Follow the Solo: The Formal Evolution of the Concerto in the Eighteenth-Century

Omer Maliniak, Yoel Greenberg

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1 Scopus citations


We examine the evolution of the form of the first movement in the eighteenth-century concerto from the Baroque ritornello plan to the eighteenth-century Classical concerto by means of a statistical corpus study. Our data yields a more nuanced understanding of several key characteristics of this evolution, characteristics that have been observed by both contemporary and present-day theorists. We demonstrate how the rise in both quantity and thematic quality of the soloist’s part enabled the convergence of ritornello practices with sonata-form features. We conclude with analytical case studies of works by C. P. E. Bach and Josef Mysliveček, showing how their formal solutions fit within this evolutionary process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-259
Number of pages29
JournalMusic Theory Spectrum
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


  • Baroque concerto
  • C. P. E. Bach
  • Classical concerto
  • Myslivecek
  • ritornello form
  • sonata form


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