Questions tagged [conducting]

Directing the performance of a piece of music or a musical ensemble by way of visible gestures.

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61
votes
6answers
12k views

What does a conductor actually do?

Looking for the roles of the conductor during a musical performance, I mainly came across answers as the following, taken from Wikipedia: "The primary duties of the conductor are to unify ...
26
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10answers
8k views

Why are conductors required at orchestra performances?

I am not a music expert and I have always wondered why orchestra performances require a conductor to play. The musicians are presumably professionals who have had much practice at this point, so why ...
20
votes
7answers
564 views

Keeping track of problems during rehearsals

As a mostly untrained conductor, one problem I've always had is keeping track of problems with a piece as we work through it. Something will stick out and I'll want to go back, but all I could ...
19
votes
3answers
4k views

What are the baton movements for different time signatures?

How does the baton move up and down and at a curve to determine the time signature? What are the different movement patterns for 2/2, 3/2, 2/4, 3/4 and 4/4 time?
19
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3answers
10k views

Why use a baton?

What are the guidelines and benefits for using a baton? I would like to know, specifically, whether I would benefit from buying one for the purpose of conducting a choir. Are there rules that dictate ...
15
votes
6answers
854 views

What greater possibilities allows playing late from the conductor

There's a lot of differences in the way conductors direct the tempi in orchestral representation, but one of them is the timing between when we're expected to play and the actual down movement of the ...
12
votes
4answers
233 views

Getting a youth band to look up

Tomorrow I'm standing in for the conductor to lead a rehearsal of my "training" band. This is effectively a school group: most of the players are fairly new and still have trouble reading music, ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

What is a typical career path to become a conductor?

Is the conductor trained as a conductor from beginning or is it so that a really good player of some musical instrument may eventually become a conductor? Can actually a typical conductor play himself ...
12
votes
1answer
264 views

What are the main schools of thought on conducting?

Conductor Kevin Purcell writes on his personal website: There are schools of conducting thought that have evolved over the years. Some of the more prominent of these (in no specific order) are ...
10
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4answers
1k views

Should the soloist watch the conductor?

I have been watching many videos of concert band performances which has a soloist standing just beside the conductor. Let's now assume that we are talking about a trombone concerto with a solo ...
9
votes
4answers
286 views

When and why should the conductor be separate or not from the musicians?

Sometimes the conductor and the pianist or first violinist are the same person; sometimes they're different people. What are the advantages of each system? (I'm talking about inherent advantages, not ...
9
votes
4answers
816 views

How does one “practice conducting”?

This is my first post on the site! I'm 15, a pianist, and have been interesting in conducting for a long time. I know quite a bit about it, I bought a book on it, have a few batons, a favourite ...
8
votes
3answers
165 views

Performance of classic music [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What does a conductor actually do? I've heard different versions of Johann Strauss II: "Tales from the Vienna Woods", - they were guided by the different conductors? So what ...
8
votes
1answer
203 views

Why does the conductor also play harpsichord when there is already a harpsichordist in the orchestra?

When listening to Baroque chamber music, it is not uncommon to see the harpsichordist or the soloist being also the conductor. However, there were two harpsichords in this concert, one dual manual ...
7
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3answers
4k views

What makes a great conductor?

What qualities do great conductors share? Are there unique qualities that make a particular conductor great that do not exist in other conductors?
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Aren't conductors like Valery Gergiev hard for orchestras to follow?

All of the conductors I've had in the past have had a very... English style of conducting. They show you what they want with the baton and then you play it, but God forbid that you play with or (gasp) ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

How to get experience as a young conductor?

Firstly, sorry if this question is off topic. I thought this would be the best place to post it. I'm a teenage composer. I've written a few orchestral pieces before, and I also am fluent at playing a ...
6
votes
3answers
879 views

Has there ever been an orchestra without a conductor?

I don't think I have ever seen an orchestra where there wasn't someone conducting. Has there ever been such an example of an orchestra? Edit: By conductor, I mean the guy swinging the baton:
5
votes
4answers
799 views

Conducting pattern - one spot, or multiples?

I've seen two ways of beating time, and I'm not sure if there's a clear better choice. One way is for the ictus to always be in the same spot in front of you, with a followthrough to prepare for the ...
5
votes
3answers
646 views

Mathematics of Ritardando

Beyond feel & experience, is there a rule conductors use for ritardando in terms of (a) its rate, (b) its change in rate, and/or (c) the relationship between the final tempo and the tempo of the ...
5
votes
2answers
72 views

Proper course of study for someone who wants a career as a conductor

I have a friend who recently graduated at the top of his class at a prestigious east coast music conservatory. (He graduated with a bachelors of music.) He wants to be a conductor and applied to a ...
4
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3answers
580 views

Why do conductors not need research-level musicology to succeed?

Question: Please see the title. Assumption: The conductor cannot imitate or rely on previous recordings, especially if a musical work has never been performed or recorded before. Argument: Any ...
4
votes
3answers
207 views

How to read conductor's gestures from the side

I play soprano cornet in a British brass band. The ensemble is seated so that if the conductor spreads his hands as wide as he can, his left hand points at me and his right hand points at principal ...
4
votes
2answers
120 views

Prepping to conduct an incomplete score

When I studied conducting at the conservatory, we always had, well, scores to work with. I got very good at reading, understanding, and working with full scores for many sorts of ensembles. And when ...
4
votes
0answers
148 views

How long was Adrian Boult's baton? Why did he use such a long one?

This question is fairly self-explanatory -- watching Boult conduct is almost magical. There are some excerpts from a BBC documentary floating around that explain in part the development of is singular ...
2
votes
2answers
452 views

Hearing a click track above an orchestra

The amateur orchestra I am in, the Cambridge Concert Orchestra, are involved in the Somme100 FILM project which means we'll be performing Laura Rossi's score alongside the silent film footage. To keep ...
2
votes
1answer
34 views

How should choir music be notated to best suit how conductors need to conduct?

How should choir music be notated to best suit how conductors need to conduct, to make it easier for singers to follow the conductor? I see at least two issues here: what are the beats that the ...
2
votes
1answer
168 views

How should I conduct a double time tempo change?

I am working on a pop arrangement. It starts out in a simple 4/4 quarter note equals 90 and then a tempo change doubles it. Now it's eight notes = 90 and quarter = 180. Do I change the time signature ...
2
votes
1answer
146 views

Where is “one”? How do you keep track?

I recently watched a YouTube excerpt of Jack Feierman's master class in which he alludes to techniques that can be developed to know where "one" is. He has a click ...
2
votes
1answer
76 views

Does the conductor sometimes play with the soloist (Or on his own)?

I watched the following two videos and it gave me the distinct idea that the conductor played something of his own choosing. Does this happen or am I getting my wires crossed? Malaguena: ...
2
votes
3answers
123 views

circles and other gestures not really keeping time

I notice Leonard Bernstein often conducts very expressively while leaving the time signature out of his gestures. I notice this especially when he conducts pieces that were written by Mozart. If he ...
1
vote
5answers
847 views

Importance of an orchestral conductor and their baton-work as timekeeper? [duplicate]

I've often wondered what the point is of someone keeping time with a baton or hand, when the orchestra is highly skilled and can understand the piece and the score to a very high standard. (I'm ...
1
vote
3answers
115 views

Why oughtn't conductors use and mirror both hands to indicate the beat?

Wikipedia doesn't, but let's, assume and focus on those moments when the non-dominant hand isn't necessary to cue ictuses or indicate "dynamics, phrasing, expression, and other elements". While ...
1
vote
4answers
170 views

What are the characteristics of an easy piece to conduct? Examples?

Pieces like Beethoven's 5th Symphony have been described to me (by conductors) as "notoriously difficult." So what do they start beginners on? And what makes certain pieces more challenging than ...
0
votes
1answer
1k views

Which set of books could I read to become an advanced conductor?

I would like a list of three to ten books to learn all there is to know about conducting. Please be concise, try to cover all the stages from a beginner conductor (but already an experienced adult ...
0
votes
1answer
102 views

Curlicues, small circles, for breath marks when conducting

Is anybody familiar with a conducting technique in which the conductor adds a small circle, curlicue, to the conducting hand when she wants the ensemble to take a breath? My impression is typically ...
-1
votes
1answer
251 views

Why would a conductor use a pen to conduct? [duplicate]

During Round 2, Phase 2 in the 2011 Tchaikovsky Piano Competition, the conductor Alexey Utkin used a pen to conduct for at least 2 Piano Concertos, such as for Mr Seong-jin Cho's performance of Mozart'...