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Thread: how does anyone follow them?

  1. #1
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    Default how does anyone follow them?

    bernstein, hvk...i know, you get used to it. but just watching a few vids of them makes me wonder.

    hornist mason jones of the philadelphia orchestra once quipped, 'never watch the conductor'

    any guys you wonder about once you see them ply the trade?

    dj

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    Senior Member Rasa's Avatar
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    Maybe the conduct things that aren't on the forefront of the sound? Since all the musicians are capable of playing the obvious stuff, he concentrates on a subtle background?

    Who knows.

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    I think the trick is never to get caught watching the conductor! It can be akward having eye contact with the Maestro in mid symphony. He'll get distracted and you'll spend the rest of the gig wondering if you still have a job!

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    I think that the quote by Mason Jones is meant sarcastically at the way some people conduct. There can be an overly lavish style. As long as each motion has meaning, however, it is helpful in communication to the orchestra. I could write this response here very simply, for example:

    "I do not agree."

    But what good is that? Yes, I gave you the general idea: the beat pattern, if you will. But there is no explanation, there is no rhyme or reason to my opinion. To communicate my opinion, I must use adjectives, adverbs, verbs, nouns, prepositions: on and on. The same applies to conducting: The conductor is responsible for communicating his impression of what should be happening at that specific moment in the music. Using words to communicate musical ideas should be used a little as possible. Music is it's own language.

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    Having played countless concerts myself under who knows how many conductors, I can say
    it often depends on what is being played. You don't have to follow the conductor constantly, but often there are tricky passages when you have to keep your eyes on him or her to know excactly when to make an entrance. And there are some pieces with tricky rhythms where you have to watch the conductor often.
    In opera, you have to watch the conductor like a hawk, because that's the only way you can keep up with the singers, who may hold notes longer than ususal or do all kinds of things to keep the beat elastic.

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    Default No win situation.

    You will never win here. There is too much going on - time delay in sound, different reaction times in musicians - you can never fully agree with all orchestra members when to watch and when to listen. Instinct will take care of 80%. Even the same conductor (though he may not realise it) will chastise the musician one moment for not listening, the next for not watching. The hope is to build on the 80% and then hope there is some magic too!

    http://orchestralmusician.blogspot.com/
    Some Truths about Life in an Orchestra
    http://orchestralmusician.blogspot.com/

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