Orchestral conducting technique: WHEN DO YOU FEEL THE CONTACT AND WEIGHT OF THE SOUND?

 

We are now facing an important subject on which there are conflicting opinions and which is always the subject of lively debates amongst the representatives of the various trains of thought.

It is known that the orchestra plays with a certain delay in relation to the beat given by the conductor – in acoustics, this phenomenon goes by the name of transitory attack. The conductor, in giving the beat, is forced to wait a few seconds for the reaction of the orchestra and this is particularly visible in the following video

This usually creates difficulty and heaviness in the conductor (unless you are conducting an orchestra like the one above) especially when conducting moderate tempos.

In the videos that you will find below, you can see how the contact with the sound occurs during its emission, i.e during the ascending movement once you have crossed the imaginary surface; the third phase of the attack, as we have already explained in one of the previous articles.

The conductor , aware of this, catching the sound from below in the moment of its emission, compensates for the natural physical delay of the orchestra (transient attack), in this way he should not wait for the reaction of the orchestra but will conduct together with it, obtaining greater control over it, and at the same time also showing the phrase’s progress extremely naturally

THE ARM FALLS IN A RELAXED WAY AND RETURNS BACK UP AS THOUGH YOU HAVE TAKEN SOMETHING: THE SOUND!

To realise the contact with sound, its grip and its weight, is one of the very first notions of technique that the student who decides to tackle this path must assimilate.

WAGNER WAS ONE OF THE FIRST TO TALK ABOUT “WEIGHT OF SOUND”.

This wonderful feeling, however, is often undermined by the impatience of wanting to hold the baton, as this wooden object forces  the hand to keep closed, and, consequently, hinders direct contact with the sound. For this reason it is better to develop the sensation of contact with the sound without the baton and then, when it is completely conscious, find it by holding the baton.

It is therefore essential to make the student aware of this important notion.

On the other hand, when the arm moves in empty space, without having the sensation of taking something, a rather empty and thick sound will be obtained.

Observe and listen carefully to the following example; compare the result obtained during the first and second attempt; you can easily see the difference in sound intensity.

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