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Karl Wilson Gehrkens

Essentials in Conducting

  • Julia Kuleshovahas quoted4 years ago
    the tempo becomes more rapid, decrease the number of beats; but as it becomes slower, increase the number, at the same time elaborating the beat so as to express more tangibly the idea of a steady forward movement.
  • Julia Kuleshovahas quoted4 years ago
    The conductor must train himself to change instantly from two beats in the measure to four or six; from one to three, et cetera, so that he may be able at any time to suit the number of beats to the character of the music at that particular point.
  • Julia Kuleshovahas quoted4 years ago
    As the tempo becomes more rapid, decrease the number of beats; but as it becomes slower, increase the number, at the same time elaborating the beat so as to express more tangibly the idea of a steady forward movement.
  • Julia Kuleshovahas quoted4 years ago
    LENGTH OF THE STROKE
  • Julia Kuleshovahas quoted4 years ago
    And for the same reason it is clear that no one can become a strong and forceful conductor who does not have an overwhelming love of music in his heart. We may go farther and say that no conductor can give a really spirited reading of a musical composition if he does not feel genuinely enthusiastic over the work being performed, and that one reason for the sluggish response that musicians often make to the conductor's baton is the mediocrity of the music which they are being asked to perform. The conductor is not in sympathy with it (sometimes without realizing this himself), and there is consequently no virility in the playing or singing. The remedy for this state of affairs consists, first, in allowing only those who have some taste in the selection of music to conduct; and second, in inspiring all conductors to take much more time and much greater pains in deciding upon the works to be rehearsed. In directing a choir one may examine a dozen cantatas, or twenty-five anthems, before one is found that is really distinctive. If one stops at the second or third, and thinks that although not very good yet it is possibly good enough, very probably the choir will be found to be sluggish and unresponsive, filled with what Coward calls "inertia."[6] But if one goes on looking over more and more selections until something really distinctive is discovered, it is more than probable that the chorus will respond with energy and enthusiasm.
  • Julia Kuleshovahas quoted4 years ago
    An important point to be noted in this connection is that the conductor must be able to exercise rigid self-control, so as not to become incoherent under stress of anger, emergencies, or other excitement.
  • Julia Kuleshovahas quoted4 years ago
    We have heard many arguments in favor of teaching children only the best music, and here is yet another, perhaps more potent than all the rest. They must be taught only good music because you as a musician will find it impossible to become enthusiastic over mediocre or poor works; and if you do not yourself glow over the music that you are directing, you will hardly succeed in arousing the children's interest, for enthusiasm spreads by contagion, and there can be no spreading by contact unless we have a point from which to start.
  • Julia Kuleshovahas quoted4 years ago
    It is this quality of creative imagination that enables the inventor to project his mind into the future and see a continent spanned by railways and telephones, and the barrier of an ocean broken down by means of wireless and aeroplane; and in every case the inventor works with old and well-known materials, being merely enabled by the power of his creative faculties (as they are erroneously called) to combine these known materials in new ways.
  • Julia Kuleshovahas quoted4 years ago
    THE PSYCHOLOGICAL BASIS OF CONDUCTING
    The conductor works largely through the instrumentality of instinctive imitation; that is, his methods are founded upon the fact that human beings have an innate tendency to copy the actions of others, often without being conscious that they are doing so. Thus, if one person yawns or coughs, a second person observing him has an instinctive tendency to do likewise. One member of a group is radiant with happiness, and very soon the others catch the infection and are smiling also; a singer at a public performance strains to get a high tone, and instinctively our faces pucker up and our throat muscles become tense, in sympathetic but entirely unconscious imitation. In very much the same way in conducting, the leader sets the tempo,—and is imitated by the musicians under him; he feels a certain emotional thrill in response to the composer's message,—and arouses a similar thrill in the performers; lifts his shoulders as though taking breath,—and causes the singers to phrase properly, often without either the conductor or the singers being aware of how the direction was conveyed. It is at least partly because we instinctively imitate the mental state or the emotional attitude of the pianist or the vocalist that we are capable of being thrilled or calmed by musical performances, and it is largely for this reason that an audience always insists upon seeing the artist as well as hearing him. In the same way the musicians in a chorus or orchestra must see the conductor and catch from him by instinctive imitation his attitude toward the music being performed. This point will be more fully discussed in a later chapter, when we take up interpretation in conducting.
  • Julia Kuleshovahas quoted4 years ago
    But the conductor must distinguish carefully between sarcastic wit, which laughs at, and humor, which laughs with. In a book bearing the copyright date of 1849, the writer distinguishes between the two, in the following words:[1]
    Humor originally meant moisture, a signification it metaphorically retains, for it is the very juice of the mind, enriching and fertilizing where it falls. Wit laughs at; humor laughs with. Wit lashes external appearances, or cunningly exchanges single foibles into character; humor glides into the heart of its object, looks lovingly upon the infirmities it attacks, and represents the whole man. Wit is abrupt, scornful ...; humor is slow and shy, insinuating its fun into your heart.
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