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WikiProject icon Conducting is within the scope of WikiProject Classical music, which aims to improve, expand, copy edit, and maintain all articles related to classical music, that are not covered by other classical music related projects. Please read the guidelines for writing and maintaining articles. To participate, you can edit this article or visit the project page for more details.


Duple/Double: sorry, my ignorance. -- Viajero 09:16 25 Jul 2003 (UTC)

No problem - there should probably be a note explaining this on time signature if there isn't already. I see about putting one in there later tonight. --Camembert

Disambiguate from electricity?[edit]

Do we need to disambiguate this from conducting electricity? Rmhermen 13:23 25 Jul 2003 (UTC)

As far as I can see, all the pages which link to this article are looking for information on the musical kind of conducting, so I would say not. I wouldn't object to this being moved to conducting (music), but I don't think there's a need for it. --Camembert
It seems that it should Conductivity if it were about electricity. "Conducting" isn't really the word used there. ("Conductor" also applies to electricity, but not as directly.) - Rainwarrior 16:25, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

Conducting deaths[edit]

I'm intrigued by the information regarding Lully's conducting misadventure -- are there any other known cases of "fatal conducting"? TrbleClef 23:58, 24 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Felix Mottl died during a performance of Tristan, and it happened to another person (at the same point in the music) many years later. - Rainwarrior 16:21, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

It also happened often that conductors faint of fatigue on stage, particulary in long operas. (I study conducting, and, as far as I know, it is a widly respected and not uncommon dream of conductors to die on stage, after conducting the last note, although younger ones, like me, say that it would be kinder to die the moment you left the stage and entered your dressing room.)--Mary C. 18:06, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

Mariss Jansons had a heart attack on the podium, but has since recovered (fortunately). See the article for details, which also states that his father did die whilst conducting. David Underdown 14:24, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
Didn't Toscanini die from some kind of muscle injury sustained while conducting? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Calaf (talkcontribs) 07:25, 3 April 2007 (UTC).

I don't think so. Also, we can't say "It also happened often that conductors faint of fatigue on stage, particulary in long operas." In decades of conducting I have never seen or heard of this happening. Gingermint (talk) 05:17, 8 September 2010 (UTC)


I'm a student in my school band, and we've always learned the downbeat to be the first "half" of the note and the upbeat to be the second "half" For example, if we're in 4/4 time there are four upbeats, four downbeats. Has anyone else taught this way? If so should the article be changed to reflect this?Mutton 12:22, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

If every beat is a dowbeat, what meaning would the word have? The downbeat is the first beat of the measure. Notes between beats are "off beat", not "up beat". - Rainwarrior 16:28, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
It's the first half of the quarter note that would be the downbeat of all four. Example, in 4/4 you could play an Eigth Note on the downbeats, so you would play four eigthnotes in one measure on the first half of each beat. Mutton 22:33, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, I should have said this differently. What I mean is, the usage you speak of I have not seen in any literature or in any of my training in conducting or music in general. Here's a link to's downbeat and upbeat, which are accurate to the only usage I've ever seen of downbeat. As I've said, "downbeat" is the first beat of a measure. "Upbeats" are the other beats in the measure. "Off beats", or "syncopated" rhythms are those that occur between beats (ie. on a half of a beat). - Rainwarrior 03:10, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
I guess I've been mistaken then. Thanks for straightening that out for me. Mutton 23:46, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
It's good that you asked the question. (You might want to follow up and ask your teacher about it as well.) - Rainwarrior 05:49, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
Actually, thinking about it, Mutton is completely correct. Take a standard 4/4 pattern, and technically, each beginning eighth note is literally a "downward-beating" hand motion to the ictus, and the second eighth duration of each beat is an upward-beating motion coming out of the ictus. So yes, each first eight note of each beat is literally a down beat (but not a downbeat, which refers to the first beat of a measure). Anyway, I stopped using Wiki completely ever since it became a haven for censorship and re-writing history and science according to the "editors". I refuse to ever read Wiki now except since I am a conductor, I was curious to see how badly their entry was on the subject. It's downright god-awful, as I expected. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 05:00, 15 March 2007 (UTC).

POV tag[edit]

This article really makes me cringe. A very large percentage of everything after the history section violates WP:NPOV, WP:V, and WP:OR. I hope we can clean up this very important topic. MarkBuckles (talk) 05:31, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

-Really? I don't see how it does. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 18:04, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

It completely omits Hans von Bülow, and basically anyone who was ever only a conductor and not also a composer. Other than that (which is a glaring problem, but I don't have the references onhand to fix it right now), it seems good to me. But yeah, for the future, Mark Buckles, please leave specific comments, general statements like "there is a problem with this article" are rather confusing. - Rainwarrior 18:58, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

Okeydoke. Here you go:

Violates NPOV, i.e. is subjective[edit]

  • "the only golden rule of conducting technique is that it should be clear and easy to follow." Golden-rule of conducting? Subjective.
  • "An understanding of the three basic elements of musical expression (tempo, dynamics and style) makes any conductor capable of conveying a basic interpretation of the music to the performers." Just not true. Plenty of conductors understand these and are unable to convey them. Plus, since when is style one of the three basic elements of musical expression - this is a subjective list?
  • "There is a particular distinction between orchestral conducting and choral conducting." As a choral conductor just returning from conducting an orchestra, I reject this claim.
  • "Orchestral conductors typically use a baton (though not always: this is up to the conductor's personal preference), and giving a clear beat to the players is central. Choral conductors rarely use a baton, and although the beat is an important part of choral conducting, conductors tend to concentrate on musical expression and shape, making their movements appear more abstract." These are broad stereotypes that are really not true.
  • "The two most important movements are the downbeat, which indicates the first beat of the bar, and the upbeat," not necessarily. They could be any important beat. What if the piece starts on beat 3? This just doesn't make sense to me.
  • "the conductor's principal responsibility is to provide a preparation which forecasts with certainty the exact moment of the coming ictus" this is a responsibility. Some say the principal responability is to set the tempo, or to listen, or any number of things.
  • "To encourage a particular accelerando or rallentando, a conductor may introduce beat subdivisions." You'd never subdivide for an accelerando. That's just wrong.
  • "Dynamics are indicated in two main ways." Many famous conductors use neither of these methods, though I rather agree with the ones listed.
  • "The former, changing the size of movements, often results in unintended tempo changes as well, that is, larger movements tend to slow down the tempo." This is a mostly problem with amateur conductors who have not perfected their technique and probably shouldn't be listed as something that often happens in general.
  • "Loud dynamics would then correspond to strained muscles and rigid movements, while soft dynamics correspond to relaxed hands and soft movements." Often this may have more to do with articulation than dynamics.
  • "In choral conducting, wiggling the fingers of the right hand is also an accepted signal for 'sing much more quietly'." Accepted signal? I disagree.
  • "Cueing is done either by pointing at the section at the appropriate time" This is quite inaccurate. Proper cueing necessitates engaging the players well before their entry and executing a clear preparation in the appropriate character, all while maintaining eye contact. Of course, not everyone does this, but merely pointing at a section has little effect.
  • "While most entries only require eye contact," this article should not tell the reader what the music requires of the conducting gesture - this is a very contentious issue.
  • "Phrasing is indicated by wide overhead arcs or by a smooth hand motion either forwards or side-to-side" How about may be indicated.
  • "Staccato and legato can be differentiated by more or less 'spiky' movements." Spikey? Can we find a better word?
  • "A good conductor aims to maintain eye contact with the ensemble as much as possible, encouraging eye contact in return and increasing the general dialogue between players/singers and conductor. " Okay, I totally agree, but this article should not tell the reader what a good conductor aims to do.
  • "Facial expressions are also important; all performers, but especially less experienced ones, respond well to encouraging expressions. " Totallly subjective.
  • "The conducter also has to not grip the cork of the baton really tight because this gives them muscle tension that limates hand movement." There are so many ways to hold the baton. We can list some of them, but we shouldn't say what is right.

Hey, there's tons of good information in this article and I thank its contributors for that! There's just some that needs to be written in a more encyclopedic and neutral manner. If there's something you disagree with, let me know and let's figure out a way to say what needs to be said in a way that works for everybody. Best, MarkBuckles (talk) 17:06, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

This is a good list. I agree fully with all of these, except those about choral conducting, which I sort of half agree with. There are definitely different trends in choral conducting versus orchestral conducting, i.e. the use of hands/baton, sometimes gesturing with the rhythm of the piece rather than even beats (as choral music is often homorhythmic), etc. That said, there is more far more overlap than division between these two types of conducting, and the wording needs to reflect this. The points about "more abstract motions" and such probably refer to the rhythmic thing I mentioned, but vague wording like that makes the statement useless. "Wiggling fingers signify quiet" should be removed, as it is untrue. I'll leave it to you, MarkBuckles, to make the changes. - Rainwarrior 17:33, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
Careful with deeming items untrue. I have worked with many choral conductors who use that exact indication for piano. Calaf 07:22, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

An extremely clear point must be made that choral conductors use a completely different language (and some may say nuance) of gesture based on the fact that choral conductors are required to *show* the sound they want. The human voice is the only instrument that is not "man-made" per se and the scope of the choral conductor also includes "teaching" singers how to produce the sound the conductor requests. By contrast, an orchestral conductor is standing in front of a group of people who already know how to play their instruments and have been taught how to achieve any effect through technique. The vocal standard is not so cut and dry, and the responsibilities of the choral conductor (while to the superficial eye manages fewer people and/or "events") is responsible for showing much greater detail by nature of the instruments involved. Such detail is regularly unnecessary for an orchestral conductor to show because of both delegation and the simple fact that it can all be mentioned as an aside in rehearsal. Singers regularly rely upon the gesture to help them produce the requested sound, while more often instrumentalists are able to create that sound on their own -- in fact showing TOO much in the gesture with instrumentalists can be both patronizing and confusing, as it is often unclear, based on the sheer number or parts, who that particular gesture is meant for without prior rehearsal. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ashuduanna (talkcontribs) 08:50, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

As a professional conductor and orchestral musician who also works with choirs, I can assert that the above is nonsense. The issue is the level of sophistication of the members of the ensemble, not whether they sing or play instruments. It is true that professional orchestra musicians do not need technical instruction from the podium, but then neither do professional singers. An orchestral conductor _can_ assist, through gesture and other body language, with technical matters for non-professional players, provided that those players have been trained to respond to a conductor and have the technical competence to do what is asked. Furthermore, the facial expressions and simple presence of a first-rate conductor can provide an explicit guide to the players about what kind of sound to make -- watch Bernard Haitink face-on, for example. Lastly, whether an orchestra conductor is unclear is a function of his or her technique, preparation, and concentration, not of whether "too much" information is being provided. No professional instrumentalist will ever complain about a conductor showing too much information, so long as the information is clear and does not distract from the performers' tasks. (talk) 05:20, 15 August 2010 (UTC)


I've had a go at improving some of these points and have removed the POV tag. I feel some of the sections still need to be made clearer for the non-specialist (e.g. subdivsion), but I feel much better about the general content and tone of the article. If I've done anything contentious, please let me know and let's find a way to make it work. MarkBuckles (talk) 17:10, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

Baton Grip[edit]

The grip of the baton is a contentious issue that varies from conductor to conductor. Despite a wide variety of styles, a number of standard conventions have developed.

Anybody care to expand that? :) The externally linked article has a very good description of good conductor grip. I understand why the sentence is so very vague (as to limit POV bias), but more info is always nice, don't you think?

A number of standard conventions have developed... which are...? =o) Kareeser|Talk! 05:02, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

I think this talk of "standard conventions" having "developed" is fiction. Gingermint (talk) 05:19, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

Popular ignorance[edit]

I'd like to see a bit about how the general public, as part of their ignorance of "classical music", has no idea what conductors do; it's a staple of low-grade stand-up comedy that "the guy just stands there waving his arms while the musicians do all the work". There was a Saturday Night Live sketch about a "Conductors Club", where a bunch of guys met in somebody's living room, compared batons, and mimed vigorously while Beethoven's 5th was on the record player. Duh-di-di-DUuh! Duh-di-di-DUUUuhh!! jnestorius(talk) 17:43, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

I would not like to see this section created. It's trite and unnecessary.--Jeff 17:55, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
"Trite" I can't agree with; I suspect there might be countries (Germany? Russia? Japan?) where such boorish joking is inconceivable, so that people from there would find mention of it in this article insightful. See Wikipedia:Common knowledge and Wikipedia:State the obvious. "Unneccessary" might be right, but to convince me would require a more elaborate argument. Feel free not to bother, of course; it was just a suggestion. jnestorius(talk) 18:11, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
I'd say most people don't really know what building inspectors do, or astronomers ("ha ha, all they do is drink beer and look at the sky"), or state legislators. Conductors aren't particularly distinctive in this regard. In fact, it's easy to think of professions which are much less known: quality control engineers, scientific lab assistants, warehouse managers. I don't think it's necessary in an encyclopedia article to gauge how well-known the information presented is to the general public. —Wahoofive (talk) 18:23, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
Yes, that's a fair point. I have heard what's-that-all-about jokes about quantity surveying, for example. While there may be space in Wikipedia for information about such humour, I concede this is not the place. jnestorius(talk) 22:43, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
I for one would welcome such a section. The reason I am here reading this article is just because I am ignorant of the conductors role. I understand the need of a conductor in leading the preparations and rehearsals for a concert, but while actually performing, I would guess the musicians knows what to do, either by heart or by the notes that they all have in front of them. Thus, an explanation as to what the conductor actually contributes when a piece is performed live would be welcomed. Thanks :-) (talk) 10:16, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

Beat Pattern Images[edit]

Having the diagrams of beat patterns on the page seems to imply that they are the standard way of conducting; there is a variety of styles that disagree with this. For example, the majority of my teachers have placed all the beats in the center. Maybe it should be noted that the patterns shown are from a specific style? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 21:06, 3 March 2007 (UTC).

These beat patterns are just a general guide to gesture which is mutually understood by both instrumentalists and singers. It is simply a guide and should be deviated from based on required interpretation and effect. You may liken these patterns to a basic dress pattern; Each pattern must be modified to suit the size and silhouette of each particular person (or sonic event, in this case), and deviation from the standards is a gesture in itself to create a desired effect. The pattern a conductor chooses is absolutely inconsequential as long as the gesture communicates his interpretation. This is most often accomplished through rehearsal. Conductors will simply say "I'm beating two here." It is up to the individual performer to in turn use that as a guide to keep time with the rest of the group and guide his own interpretation. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ashuduanna (talkcontribs) 09:00, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

I think it would be good if we could include the patterns (both German and French) for 7 and the french for 6! :)--Karljoos (talk) 19:33, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

The text says beat patterns for the commonest meters are shown, but none is shown for 4/4. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:26, 13 February 2011 (UTC)


In Italian literally means master. Although "teacher" is a common usage, perhaps Master is a better translation for this page? Or that alternate meaning ought to be mentioned? Calaf 07:23, 3 April 2007 (UTC)


It would be fun if someone could add how to become a conductor. Jack Daw 22:43, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

There isn't a standard way. Some people study at college or university, but with a few exceptions that sort of training has not provided us with great conductors. Some fall into the business, others conduct as an extension of their composing activities and some... well, there are a lot of different ways. Gingermint (talk) 05:24, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

Paris Opera[edit]

The Palais Garnier is much after Lully's time and I've removed it; he hit himself in a church anyway. If it was meant that the Opera using a large baton through the mid 19c, this should be documented as well as clarified. Sparafucil 12:19, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

What's the purpose of conductors?[edit]


in all the orchestra performances I've seen, the players look at their score sheet and not the conductor 99% of the time. So, what's the purpose of the conductor?

--Murmur 12:39, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

As a professional violinist, let me tell you that either you weren't looking closely enough, or the alignment was such that the musicians could see the conductor out of the corner of their eyes. Not watching the conductor will get you fired. Period.

MatthieuV (talk) 02:40, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

The score is simply a list of instructions. How those instructions are implemented is the realm of the conductor. It's sort of like having a map with no key, and you need the help of someone to interpret those markings so you can make sense of them. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ashuduanna (talkcontribs) 09:02, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

What happened to the long List of conductors ?[edit]

Where is List of conductors ? I worked on that page a lot. There were well over a thousand names on the list. Now it doesn't come up on "go" or "search" and is in red instead of blue. In general, how does one find a lost article? Abstrator 22:32, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

I find it disturbing that this list has disappeared. Over a period of time, I added many names to the list, and I regularly checked all other additions to be sure they were valid. The overwhelming majority of the names were linked to articles, the rest were waiting for articles to be written. Who would revove this list, and how could anyone get away with it? Why is there no evidence that the list ever existed? I am seriously considering bailing on Wikipedia if I can expect this kind of thing to happen. Abstrator 21:53, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
It was deleted via AfD nomination. See here. The Wayback Machine has a copy from March located here. --Mperry 00:35, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

What happened to the long List of conductors ?[edit]

Where is List of conductors ? I worked on that page a lot. There were well over a thousand names on the list. Now it doesn't come up on "go" or "search" and is in red instead of blue. In general, how does one find a lost article? Abstrator 22:32, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

I find it disturbing that this list has disappeared. Over a period of time, I added many names to the list, and I regularly checked all other additions to be sure they were valid. The overwhelming majority of the names were linked to articles, the rest were waiting for articles to be written. Who would revove this list, and how could anyone get away with it? Why is there no evidence that the list ever existed? I am seriously considering bailing on Wikipedia if I can expect this kind of thing to happen. Abstrator 21:53, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
It was deleted via AfD nomination. See here. The Wayback Machine has a copy from March located here. --Mperry 00:35, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for your response. I have now read the debate over the deletion, which I was unaware of at the time. I strongly disagree with the decision and want to contest it. Having read policy and deletion review pages, I'm still not sure where I'm supposed to post my views. For now, I will post them here:

1) I strongly recommend looking at that puny debate [1] and noting the weak, often flip, reasoning offered to justify discarding the long work of many editors. It hardly seems that the detractors understood what they were looking at.

2) One of the objections was that it supposedly duplicated Category:Conductors. In reality, the deleted list was far more extensive, and the information was not transferred to Category:Conductors before being deleted. How extraordinarily irresponsible! Maybe the list should be incorporated in the category. Or maybe it is worthy of being improved as an article. Not a reason to delete entirely.

3) Someone objected that the list included names of amateur conductors, and cited one example. I doubt there were many, but any such names could be removed rather than deleting the whole list. I, for one, checked a lot of names for their validity on various counts. This was a pseudo-argument.

4) Someone quoted from the introduction, "Inclusion on this list does not necessariy suggest conducting was their primary occupation or talent." arguing that this makes the list "hopelessly broad". I was the one who added that statement, with the intention to point out that some conductors are better known for another occupation or talent, such as composer or musician.

For example: Felix Mendelssohn and Pierre Boulez are better known as composers, but also as noted conductors. Daniel Barenboim and Vladimir Ashkenazy are known both as conductors and pianists. That is what is documented on the list. Perhaps this could be pointed out better in the statement, but this is not a reason to delete the list.

5) The lack of sources was mentioned. Perhaps someone would suggest how to reference each name on the list. Is that done for all lists on Wikipedia? Since most of the names are linked to articles, the articles justify those names, and work should be done to source articles that need it. And:

6) Someone objected that there were many names in the red. There's a lot of red all over Wikipedia. The solution is to write articles to link, not to delete valid valuable lists. Perhaps some would prefer to put some names into black, but I challenge anyone to find many invalid names on that list, and if you do, maybe you should delete them, but with great care. One good way to check is to Google (for example) "Stephen Gunzenhauser" conductor. I checked a vast number and only once in a while found a questionable one. I wrote articles for a bunch of them.

7) Some complained that the article is "difficult to maintain". I rather doubt the complainers were the ones maintaining it. I periodically checked new additions made by others. Other than that, suggesting improvements (and giving them time) or leaving it as it is would be called for, not simply deleting the valuable work already done.

8) Here's a beauty: Someone complained that it wasn't "necessary to have an article listing conductors, their orchestras, their dates of birth and death, etc., since there's nothing to be gained by comparing one to another." Sounds as if this person just isn't interested in the subject. I suggest that adding information on orchestras, dates, etc. would be a good project for Wikipedia. Rather than deleting the article, add to it and reformat it for best effect.

9) Someone's contribution to the debate was to write: "Can you believe the author forgot Copper?" Is this debator one of the people who voted? First of all, how could a serious Wikipedian refer to "the author", when it was written by many? Could someone tell me about this "Copper"? Yes, I did forget that one.

10) I wonder why a six month old version was the one chosen to archive at The Wayback Machine here. There were improvements made between March and the September deletion. There is a somewhat later version thanks to . See: [2]. Hopefully, there is still copy of the latest at Wikipedia, but if someone had managed to excise it completely, we can work form the version when we reinstate the list. Abstrator 00:56, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

You might want to keep a copy of the page from When they next syncronize with Wikipedia that article will disappear since it doesn't exist here. The wayback machine online indexes pages occasionally and I think even then only updates if it feels there is significant change. --Mperry 02:55, 15 November 2007 (UTC)
The best avenue is Deletion review, articles are not (usually) completely deleted, rather they are moved to different database tables which cannot be seen by "ordinary" users. Even if the page is not re-instated via deletion review, an administrator may be willing to restore a copy to your user space, and you could then verify that all names are included in the relevant category. David Underdown 11:36, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

What does a Conductor do[edit]

I'm sorry but this section is being written as a personal essay, and is not in an encyclopaedic tone, much also duplicates material in teh existing "Technique" section. David Underdown (talk) 10:02, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

The Baton: Necessity or Obstacle?[edit]

This mentioned source is not accessible. Does anybody have any other proof that those conductors did not use the baton? Thanks --Biopresto (talk) 18:41, 20 December 2008 (UTC)


I deleted the sentence: "Kapellmeister simply refers to the music director of a church or chapel (Kapell)." In German, the term Kapelle (sic!) is used for both a small church and a musical ensemble. Both meanings have the same roots, but Kapellmeister was only used from the 16th century on when Kapelle could designate a secular, e.g. court orchestra as well as a church ensemble.

--Pjt56 (talk) 15:14, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

Marco Balderi[edit]

Help! If there are any bored editors looking for a project, I rescued this article from oblivion... but I do not have the proper musical background to finish it. If anyone has expertise here, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. --OliverTwisted (Talk) (Stuff) 09:17, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

Downbeats are often upbeats[edit]

While textbooks and teachers say that the first beat of a measure should be a downbeat, in practice many conductors beat "up" on the first beat - although not necessarily all the time. If you watch Zubin Mehta or film of Leonard Bernstein you'll see the effect I'm talking about. Many people will swear that no real conductor would ever do this, but if you watch carefully you'll see that it's very common. In fact, one choral conductor who usually conducts on the downbeat complained that whenever he conducted an orchestra they'd come in late, effectively forcing him to conduct on the upbeat. To see the kind of thing I'm talking about have a look at If you tap along with the beat you'll see that Mehta's baton is up on the beat rather than down. My guess is that conductors do this because a beat up is more visible to a large group than a beat down. I know this complicates the explanation of baton movements, but it's the real world of conducting, not just something out of a textbook. I think some comment in the article about this reality would be in order. I can't give any specific reference for this, it's just something you can observe with your own eyes. Gerry246 (talk) 04:37, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

This is true, although I don't think the word downbeat actually refers to the conductor's gesture. Furthermore, some orchestra conductors insist on beating time ahead of the orchestra -- it isn't that hard to follow once you get used to it. —Wahoofive (talk) 05:38, 17 October 2009 (UTC)
Maybe so, but I hate when conductors do this. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:12, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
Every great conductor conducts "ahead" of the beat and on the "upbeat". However these descriptions of what is happening are a bit misleading. The problem is the idea of an ictus. There is really no such thing as an ictus in reality. There are only downward and upward motions of the arm and wrist. It is not true that great conductors really conduct "ahead" as in just slightly ahead of the beat. What they are doing is showing a subdivision. The downward motion is the "and" and the upward motion is where the beat actually occurs. This works best because you can only influence what musicians play by what they see before they play (the downward motion corresponding with the subdivisions). This is hard to explain but if you watch a video of any great conductor you will see this and you will NOT see the sharp "ictus" on the beat.
That last comment is pretty much nonsense, but I also wanted to remind everyone that you can't rely on YouTube videos (or any video) to determine the relationship between gesture and sound, because the synchronization between sound and music in video recordings is not always exact. —Wahoofive (talk) 02:47, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
Some years ago a visiting professor of choral music from the U.S.A. started his rehearsal with a large group of choristers here in Sydney by warning that he didn't want to confuse people, but he would be conducting "up" on the downbeat. He said this helped to make the music "lighter, and more lively". Here's a good example of a conductor beating up on the downbeat. In the video you'll see Mehta often snapping his baton up in a very sharp "ictus" on the first beat of the bar (not all the time though). And it's not the case that sound and picture are out of sync, because you just have to watch the instrumentalists' movements to see sound is in time with picture. Or watch Simon Rattle here, with the Berlin Philharmonic to see more of what I'm talking about. Gerry246 (talk) 06:09, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

Representative conductors[edit]

The list of conductors offered in the "history" paragraph is bizarre. I don't think anyone would consider Boulez to be one of the most important conductors of his era, and certainly not Harnoncourt. Where are Furtwaengler, Karajan, Szell, Solti? It seems silly to offer a hunt-and-peck list of five or six conductors of wildly varying stature without articulating why they were selected for mention above all others. (talk) 05:26, 15 August 2010 (UTC)

Those names were preceded by "Amongst prominent conductors who did not or do not use a baton are ...". -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 06:10, 15 August 2010 (UTC)

Gender ratio for orchestra conductors?[edit]

I know there are many more male conductors than female, especially for orchetras and symphonies. Anybody know the woman:man ratio?

Nice to know classical orchestral music under conductors is still alive and well in the USA. I wonder what happened to it in Europe after the death of Furtwangler? Apart from someone called Karajan who seems to have conducted in Berlin, it looks as if it died the death. Delahays (talk) 17:44, 13 October 2012 (UTC)

Gender ratio for orchestra conductors?[edit]

I know there are many more male conductors than female, especially for orchetras and symphonies. Anybody know the woman:man ratio? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Alexir11 (talkcontribs) 05:10, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

Since some belong to one union while others belong to another and still others who are semi-professional or amateur belong to no union or organization with easily discoverable statistics... it would be almost impossible to tell. (talk) 01:30, 19 July 2011 (UTC)


category:conductors. Daft. In ictu oculi (talk) 09:33, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

I'd like to see an article on Conductors[edit]

There isn't one, at present -- just on the technique of conducting.

What do conductors do? Furtwangler spoke to Albert Speer toward the end of World War II, saying "What will become of my orchestra? I'm responsible for them." Speer arranged it so that the musicians would not be drafted.

This anecdote (reported by Speer) reveals that in some contexts conductors have administrative, musical, or even personal responsibilities, far beyond the technique of "conducting". (talk) 02:53, 15 April 2013 (UTC)captcrisis

Copyright problem removed[edit]

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Top Photo - Baton, or no baton?[edit]

It is my opinion that the top photo of the article should include a baton. What are your views? Arfæst! 23:09, 11 January 2015 (UTC)

I agree. Here are my candidates, in order of preference, all paintings by Robert Sterl: 1. Arthur Nikisch conducting at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig; 2. Ernst von Schuch conducting Rosenkavalier; 3. Schuch (1914). -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 10:46, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
Yes, personally I agree - the photo of baton would fit the page well.— Preceding unsigned comment added by Jungles13 (talkcontribs) 10:56, 12 January 2015 (UTC)