With the rise of purely instrumental music in the Baroque Age, there also arose a flowering of instrumental forms and virtuoso performers to play them. One of the earliest masters of the soon-to-be predominant form of the concerto was the Italian composer and violinist Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713). Corelli pioneered the form of the concerto grosso, in which the principle element of contrast between two independent groups of instruments is brought into play. The larger group is called the ripieno and usually consisted of a body of strings with harpsichord continuo, while a smaller group or concertino consisted of two to four solo instruments. The various sections of the concerto would alternate between fast and slow tempos, or movements. Later composers of the period such as and Antonio Vivaldi transformed this genre into the solo concerto, in which the solo instrument is of equal importance as the string orchestra.


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