bit offensive, because I don’t know that she is exactly knocking it out of the park with any doggy “to do” list.

  16. The Wall St Journal oped page weighed in. They are concerned.

    This Joe Biden fellow might not be up to the job.

    FFS. There isn’t a palm and a face big enough for the faux intellectuals on the right. They’re so cringey.

  17. I’m not re-subbing to WSJ until they completely admit that their attitude contributed to Biden being president. Can’t say “elected” because that’s not what happened.

  18. Yeah, I read something along those lines at the WSJ recently.

    All I can picture is John McClane yelling out the smashed window of Nokatomi Plaza, “Welcome to the party pal!”

  19. I get the WSJ free. I’d never pay for that bullshit.

    They’re so out of touch it’s unreal.

    Spats and monocles are not making a comeback. Sell your spats and monocle stocks, Mr. Percy Hamilton Ashby Wellington. Trust me.

  20. She could also be saying YOU’RE LATE

  21. I used to love when Rosetta would let everyone know the book thread was up.

    Made me laugh for some reason.

  22. You music geniuses probably know the magical megahertz that classical music hits to “soothe the savage breast.”

  23. All I can picture is John McClane yelling out the smashed window of Nokatomi Plaza, “Welcome to the party pal!”



    Although their fake ignorance isn’t funny.

  24. Die Hard is a Christmas movie.

  25. Stella is overshadowed by a new addition.
    she used to be the center of attention.

  26. yippee-ki-yay

  27. Daughter sick again so we’re staying home from mass. The kids appear to be sharing every conceivable respiratory infection first thing in the school year. That plus her limited diet and she’s already missed like 10 days of school.

  28. The kids appear to be sharing every conceivable respiratory infection…….


    After every break from school, even the holidays. The kids go off get germs, come back to school and swap them. The kids are usually good after a few days, but it’s rough on the parents.

  29. This time last week I was digging in for the long haul in the hospital. Today I’m not. Progress!

  30. You gotta hang-tough through the snot Leon, she’ll have a better immune system that she’ll never thank you for.

  31. Roamy ♥ Carin.

    I posted about New Belgium beer virtue-signalling with their Torched Earth beer (this is how beer will taste if we don’t do something about climate change). Carin is on fire with the comments.

  32. Outer banks? Looks nice, storming here. Supposedly going to cabin next weekend for a last hurrah outdoor cookout shoot fest of the year. God willing and the creek don’t rise.

  33. heh where is the new Belgium woke beer post?

  34. We love the Outer Banks, but Oak Island is a bit South, closer to Wilmington and Southport. Same concept, but this is the closest beach to Charlotte for us and we love it here.

  35. On my FB wall, Jay.

  36. Also, all my lib acquaintances who shrieked about Mitt Romney’s dog are strangely quiet about Fauci’s beagles.

  37. What’s up with Fauci’s beagles?

  38. his division funded animal research on them in Tunisia. beagles puppies locked up and exposed to sandflies to study disease. some had vocal cords removed to silence barking.

  39. Makes me think of Al Capone and tax evasion. We can’t get him fired over gain of function research, maybe this with the dogs will work.

  40. Roamy ♥ Carin.

    I posted about New Belgium beer virtue-signalling with their Torched Earth beer (this is how beer will taste if we don’t do something about climate change). Carin is on fire with the comments.

    I know a lot of you have people you don’t really want to … attack/engage when they say something stupid.

    That’s when I step in. I say what you can’t (to keep the peace, etc).

  41. I love this song so much. Perfect example of the power of increasing intensity. The visuals I’m the video are great, too, with the flares.

  42. Has anyone checked into the Fauci family tree? Maybe Josef Meglele turns up in it.

  43. I think it’d be fun if during a tv interview the interrogator asked Fauci how he differs from Mengele. Whatching the smug smile drain off his face would be priceless!

  44. I know a lot of you have people you don’t really want to … attack/engage when they say something stupid.

    That’s when I step in. I say what you can’t (to keep the peace, etc).


    I would enjoy that job.

  45. There’s a Snow Patrol song I really like but I looked online and can’t find it. Huh. I never remember the names of songs.

  46. Ahhhh, It’s What if the Storm Ends.

  47. That song is also a “build up” song and people in comments are saying play it in two tabs 10 seconds apart.

  48. I hate that song. I first heard it while mom was fighting the cancer that wound up taking her. It’s indelibly linked with it now in my mind. Six months of hell I’d not wish on anyone.

    Six months of memories I’d strike in a heartbeat.

    Fuck that song.

    Not its fault, but fuck that song.

  49. I think we can all agree that liberal actors/film people shouldn’t be allowed guns. Even pretend ones.

  50. They are once again delaying the release of the Kennedy assassination records.

    “Temporary continued postponement is necessary to protect against identifiable harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or the conduct of foreign relations that is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in immediate disclosure,”

    That totally doesn’t make it sound like the government wasn’t involved…..

  51. Even if they release the records, they’ll have all been doctored and full of lies.

    At this point what difference does it make?

  52. 2/3 of the people alive today were still in their old man’s sack jumping ball to ball,

  53. No question Kennedy was assassinated- set up by the CIA. Have you heard the videos of Kennedy saying he was going to dismantle the CIA? I’ve heard hundreds of hours of guys walking through the assassination, the players, the lost evidence, what they didn’t do.

    There is nothing I would put past the CIA. And it should be dismanteled.

    Anything George Bush Sr was in charge of was garbage.

    And, really that’s my only rip on Pompeo.

  54. That totally doesn’t make it sound like the government wasn’t involved…..


    It’s clearly saying if the American public knew what the CIA did, the whole country would lose its shit.

  55. Now if we could just get rid of all of the Bushes and Clintons.

  56. And Bidens.

  57. They are once again delaying the release of the Kennedy assassination records.
    Story I read yesterday was blaming it on Covid 19

  58. It’s only 24 hours worth ^^^

  59. Kennedy was also taking away the ability of the fed to print money and giving it back to treasury.

  60. The “Bomb Cyclone” off the coast is affecting us, now. Big thunder, lightning, and high winds. Forty thousand + without power and getting worse.

  61. I really don’t care about the Kennedy deal, hell, it happened before I was born. Surely they disposed of anything remotely incriminating. Can the records make the CIA/FBI/??? look any worse?

    Refusing to release info just adds fuel to the fire.

  62. Hello, all! Daughter and SIL have had rain for five days straight in Truckee, CA. They’re not used to that much rain!

  63. Car in, are you going to post Chonkie puppers here, too?

  64. Rodham’s, Hotspur. Bill was their puppet. No way was the country ready to accept a female, or even a barely passable granny like Hillary, for POTUS in ’92.

  65. 26# ( four 8×13×2-1/2 dishes) of lasagne just landed in the freezer for the winter. Came up short on the meat sauce to finish the 5th, so that one is dinner tonight & a couple of days this week. Next weekend, put that pork butt I forgot about in the Treager and build 5 or 6 pans full of enchiladas to put away.

  66. As soon as I posted the storm comment, we lost power. Soon, we will play ‘Old Man Struggles With Generator’. We are above 68,000 without power, and climbing…

  67. BiW is having some storm excitement as well. Stay safe, ChrisP and Anita.

  68. DNH, if you don’t mind my asking, how do you make your enchiladas? Red or green?

  69. IT’S A TRAP

  70. Depends on the whim at the time, Oso. I tend to favor red, more often though.

  71. ^better half is a little older than me, let’s me cook what ever I want any way I want, just may not eat it, so I need to keep that in mind when I make the spicy stuff. I’m getting up there too, should probably follow her lead, but you ononly go around once.

  72. I prefer pork with red. Dan made red chile enchiladas the other day. Casserole, not stacked. Corn tortillas. I was getting used to green chile chicken lasagna. 🐻❤️🐶

  73. “We are above 68,000 without power, and climbing…….”


    Yeah, I’m looking for power outages to continue and become more common. A generator is fine for short term, but for a longer term I started looking into a solar backup system, just to keep some basic stuff on like lights, refrigerator, freezer, phones, internet going. Seems like the batteries are the major cost. Lead acid are a lot cheaper, but require maintenance and give off fumes that have to be vented. Lithium perform better, but man are they pricey.

    Pretty sure everything is going to get worse in the not too distant future. Politicians have been kicking the can down the road on infrastructure. Roads suck already, and I don’t think they’re going to spend the $ to fix them. Fewer police out there, and they don’t want to do anything because they’ll get sued, or cancelled. Supply chain is screwed. Penelope went shopping in ABQ, and Costco and Sam’s had limits on what you could buy.

  74. No. IT’S A DEATH TRAP. A suicide wrap….

  75. Pepe, Solar in the PNW is pretty much a no go for 9 months out of the year. Wind is iffy. When we built this house, I should have added a propane whole house generator. I’ve a 1,000 gallon tank that I fill once a year, when the price is at a minimum. As it is, I have a 5kw pull start that runs most of the lights, the well, the (gas) water heater, the LAN and fridge. For here, there is really no way out…

  76. Now, we’re at 80,500 without power. Oh Boy, this is gonna be great!11

  77. My sister made about three grand off a paltry amount of bitcoin in about two weeks. She has a small dedicated bank account for just this, and buys in tiny quantities, like seven dollars, twenty dollars, etc, for thousands or millions of teensy bitcoins that are worth almost nothing.

    She wants to come over and help me get set up next weekend.

    I’m like, what the Hell. I’m not the gambling type.

  78. Lumps, if you’re not the gamblin’ type ignore this.
    I have friends inside ZBH, word is ZBH is divesting its spinal and dental groups because in 2022 MDT is going to buy out ZBH. 2 weeks ago MDT announced it’s pulling operations out of Warsaw, where the ZBH world hq is located.
    ZBH is a strong player, if you can pick up a few share on a dip around $130 or $140 you won’t go wrong. If the word I’m hearing pans out, you’d want to sell & not look back after doubling your investment.

  79. What happened to the Chiefs?

  80. Apparently, our weak O Line and our shitty defense have been exposed. Teams are figuring out how to play Mahomes.

  81. 150,000 without power, and climbing. I got the gen-set running and we are baking apple muffins. They smell awesome!

  82. Hope you have a source for gasoline.


    (Imgur video with sound)


    (Imgur video with sound)

  85. The three-way standoff, one of the best scenes ever filmed. Interestingly, though Good, Bad & Ugly was the last of the trilogy, the events of the film come before the first two. There’s a little detail near the end that establishes this.

    Weather is utterly boring in Vegas aside from some intense wind action every 10 years or so. Power outages are rare, usually because somebody crashed their car into some equipment.

    That’s a big hotdog (which is a sandwich) Pupster.

  86. I wonder when the last time we actually had a legitimate federal government that truly worked for the best interests of The People. When did we go from “land of the free, home of the brave” to land of the lied to, home of the hoodwinked?

  87. To be taken down from yertube in 3, 2, 1…

  88. Yeah, not suggesting solar for you, ChrisP. Here in NM we get a lot of sun, so it’s way more feasible.

  89. I finished my accommodation letter, except I gotta look up one of the awards I received to make sure I have the right name. It’s one of those etched glass things for engineering excellence or something. I have a section for “job affirmation”, as suggested by:

    so I’m bragging on myself. I have other awards that mean a lot more to me, but that was a big deal at the time.

  90. This was helpful, too.

  91. Roamy,
    I figured your cardiac arrhythmia and ablation would put you in the clear. Will your cardiologist not give you a pass?

  92. Haven’t been able to talk to the cardiologist yet. Primary care doc will not sign any exemption.

  93. I was wondering, how much money has the gov’t spent on all these stupid vax ads? We’ve been inundated since the beginning with “stay home, stay safe” up through “vax already and your kids too”. What a waste.

  94. Denver expanded rail projects.

  95. I would post chonky puppy pictures here, but I can’t figure out how to do it on my phone.

  96. Stella’s doing her thing this morning. It is so irritating. I have no fucking clue what she wants.

  97. Roamy, get rid of that primary care quack!

  98. Carin, I just send my pictures to Leon or Jay. I’m too lazy to learn how to do a task that occurs every couple of years. If I was posting pictures weekly I’d be embarrassed about my ignorance but I’m not!

  99. Roamy, please disregard my last comment. I’m not in a position to judge doctors since I haven’t been to one in 5 years.

    The whole process of getting a new doctor is daunting. And now, knowing what we know about how most are sellouts and for self-preservation (which I understand but don’t necessarily respect) follow standard of practice guidelines. Ufffff.

  100. Comment by Jimbro on October 25, 2021 7:07 am
    Carin, I just send my pictures to Leon or Jay. I’m too lazy to learn how to do a task that occurs every couple of years. If I was posting pictures weekly I’d be embarrassed about my ignorance but I’m not


    100% Simpatico.

  101. HA!

  102. I just saw on Ace’s side bar that someone (Ace, maybe) ripped on that asshole, sellout, Hewitt. He’s so bad.

    I heard Hewitt speak in St Pete with Prager and Gallager. He had interesting stories but I was there for Prager.

    Gallagher, maybe because he’s fat, was all in on masks and vaccines. Although he’s not for mandates.

    *The panel was not about covid this was in 2019 before covid hit.

  103. When Leon wakes up, i’ll try again to add pictures to the new poat.

  104. I’m awake, MMM should be up in about 10min.

  105. MMM 467

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