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For other uses, see Conduct (disambiguation) and Conductor (disambiguation).

A conductor conducting at a ceremony

A conductor's score and batons
Conducting is the act of directing a musical performance by way of visible gestures. Orchestras,
choirs, concert bands and other musical ensembles often have conductors.


smaller sticks and unadorned hands are all shown in pictures from this period.[hide] • 1 Nomenclature • 2 History of conducting • 3 Technique ○ 3. This has been practiced at least as far back as the Middle Ages. who stabbed his foot with one while conducting a Te Deum for the King's recovery from illness. the staff was moved up and down to indicate the beat. Respected senior conductors are sometimes referred to by the Italian word. and despite the efforts of doctors the gangrene spread to his leg and he died two months later. other devices to indicate the passing of time came into use. Conductors of choirs or choruses are sometimes referred to as choral director.4 Other musical elements • 4 See also • 5 References • 6 Notes • 7 Further reading • 8 External links [edit] Nomenclature The principal conductor of an orchestra or opera company is sometimes referred to as a music director or chief conductor. acting as an early form of baton. chorus master.1 Beat and tempo ○ 3. In the 17th century. The large staff was responsible for the death of Jean-Baptiste Lully. Conductors of military bands and other bands may hold the title of bandmaster. [edit] History of conducting An early form of conducting is cheironomy. Rolled up sheets of paper. or by the German word. In the Christian church. the person giving these symbols held a staff to signify his role.[1] .3 Cueing ○ 3. Kapellmeister. or drum major. The wound became gangrenous. maestro ("master"). and it seems that as music became more rhythmically involved. the use of hand gestures to indicate melodic shape.2 Dynamics ○ 3. particularly for choirs associated with an orchestra. or choirmaster.

It was common to conduct from the harpsichord in pieces that had a basso continuo part. it became the norm to have a dedicated conductor. Among the earliest notable conductors were Louis Spohr. who could use his bow as a baton. who did not also play an instrument during the performance.A modern wooden conducting baton In instrumental music. Hector Berlioz and Richard Wagner were also great conductors. Carl Maria von Weber. and the principal violinist was in charge of the orchestra. Mendelssohn is claimed to have been the first conductor to utilize a wooden baton to keep time. Kurt Masur. Amongst prominent conductors who did not or do not use a baton are Leopold Stokowski. Berlioz is considered the first virtuoso conductor.the keyboard player was in charge of the singers. there were sometimes two conductors . Dimitri Mitropoulos. as it was easier to see than bare hands or rolled-up paper. and the use of a baton became more common. [citation needed] a practice still generally in use today. Pierre Boulez. [edit] Technique . This was sometimes the principal violinist. and they wrote two of the earliest essays dedicated to the subject. all of whom were also composers. or a lutenist who would move the neck of his instrument in time with the beat. a member of the ensemble usually acted as the conductor. By the early 19th century. In opera performances. Wagner was largely responsible for shaping the conductor's role as one who imposes his own view of a piece onto the performance rather than one who is just responsible for ensuring entries are made at the right time and that there is a unified beat. Leonard Bernstein and Nikolaus Harnoncourt.[2] Hans von Bülow is sometimes considered the first professional musician whose principal career was as a conductor. The size of the usual orchestra expanded during this period. Louis Antoine Jullien and Felix Mendelssohn.

[edit] Beat and tempo 2/4. Conducting requires an understanding of the elements of musical expression (tempo. The grip of the baton varies from conductor to conductor. Also stereotypically. 2/2. dynamics. and to listen critically and shape the sound of the ensemble. Conducting gestures are preferably prepared beforehand by the conductor while studying the score. and emphasize the use of beat patterns over gestural conducting. which concentrates more on musical expression and shape. The primary responsibilities of the conductor are to unify performers. however in rehearsal frequent interruptions allow directions as to how the music should be played. or fast 6/8 time 3/4 or 3/8 time . and a wide variety of different conducting styles exist depending upon the training and sophistication of the conductor. execute clear preparations and beats. The ability to communicate nuances of phrasing and expression through gestures is also beneficial. others are subjective. an orchestra will play "behind" the conductor's beat. Stereotypically. a number of standard conventions have developed. but may sometimes be spontaneous. articulation) and the ability to communicate them effectively to an ensemble. Despite a wide variety of styles.An officer conducting the mounted band of the British Household Cavalry. Communication is non-verbal during a performance. orchestral conductors use a baton more often than choral conductors (though not always: this is up to the conductor's personal preference). A distinction is sometimes made between orchestral conducting and choral conducting. Conducting is a means of communicating artistic directions to performers during a performance. while choral ensembles will sing "on" the beat. set the tempo. Although there are many formal rules on how to conduct correctly.

[edit] Cueing . While some conductors use both hands to indicate the beat. The instant at which the beat occurs is called the ictus (plural: ictus or ictuses). with or without a baton. To adjust the overall balance of the various instruments or voices. To carry out and to control a rallentando. The second hand is therefore used for cueing the entrances of individual players or sections. and to aid indications of dynamics. If the tempo is slow or slowing. as seen from the conductor's point of view. Dynamics can be fine-tuned using various gestures: showing one's palm to the performers or leaning away from them may demonstrate a decrease in volume. such as the top of a music stand where a baton is tapped at each ictus. or if the time signature is compound. [edit] Dynamics Dynamics are indicated in various ways. and other elements. phrasing. formal education discourages such an approach. "ictus" is also used to refer to a horizontal plane in which all the ictuses are physically located. indicating each beat with a change from downward to upward motion. The hand traces a shape in the air in every bar (measure) depending on the time signature. The gesture leading up to the ictus is called the "preparation". The images show the most common beat patterns. and the continuous flow of steady beats is called the "takt". a downward motion (usually palm-down) indicates a diminuendo. these signals can be combined or directed towards a particular section or performer. a conductor may introduce beat subdivisions. Changing the size of conducting movements frequently results in changes in the character of the music depending upon the circumstances. Changes to the tempo are indicated by changing the speed of the beat. The downbeat indicates the first beat of the bar. The dynamic may be communicated by the size of the conducting movements. a conductor will sometimes indicate "subdivisions" of the beats. and is usually indicated by a sudden (though not necessarily large) click of the wrist or change in baton direction. In some instances.slow 6/8 time The beat of the music is typically indicated with the conductor's right hand. Changes in dynamic may be signaled with the hand that is not being used to indicate the beat: an upward motion (usually palm-up) indicates a crescendo. and the upbeat indicates the last beat of the bar. with the left hand mirroring the right. expression. larger shapes representing louder sounds. The conductor can do this by adding a smaller movement in the same direction as the movement for the beat that it belongs to.

so that all the players or singers affected by the cue can begin playing simultaneously. encouraging eye contact in return and increasing the dialogue between players/singers and conductor. is called "cueing". [edit] See also • Cheironomy • List of conductors • Conductorless orchestra • Maestro [edit] References • Norman Lebrecht. Muzyka Publishing House. The Maestro Myth: Great Conductors in Pursuit of Power. to long and fluid for legato. A held note is often indicated by a hand held flat with palm up. English. Italian. Italy 2007) • Ben Proudfoot. or the pinching of finger and thumb. [edit] Other musical elements Articulation may be indicated by the character of the ictus. An inhalation. Larger musical events may warrant the use of a larger or more emphatic cue designed to encourage emotion and energy. "Introduction to the orchestral conducting technique in accordance with the orchestral conducting school of Ilya Musin " book+DVD.The indication of entries. often directed towards the specific players. Facial expressions may also be important to demonstrate the character of the music or to encourage the players. ranging from short and sharp for staccato. Conductors aim to maintain eye contact with the ensemble as much as possible. Citadel Press 2001 • Brock McElheran. German. which may or may not be a semi-audible "sniff" from the conductor. Cueing is achieved by engaging the players before their entry and executing a clear preparation. may be indicated by a circular motion. when a performer or section should begin playing (perhaps after a long period of silence). Spanish text (Edizioni Curci Milano. A cue must forecast with certainty the exact moment of the coming ictus. A release is usually preceded by a preparation and concluded with a complete stillness. is a common element in the cueing technique of many conductors. as when more than one section of the ensemble enters at the same time. Mere eye contact or a look in the general direction of the players may be sufficient in many instances. "The Grammar Of Conducting" . Many conductors change the tension of the hands: strained muscles and rigid movements may correspond to marcato. "Score and Podium" • Max Rudolf. The Technique of Conducting (Техника дирижирования). called a "cutoff" or "release". Moscow. the closing of the palm. 2nd Rev&Up edition. 1967 • Ennio Nicotra. The end of a note. while relaxed hands and soft movements may correspond to legato or espressivo. "Conducting as an Art" • Frederik Prausnitz. "Conducting Technique" • Ilya Musin. Phrasing may be indicated by wide overhead arcs or by a smooth hand motion either forwards or side-to-side.

October 6. The Baton: Necessity or Obstacle? (archived). 1988. Dedicated site: http://louisjullien. History of Orchestral Conducting. 2.oxfordmusiconline. May 29. Orchestra Conductors q=lully+gangrene&search=quick&pos=1&_start=1#firsthit. France 2006). (Arts Hub Australia." • Michel Faul. David. "A Guide To Successful Instrumental Conducting. spectacle et folie au XIXe siècle" (editions Atlantica. Kuehn. Giovanni Battista) (i)" (Subscription required for online access). [edit] External links Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Conducting • Videos of famous Orchestra Conductors • Ilya Musin Society (Italy) • Círculo Musin Society (Spain) • Ilya Musin Kolor (Spain) • Introduction to Conducting • What to Think About When You Conduct • [1] Australian conductor Benjamin Northey on the experience of conducting.voila. Galkin. [edit] Notes" Categories: Occupations in music | Music performance Hidden categories: All articles with unsourced statements | Articles with unsourced statements from February 2008 Personal tools • Log in / create account Namespaces • Article • Discussion Variants . ^ Martin. 2007) • A Choral Technique • Learning to Sight-Sing: The Mental Mechanics of Aural Imagery Retrieved from "http://en. 2006. Pendragon Press (New York.wikipedia. ^ Jérôme de La Gorce (2007–08). Oxford Music Online (New Grove). "(1) Jean-Baptiste Lully (Lulli. Retrieved 2008-10-08. NY). "Louis Jullien. Oxford University Press. [edit] Further reading • Elliott W. Curtis and David http://www. • Larry G.

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