-Many people go and see orchestras and bands and always see the conductor there in the front. However not many people really understand what the conductor is doing. They are waving their arms around (that part is true) however the way they &#x201C;wave&#x201D; their arms is actually very strategically thought out. Every musician knows and understands what the conductor is communicating to them. The conductor is telling the musicians (of utmost importance) where the beat is in the measure.
A conductor must know their score thoroughly and be able to convey it to the players. They have to be a good musician and many instruments so that they can talk to every player about their part. &#x201C;The art of conducting is the highest, most complete synthesis of all facets of musical activity.&#x201D; A conductor is there to make music. A conductor must be inspired by the music but also must be able to translate what he wants from the musicians.
1. Needs to know many instruments 2. Has to have enough confidence in oneself to be able to stand up in front of many people all the time. 3. Has to be able to get through a lot in a little rehearsal time. 4. Conductors are ALWAYS learning. Whether how to command a group, or learn another instrument, or learn how to better their own conducting skills. 5. They have to have patience so that when a musician doesn&#x2019;t understand something or when they are having trouble getting a part. But then also impatience when a group of musicians are goofing off, or talking, and knowing that as the conductor it is okay to get impatient with them and tell them they need to pay attention. 6. Conductors have to have dedication to both the music and the players. If there was not dedication in the conductor, then why would anyone be there? 7. A good memory is very helpful to be able to remember what all the parts are playing at one point. And also being able to remember what to tell the musicians/how to play something. 8. Leadership talent is VERY important. If not a leader than, no conductor. A conductor is LEADING the orchestra to create beautiful music. They need to know how to lead. 9. Creativity, imagination, and inventiveness is needed for conductors because THEY are the ones deciding how they want to interpret the music. They then have to relay that to the musicians. So being creative with the interpretation of the music is very important. Being creative as a conductor is &#x201C;realizing&#x201D; a composer&#x2019;s musical creation. 10. Curiosity is needed because a conductor needs to be curious about ALL types of music. They never know when they will be conducting next. 11. Courage is very important because a conductor has to have enough courage to stand in front of people, and put themselves on a very scary line. They are the one and only conductor. there are many musicians in an orchestra, but only one person standing up there telling them how to play it.
The first quote may seem intense. But it is true. Conductors are people who are born with all the characteristics I named before. Being able to stand in front of groups of being and understanding music better than many others. The second quote is explaining all the things that conductors SHOULD know. But ultimately the natural instinct comes from the spirit. Something that no one can really explain.
-A conductor is working. It is their job to get the music to sound right. So they may yell and act very forceful towards different musicians. But a conductor could be a COMPLETELY different person outside of rehearsal. When they are not at rehearsal, they aren't working anymore. They can relax.
Leadership is just so important in being a conductor that there is so much detail about it. -The &#x201C;conductor-leader&#x201D; must be totally committed to what he/she does and enjoys leading. -The conductor-leader must have a clear vision of what the/she hopes to accomplish musically. This means having formulated objectives, setting priorities, and developing an agenda for achieving them. They must communicate this vision with clarity and in a way that stimulates and moves players. -The conductor-leader must have excellent people skills. Getting everyone to be committed and involved in the work of the group is of the leader&#x2019;s most important and greatest challenges. -The conductor-leader&#x2019;s commitment to a group is revealed through his/her actions and behavior. A strongly committed leader is prepared to do whatever is necessary, to stay the course, and never give up. -Making decisions and judgments in a timely manner is very important. The conductor should seek out information both pro and con before making a decision. -The conductor-leader must possess great motivational skills. This is the core leadership. -the conductor-leader must understand the desires and hopes of his/her orchestra. Working to achieve them should be a priority in the leader&#x2019;s plan of action. -The conductor-leader must have excellent communication skills. Maintaining effective communication with everyone is essential. -The goal of a dedicated conductor-leader is excellence. Cultivating an understanding that achieving and maintaining excellence demands extraordinary amounts of dedication and commitment, is very important. -Personal ambition and/or a desire to advance oneself is often the fuel that drives leaders. However, it should never blind them to the responsibilities and obligations. -The conductor-leader must be optimistic and have a positive attitude. These are importnat for generating confidence in his/her orchestra.
-A composer sits down and writes a piece of music. It is their job. Yes, they love to do it and love to be creative. But as the quote says it is their JOB. They work, and their work is creating music. -Quote &#x201C;Talent is the ability to learn, genius is the ability to develop&#x201D; -Arnold Schoenberg -However after that process is over, (of creating the music), then steps in the conductor. Many conductors do not get to met the composer of the piece they are about to conduct. Especially if they are conducting Mozart, or Beethoven. They obviously can&#x2019;t met them. And without meeting the composer they don&#x2019;t know exactly what the composer wanted. How that composer heard it in their head. So what the conductor has to do is be the re-creator. the conductor himself has to decide how the piece is going to sound. The composer wrote out the notes and rhythms, but the conductor is the one expressing it with the orchestra. Feeling the song, and getting the emotion of what the conductor THINKS the composer wants.
-One of the main things a conductor has to do is interpret the score from the way the composer wrote it. -Choosing the &#x201C;right&#x201D; tempo is one of the most important interpretation decision a conductor has to do. -In determining phrasing in traditionally composed music, consider melody and harmony together. Conductors also have to be alert to ways a repeated phrase can be varied. -Dynamic adjustments are acceptable if they contribute to clarity of expression and the emotional content of the work -Even though orchestration is fixed, there is considerable opportunity to vary the character and color of sounds -Silences in a score, whether written out as rests or indicated in other ways, contribute to the emotional impact of the music. -Be sensitive and especially attentive to passages that are particularly important to musical expression -Listening to other conductors&#x2019; interpretations/performances while studying a piece may inhibit a conductor&#x2019;s imagination -A conductor&#x2019;s interpretation of a piece changes with the passing of time. Each new encounter should provoke new questions, new ideas and generate a different (not necessarily too different) realization/interpretation of the music. -Conductors must always respect the score and be very cautious about altering anything in it.
Representative gestures-they are conservative, disciplined and un-decorative. Expressive mime gestures-they are freer and include varying degrees of pantomime. Explanation by word of mouth-self explanatory.
When conducting, the conductor listens, compares, evaluates, and through the use of gestures, communicates what he/she wants from players in order to realize his/her imagined idea.
-Many professional players can become very defense when a conductor gives them a suggestion/comment towards them. Having a sense of humor helps and is a good way to ease tension. -Players do not appreciate conductors who over-rehearse them. A professional ensemble is supposed to come as prepared as possible, so the conductor should actually be ending rehearsals, maybe even early. If a conductor over-rehearses then at performances orchestras can sometimes be uninspired and disappointing. -Good conductor/player relationships exist in organizations where the expectations of the conductor, players, administrators, and audience are being realized. They are built on meaningful, rich, and fulfilling musical experiences. These experiences create a positive environment.
-The hands and arms operate between the waist and head. -The extension of the hands and arms is a symbolic gesture inviting players to join the conductor in making music.
-The technique of conducting is based on the gestures made by the hands and/or baton. -Conducting should both be master with both the baton and with just your hands. -The earliest conducting was done with hands alone. The conductor would sit at the organ or piano (often with his figured bass part) and make signs now and then to singers and players, thumping out a audible beat. -Conducting has grown into the most refined sign-language we know today. -The tip of the baton gives the clearest possible definition of the exact instant of when the beat is.
-The time beating pattern (usually a 4 beat pattern) is always done in the right hand. It can be mirrored by the left hand. But the right hand never stops give the beats. -So even if conductors are naturally left handed they learn how to do it with their right hand. -However the left hand is the one that gives all the cues to the orchestra.
-Cues are also always given with the left hand, while the right hand keeps the beat.
-Obviously from this list, cues are given by the conductor to HELP the musicians.
-Musicians learn from a young age what each time signatures means. (The next slide explains more) -There are two numbers on time signatures. The top number is the number of notes per measure. The bottom note is the kind of note it is. It can be a whole, half, quarter, etc. note.
-4/4 is the most common time signature. -It means that there are four notes in a measure and there are four quarter notes in a measure. -4/4 is the most common time signature. So instead of a 4/4 next to the treble clef they write a big C
-Top number: 4 of something -Bottom number: kind of note; whole, half, quarter, etc. note
-If it is one it means it&#x2019;s a whole note -If it is two it means it&#x2019;s a half note -If it is four it means it&#x2019;s a quarter note -If it is eight it means it&#x2019;s a eighth note -If it is 16 it means it&#x2019;s a sixteenth note -An explanation of what each of those notes look like are on the next slide.
-Musicians learn how to read these notes when they start an instrument. -A note is held for different lengths for what it looks like.
-The two edge pictures are of examples of time signatures. -The middle chart explains what some time signatures are and how to read it and what it means.
-Conductors learn what each time signature means and how they have to conduct to convey where the beat is for the musicians. -The conductor conducts 4/4 differently than 3/4 differently than 6/8.
-A beat pattern is what the conductor is actually doing. That&#x2019;s the &#x201C;official&#x201D; name. No matter with they are waving their arms in a 4 beat pattern, or 3 beat pattern, it doesn&#x2019;t matter. What a conductor is doing, is a beat pattern.
-Beat one always goes down. No matter what beat pattern someone is conducting, beat one is ALWAYS done. -Then depending on what time signature the music is in, the conductor then conducts it accordingly.
-The start of the sound is given with a preparatory beat. -The preparatory beat must take the time exactly one beat of the time-beating gestures to follow -Stopping the sound needs to be precise the orchestra knows EXACTLY when to cut off, so that everyone is together.
-Inner hearing is the ability to &#x201C;hear&#x201D; a score&#x2019;s notational symbols without recourse to audible sound -A way to do this is sit down at a piano, listen and fix the pitch in your &#x201C;inner ear.&#x201D; However don&#x2019;t sing it. Then think of the next note a half step higher and sing it, and then check to see if you are correct with the piano. -Start by studying and inner-hearing a solo line of music. After that, have someone play the music on the piano or another instrument, inserting mistakes (wrong notes or rhythms) and then identify the mistakes. -Conductors must develop excellent skills in reading music in all clefs (G [treble], F [bass], and C clefs) -The ability to read and play scores at the piano is a great asset for conductors. Being able to read and play scores at the piano is especially helpful for &#x201C;reading and hearing&#x201D; complex musical scores. -Constructing (writing out) condensed/compressed scores from full scores can hlep conductors better visualize and inner-hear the music
-Score study begins with an examination of the information found on the cover and in the opening pages of the score: title of piece, composer/arranger, publisher, date of publication, listing of parts, performance duration, dedication/commissioning information, and program notes. Once that has been done then the conducotr should look at the first page of music to see if the score is in C (concert pitch) or transposed. -The primary purpose of &#x201C;score readings&#x201D; is to develop an unbroken inner hearing image of the piece. Readings should continue until the conductor has acquired a lear skeletal image of the piece in his/her mind. -In this phase of score study the conductor analyzes all the work&#x2019;s musical components. In traditionally composed music, these components are melody, harmony, form, tempo. meter, rhythm, orchestration, texture, dynamics, stylistic articulations, and expressive terms. -The interpretation of a piece represents a conductor&#x2019;s personal image of the music&#x2019;s expressive character, meaning, spirit, and soul.
-Some conductors mark EVERYTHING. Others just mark a couple of things. -Conductors mark things that are important but things they may forget while their on the podium. Things that conductors mark are dynamics, tempo changes, time signatures, difficult to remember entrances of different instruments, accelerandos or ritardandos. Those are just some of the things that conductors mark.
-Drum Majors have to give very precise beat patterns because there are so many people and they are all spread out on a football field. -Drum Majors started out in the military with military bands and so the military aspect has just stuck with marching bands.
-Conducting an orchestra is a lot more relaxed than marching band conducting. -However this does not mean that orchestra conductors aren&#x2019;t forceful. When the music calls for it a orchestra conductor can become forceful with their beat patterns, almost looking like a drum major. -Because orchestra conducting is more relaxed they usually just use their right hand to conduct and only bring their left hand up for cues or a dynamic change.
-A conductor for pit orchestra has many things to think about. -The conductor obviously conducts the orchestra right in front of them, however they also have to conduct the actors on stage. The conductor has to make sure that the actors are singing at the exact time that they need to come in. The conductor has to make sure that everyone is together. -The conductor also has to conduct actors who are backstage. The conductor conducts to a camera and the actors have a TV backstage to watch them.
Why are they waving their
arms like that?
A conductor does wave
their arms around,
however they are
needs to be
-A good musician
“Finally any conductor worth his salt
must have a mind trained to work as
fast as lightning and a thousand times
more continuously.” (Green, 2)
-Understand they are
there to make music
Personal Characteristics of
Musical talent Dedication
Conﬁdence in oneself Good memory
A strong work ethic Leadership talent
Passion for learning and Creativity, imagination,
Passion for music Curiosity
Patience and impatience (and Courage
the wisdom to know when to use
Quotes concerning personal
Stokowski states: “Conductors are born, not made. No amount of
academic education can make a real conductor out of someone who is
not born with the necessary qualities. But musical education and
general culture are of inestimable value to the born
conductor.” (Battisti, 6)
Bernstein: “...you have to knowledge, you have to have taste, you have
to have background, you should know languages, you should know the
literature of various periods in which the music that we play came
forth; but above all that, the main thing that counts is the natural
instinct that comes from the spirit.” (Battisti, 6)
-A conductor needs to get
work done in rehearsal. But
outside of rehearsal they may
be a diﬀerent person.
-”The challenge for any conductor is to
bring as many as a hundred or more
musicians together to cooperate in a
uniﬁed ensemble, and any partiality or
particular friendship would be detrimental.
Thus the conductor’s working personality
may diﬀer from his natural
personality.” (Rodriguez-Peralta, x)
Enthusiasm for leading Motivational skills
Skills in working with Communication skills
Desire for excellence
informed judgment Positive attitude
-First and for most it starts with the
Barron: “[If] I’m composing and someone enters my room unexpectedly.
What do I say: “Do not interrupt me. I am in the middle of creating.” No.
I say, “I am working.” Working is what we do...Often the word “creative” is
coupled with the word “genius:” “creative genius.” What is genius?...”Talent
is the ability to learn, genius is the ability to develop.” (Battisti, 65)
-The conductor is the re-creator
Tempi Listing to other
Restudying a score
Rests Green said: “Try to grasp the spirit
of the music. Interpretation is built
Important passages in the mind with the imagination
fully active.” (Battisti, 59)
Gestures to Communicate
Three diﬀerent types:
Expressive mime gestures
Explanation by word of mouth
Markevitch says: “What’s important is that [gestures convey the]
essence of the music.” (Battisti, 69)
“Gestures are a conductor’s spontaneous, immediate physical
reactions to what he/she hears.” (Battisti, 70)
Conductors must remember that behind every
instrument is a sensitive personality.
Conductors should never over-rehearse ensembles.
A conductors personality, artistry in conducting
performances, rehearsal, and leadership styles are
crucial factors to have excellent conductor/player
Stance of a
-Hands and arms extended
way from the body
-Also, don’t walk or dance
while on the podium
The Art of the Baton
The baton is the conductor’s
technical instrument which is
diﬀerent from his sounding
instrument (the orchestra)
The earliest conducting was done
with hands alone
The conductor’s slightest gesture
has an impact on players that
have been trained to watch
The baton is the “most eﬃcient
means of conveying a precise
message to the players, if its
technique has been
mastered.” (Green, 7)
-Time beating is done by the baton in
the right hand
-Everyone conducts with the right hand
(even if they are left handed)
-The “unnatural” hand will have to be
developed anyway. It is merely a matter
of training and self-discipline.
Rudolf states: “The ﬁrst beat in the bar
goes down and the last beat goes up; the
rest is experience” (Battist, 69)
Cues in the left hand
Cues are given to provide a sense of security for the
players, to control the exact moment of the sound, and
often to guide the attention of the audience to the
instrument/group of instruments they should hear
clearly at a given time.
When are cues given?
When an instrument or group of instruments enters
the music for the ﬁrst time after the piece has already
When an instrument or group of instruments enters
after a long rest.
When a single instrument begins an important solo or
When an entire section takes over the main theme.
-Time signatures tell
someone how many and what
kind of notes per measure
-The number on top is the
number of notes per
measure. The bottom note is
what kind of note.
Time Signatures Con’t
An example of a time
signature is 4/4
4/4 is the most
common, so it is
sometimes written in
music as a large C. C
Explanation of Numbers
Top number: 4
Which means there
is 4 of something.
Bottom number: 4
Explains what kind
of note there is
-The bottom number can
be 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, etc.
-All notes look diﬀerent
because they all have a
-A musician holds a whole
note longer than a quarter
Conductors and Time Signatures
Conductors know what
each time signature
means and knows how
to conduct it.
Each time signature
has a diﬀerent beat
pattern of how the
conductor will conduct
Arm and hand movements by the conductor that create
patterns to communicate to the performers the speciﬁc
beat of the music. These "patterns" aid the performers
in proper execution of the music. (Virginia Tech Multimedia
-Courage is needed to
start the sound
-Precision without accent
is needed to stop the
Skills needed in score
Developing inner hearing skills
Detecting wrong notes
Developing clef reading skills
Score reading at the piano
Creating condensed/compressed scores
-Score orientation and examination
According to Comet: “Score study takes
an immense amount of hours...More
than the audience would ever imagine. I
really believe...that only one percent of
our work is done at concerts. Four
percent...at the rehearsals. The
remaining 95 percent..with the
score.” (Battisti, 37)
Marking the Score
Score marking is
diﬀerent for each
Marking the scores
helps the conductor
things with in the
Conducting a Marching Band
Drum Majors have to
give very precise beat
Usually very military.
Conducting an Orchestra
A lot looser than a
Not so strict.
Usually only uses the
right hand and uses left
hand for cues.
Conducting Musical Theatre
The conductor has to
conduct the pit
Also has to conduct the
actors on stage and