Walking the Artistic Tightrope: Musical Expression and Clarity of Conducting Gestures
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The conductor’s influence stems from the use of gestures throughout the entire musical process, which contains three parts: the preparation of the work, the physical act of communication with the musicians during the rehearsal process, and the performance. Gestures serve different purposes at each stage of development, and as a result differ stylistically. In the first stage, gestures serve the music only; in the second stage, the musicians. Not only is the conductor’s choice of employed gestures different from the first and second stage of development, gestures must undergo a constant metamorphosis during the rehearsal process to meet the needs of the ensemble and increase the artistic standard of their performance. “Good” conducting gestures are simultaneously directive and expressive, unambiguous and yet pertaining to abstract ideas and emotions, purposeful, charismatic, personal, and ever-changing. This requires a balance between directive and expressive gestures is fundamental to good conducting—a balance that is different for each orchestra, performance, rehearsal, and repertoire.
Franklin and Marshall College Archives, Undergraduate Honors Thesis 2017
- F&M Theses Collection