From the brass section comes the constant blare of automobile horns.
Chiming in for the percussion section are bumpers smashing, with breaking glass adding a special flourish.
Finally, for vocals, listen for a chorus of complaint from local residents, punctuated now and then by a foulmouthed solo from some angry motorist.
Put all this noise together and you have a symphony of discontent played twice daily on weekdays and all day Saturday in the Seven Corners area of Fairfax County.
The traffic around the seven-corner intersection -- created by Arlington Boulevard, Leesburg Pike, Wilson Boulevard, Sleepy Hollow Road, and Hillwood Avenue -- can bring out the worst in nearly anyone, people who suffer it regularly say.
"People want to get somewhere, but all they can do is sit. It makes people do crazy things," said Rosa Barerro, who lives near the area and works at the Seven Corners Woodward & Lothrop.
But for many residents of the diverse neighborhoods around Seven Corners, the traffic jams are merely a metaphor for a general suspicion that the area is neglected and taken advantage of by the rest of affluent Fairfax County -- feelings some say are heightened by a new sense of pride emerging in many of the aging neighborhoods.
At the eastern edge of Fairfax County, the Seven Corners area is one of the oldest commercial districts of the county, much of the development there built 30 or more years ago.
Robert Sparks, who represents the area on the Fairfax County Planning Commission, remembers growing up not far from Seven Corners. "Back then everyone looked at Seven Corners as the hot spot. It was new and glamorous," said Sparks.
Over the years, more and more development came, and the glamor started to fade.
"About five years ago the area was seen as really on the skids," conceded Sparks.
Since then, however -- to the surprise of many -- the Seven Corners area has caught something of a second wind. A new shopping center, The Corner, opened at the intersection earlier this year. And this fall, Willston Centre II will open on Arlington Boulevard, across Patrick Henry Drive from the original Willston Centre, built more than 30 years ago.
At the same time, developers and county planners say, the area's residential dwellings have been undergoing a dramatic transformation, with apartment renovations and condominium conversions now a routine occurrence.
"At some point in the life of a building, it naturally starts to run down, and something needs to be done . . . . Most of these buildings are the same generation, so a lot of [the renovation] has happened at once," said Norris Mitchell, co-owner of the Hollybrooke I and II apartment buildings on Patrick Henry Drive, which he is converting to condominiums.
Henry Ingersoll, owner of the Willston Centres, agreed that Seven Corners was poised for resurgence: "It's just like when your garage gets filled with junk. Eventually you'll want to clean it up."
Unlike some sections of Northern Virginia -- where residents have resisted development as an intrusion on open spaces -- at Seven Corners most people have welcomed the changes.
"In this case it is seen as an improvement because the area is so built up already. It's a question of the quality of the development," said Sparks.
Indeed, one of the few negative refrains heard consistently during Seven Corners' rebound has been about the chaos on the roads.
People who live near and shop at Seven Corners express resentment at the streams of commuters traveling through the area from their homes in the western portion of the county to the District and back again at the end of the day.
The clash between the two groups of motorists -- one seeking easy access to parking lots and side streets, the other seeking to get through the area as quickly as possible -- has created one of the most dangerous stretches of road in the county, according to county accident figures.
For example, 47 accidents occurred last year at the intersection of Arlington Boulevard and Patrick Henry Drive -- the second highest number of any intersection in the county. In 1983, the intersection was first in the county in total number of wrecks.
Many of the accidents seem to come from the frustration of trying to drive through the area when the roads are clogged. Said Barerro: "If you are fourth in line and want to make a turn, you might have to wait four lights to do it . . . . You just have to make a dive. Go for it."
Partial relief is on the way, with more than $1 million of county money to be spent on road improvements in the Seven Corners area beginning in the fall.
The money will go primarily to widen roads at key intersections and to synchronize traffic lights, which currently change with a maddening lack of rhythm, county transportation officials said.
Few people, however, are predicting these improvements will mean the end of traffic problems at Seven Corners.
"No one kids themselves that this . . . will stop all the accidents or even most of them," said Sparks.
Supervisor Thomas M. Davis III, whom Sparks and others credit with winning county support for the road improvements, agrees the money is inadequate to permanently solve Seven Corners' road problems. This, he said, would require vast amounts of new construction costing several million dollars.
Even getting a relatively small amount of money, Davis said, required hurdling pervasive attitudes in county government against spending money in the older eastern portion of the county.
"It's not trendy out here . . . . People don't like to talk about problems and needs in this section of the county. They think all the action is out in the west," Davis said.
Sparks agreed: "There's a real resentment among people that dollars here are going to build in West Springfield. I don't even know where West Springfield is."
Some residents even wonder if the improvements that are scheduled will make life easier for commuters traveling through Seven Corners -- and tougher for people who actually live there.
"I've looked at the plans again and again and I can't tell you what they'll do. It seems that things will be only a little less desirable than what we have now," said Todd Schaffner, who lives near Seven Corners.
It is this sort of weathered skepticism that comes from the knowledge that most people still view Seven Corners as a place to drive through. Yet above the constant murmur of the complaints and the traffic noise, there is an enthusiasm about people discussing Seven Corners that comes from the knowledge that the area is beating the odds. Said Sparks: "Keep your eye on this place . . . . I'm telling you it is taking off."