I was watching a baroque violin concert on Youtube and there was one person in the comments section talking about the uselessness of having a Director, since the concert included a basso continuo.

Does basso continuo make it unnecessary to have a Director? And if so, how does the basso continuo replace the function of the Director?

  • What is meant by innocuity?
    – guidot
    Sep 30 '18 at 4:42
  • The person said that it was redundant to have a director given the presence of the mentioned instrument in the orchestra. Surely the word is not properly employed. My fault, sorry
    – Crparedes
    Sep 30 '18 at 15:58

No, director/conductor and basso continuo do not exclude each other, but:

  • baroque ensembles are typically smaller and may simply not require one, see this question – the acoustic foundation of the continuo may be sufficient for smaller ensembles (combined with performers attention of each other)
  • the conductor may play the continuo, placed then in the center of the ensemble. A nice example on youtube is here
  • I would like to again vote up because of the edit including the very nice example
    – Crparedes
    Oct 1 '18 at 22:23
  • 1
    Agree that it has much to with the size of the ensemble. Smaller ensembles, say string quartet or wind quintet rarely plays with a director. Add that an ensemble might have played together for a long time and has reached a common understanding and common musical idea. Try that process in a 150 person symphony orchestra! Yet another reason may be that baroque music often are dances. As such the interpretation of tempi is more "regular" than in some other kinds of music.
    – ghellquist
    Oct 2 '18 at 16:23

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.