[A] sexily swirling dance that hypnotized all who heard it. [...] It is in triple time, with a stress on the second beat.... Players in the chacona band lay down an ostinato — a motif, bass line, or chord progression that repeats in an insistent fashion. Other instruments add variations, the wilder the better. [...] The result is a little sonic tornado that spins in circles while hurtling forward.Ross then explains the basso lamento — "motifs of weeping and longing [that] bring out profound continuities in musical history" — which consists of,
a [four- or six-note] repeating bass line that descends the interval of a fourth, sometimes following the steps of the minor mode [four notes] ... and sometimes inching down the chromatic scale [six notes].Ross makes all of this clear to us sonically by the use of audio clips accessed on the Listen to This Audio Guide; a nineteen-page collection of audio and video samples keyed to the book by chapter title and page number, and put together by Ross himself. For readers not familiar with the repertoire pertinent to this chapter, it's an invaluable aid, and we found ourself consulting it often once the discussion entered the realms of walking blues and of Led Zeppelin. Ross then spends the remaining thirty pages of this musically rich chapter tracing the careers of the chaconne and basso lamento throughout the history of Western music "from Renaissance madrigals to Led Zeppelin by way of Monteverdi, Purcell, and Bach," and a fascinating journey it is, too; one you owe it to yourselves not to miss taking part in if only as an outside observer going along for the ride. We assure you that you could have no better tour guide than the author of this superlative chapter and of this excellent book.