We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is the Baroque Concerto?

By Pablo Garcia
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Musical Expert is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Musical Expert, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The baroque concerto refers to a specific kind of concerto developed during the Baroque era. During this period, the concerto came to be represented by three distinct types of composition. They share in common the theme of contrasting or competing instruments within a composition of three movements. The concerto type was determined by the number and kind of solo instruments being played in conjunction with the orchestra. Each type of arrangement is considered baroque.

The Baroque era covers roughly the period from 1580 to 1750. Although the concerto had its beginnings as a concept in the Renaissance of the previous era, the concerto as a unique form of composition was established during the Baroque period. Baroque music in general was known for its ornate and imaginative style.

By the 1700s, there were three types of baroque concertos. The solo concerto was composed for one instrument, usually the piano or a string instrument, and an orchestra. A grosso concerto was written for two or more soloists accompanied by an orchestra. Orchestral concertos were performed by a single orchestra applying the same principles of contrasting instruments as did the solo and grosso concertos. All three types of concerto share a common compositional structure, style, and execution.

Any baroque concerto contains three movements. Each movement is a distinct piece within the composition but is linked with the other two. The arrangement is analogous to stanzas in a poem. The three movements’ tempos are played as fast/slow/fast, and the second movement leads into the third without pause.

A shared device of each type of baroque concerto is the “basso continuo," which calls for the use of a tone instrument such as a cello or viola playing the bass line. A chordal instrument such as a harpsichord, organ, or lute plays harmonies over the bass line. This results in two simultaneous and continuous harmonies.

Each movement is executed as a musical conversation of contrast and concord. It can be thought of as a kind of dialogue between the soloists and the orchestra. Throughout the first and second movement there is musical contrast that is almost a competition, as the different instruments vie to express the music. The soloist in a sense acts in the role of a virtuoso competing for the audience’s attention. The final movement results in a musical reconciliation of all the instruments.

At one time, the term concerto encompassed vocal solos accompanied by an orchestra, but by the mid 1600s the term meant only orchestral compositions. One type of baroque concerto, the solo concerto, has been in continual use to the present. As a compositional form, the basso concerto fell from favor at the end of the Baroque era but was revived in the 20th century.

Musical Expert is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Lostnfound — On Nov 21, 2014

I really like Handel's Water Music. It's probably my favorite concerto, period. It's so beautiful and truly reminds me of sitting by the river, watching the water run.

If you know what to listen for with Handel, you can spot him a mile away. When you hear the tune, it should come as no surprise he wrote the tune to the Christmas carol "Joy to the World." When you've listened to enough of his work, he just sticks out all over that tune. I actually listened during my music appreciation class and learned a lot!

By Grivusangel — On Nov 20, 2014

I think my favorite composer where concertos are concerned is Vivaldi. When I was in the college chorus, we did one of his oratorios, which got me interested in his other works, and I think his concertos are just beautiful. They're so lively and he keeps them interesting. They're not terribly long, but they are really sprightly.

I also like the Brandenberg concertos by Bach. His work is usually very linear, and he doesn't go all over the place, looking for a chord, like some modern composers do. His works end up exactly where you expect them to end up. This carries over into his choral works, which makes them much easier for a choir to learn, since they make musical sense.

Musical Expert, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Musical Expert, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.