Solo (music)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Trumpeter, bandleader and singer Louis Armstrong: as soloist.

In music, a solo (from the Italian: solo, meaning alone) is a piece or a section of a piece played or sung featuring a single performer, who may be performing completely alone or supported by an accompanying instrument such as a piano or organ, a continuo group (in Baroque music), or the rest of a choir, orchestra, band, or other ensemble. Performing a solo is "to solo", and the performer is known as a soloist.

The plural is soli or the anglicised form solos; in some context these are interchangeable, but soli tends to be restricted to classical music, and mostly either the solo performers or the solo passages in a single piece. Furthermore, the word soli can be used to refer to a small number of simultaneous parts assigned to single players in an orchestral composition; in the Baroque concerto grosso, the term for such a group of soloists was concertino.

History[edit]

18th century[edit]

In the Baroque and Classical periods, the word solo was virtually equivalent to sonata, and could refer either to a piece for one melody instrument with (continuo) accompaniment, or to a sonata for an unaccompanied melody instrument, such as Johann Sebastian Bach’s sonatas for violin alone.[1]

See also[edit]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ David Fuller, "Solo", The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell (London: Macmillan Publishers, 2001).