Orchestral conducting technique, gesture for legato and melody: how to make the two coincide

IN ONE OF THE PREVIOUS ARTICLES WE HAVE SEEN THAT IT IS POSSIBLE TO FIND A CONNECTION BETWEEN GESTURE AND RHYTHMIC FIGURATION.

Analogously and simultaneously this connection can be found between the gesture and the melody, the aim is to be able to show its evolution, the salient points, the phrasing, in practice providing more information to the musicians, to those who are in fact entrusted with the performance of the piece. You need to know how to take and bring the melody forward until its climax and the subsequent descent.

THIS CAN BE REALISED BY KNOWING HOW TO MASTER INTERNAL ATTACKS, THE FUNCTION OF WHICH HAS BEEN THE SUBJECT OF A PREVIOUS ARTICLE.

If you have read the other articles and seen other videos on our youtube channel, you will probably have realised how, in specific contexts, a more rounded gesture indicates progression and at the same time provides the possibility to make sense of where the phrase moves towards. Watching the great conductors carefully – from von Karajan to Kleiber, to Bernstein, to Muti, to Prêtrê, to Haitink and many others – you will notice how they too often adopt it in a natural way.

ON THE OTHER HAND, THE VERTICAL GESTURE FROM HIGH ABOVE CANNOT SHOW ALL OF EVERYTHING, NOR EVOLUTION NOR CONTINUITY, ON THE CONTRARY IT IS AN INDICATOR  OF FRAGMENTATION & SEGMENTATION OF THE PHRASE.

In our type of gestures, on the other hand, the feeling of taking something and of transporting it to a certain point, which corresponds in music to the climax of a phrase or melody, is of primary importance. This mastery is achieved with much patience and much study and, in large part, also depends on the innate musical skills of the individual student.

ILYA MUSIN DEDICATED PARTICULAR ATTENTION TO DEVELOPMENT AND ENHANCEMENT OF THESE QUALITIES IN THE STUDIO.

On the basis of a clear and precise gesture for legato, he pointed out exercises such as taking a small but heavy object, comfortable to hold in hand, and getting used to moving it from one point to another of a surface. In the following video you can see how- using a simple and well-known melody as a support- once you have achieved a clear gesture combined with continuous speed and without sudden changes, the next phase will be to begin to introduce the feeling of taking and releasing something. Obviously, more than anything else these are very small efforts, in that you have to be a bit of a mime artist, but all of this is very useful to communicate the feeling of transporting something from one point to another, in our case the melody . The practical application of this is found in practically any piece of the symphonic repertoire.

 

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