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A piano concerto is a type of concerto, a solo composition in the Classical

music genre which is composed for a piano player, which is typically
accompanied by an orchestra or other large ensemble. Piano concertos are
typically virtuoso showpieces which require an advanced level of technique on
the instrument, including melodic lines interspersed with rapid scales, arpeggios,
chords, complex contrapuntal parts and other challenging material. When piano
concertos are performed by a professional concert pianist, a large grand piano is
almost always used, as the grand piano has a fuller tone and more projection than
an upright piano. Piano concertos are typically written out in music notation,
including sheet music for the pianist (which they typically memorize so that they
can play the concert without sheet music), orchestra parts for the orchestra
members, and a full score for the conductor, who leads the orchestra in the
accompaniment of the soloist.

Depending on the era in which a piano concerto was composed, the orchestra parts
may provide a fairly subordinate accompaniment role, setting out
the bassline and chord progression over which the piano plays solo parts (more
typical during the Baroque music era, from 1600 to 1750 and the Classical music
period, from 1730 to 1800), or the orchestra may be given an almost equal role to
the piano soloist, with orchestra instrumentalists and sections introducing key
musical themes and playing virtuostic parts for their instruments and in which
there is a "dialogue" or "conversation" between the piano soloist and the orchestra.
When music students and music competition auditionees play piano concertos,
the orchestra part may be performed in an orchestral reduction, a conversion of
the orchestra parts into a part for an accompanist playing piano or pipe organ, as
it is very expensive to hire a full orchestra. Keyboard concerti were common in
the time of Johann Sebastian Bach in the Baroque music era, during the Classical
music period and during the Romantic music era (1800–1910). Keyboard
concertos are also written by contemporary classical music composers.
Twentieth- and 21st-century piano concertos may include experimental or unusual
performance techniques. In the 20th and 21st century, J.S. Bach's harpsichord
concertos are sometimes played on piano. There are variant types of piano
concertos, including double piano concertos, for two solo pianists and orchestra,
and double or triple (or larger solo groups) concertos in which the piano soloist is
joined by a violinist, cellist, or another instrumentalist.