Role of a conductor (music)

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Lucyje

Member
Czech
Hi everyone,
Could you, please, advise me on this one?
(In opera/classical music) A conductor conducts an orchestra. But before that there is a process of preparation of the piece and I don't mean rehearsals or arrangemet. Conductors "study" the peace and decide on their interpretation thereof. That's why each production sounds different. Not all conductors are involved in the process, as far as I have understood, some just conduct or may conduct upon other conductor's interpretation.
Please, how would you call this role/action of producing an interpretation of a piece of music?
Thank you a lot.
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    In broad terms, I would call everything before the performance "preparation."
    The famous composer Sir Bufton Tufton said that the preparation of the piece had taken eight months."

    The interpretation results in an arrangement:
    Sir Bufton Tufton spent the first two months arranging the piece in his inimitable style.
     

    Lucyje

    Member
    Czech
    Thank you Paul,
    I think that it is a process of something like creating guidelines for the piece. I would also go for "arrangemet" but unfortunatelly I've been told by an expert, that's something different. The argument goes that arrangement involves major changes to the piece. Like different instruments, turning it into jazz and so on.
    Thanks a lot, anyway. Really.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Yes, "arranging" music is a different task, involving turning a basic song (a melody, chords and lyrics) into a complete set of sheet music for all the instruments in a band or orchestra. This overlaps in meaning with "orchestration" and "instrumentation", but "arranging" can include other changes like fitting songs to stage actions or movie scenes.

    My grandfather was a music arranger (and band leader) in vaudeville, creating sets of music for vaudeville bands. The Marx Brothers and other acts brought their songs to him, to turn into band music they could bring with them as they travelled around to perform in different theatres. When the Marx Brothers went to Hollywood to make their first film, he turned down their invitation to move to Hollywood and be the music director for their films.

    Conductors "study" the piece and decide on their interpretation thereof. That's why each production sounds different. Not all conductors are involved in the process
    Wikipedia's article on "Conducting" talks about this. It says that all conductors lead an orchestra using their hands, gestures, facial expressions etc. But some conductors also study the musical piece, work out their interpretation, and communicate their ideas to the performers during rehearsals. I am sure this includes both sharing ideas and giving detailed instructions to specific musicians or groups (the violins, the brass, etc.) about how to play each portion of the piece. This is an interactive process: the conductor listens to the musicians play portions and stops them to make changes, over and over.

    The article does not suggest any term for this. It says a conductor "interprets the score created by the composer" then communicates his "ideas, interpretation, vision" to the musicians during rehearsals. Then he "acts as a guide" during live performances before an audience.
     

    Lucyje

    Member
    Czech
    Thank you, Dojibear. That confirms what I thought. Having a clearer idea of what arranging means, I can say it's definitely not the expression I'm looking for. There is probably not a term for the process. I'm very greatful for your help.
     

    Bongone

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    In broad terms, I would call everything before the performance "preparation."
    The famous composer Sir Bufton Tufton said that the preparation of the piece had taken eight months."

    The interpretation results in an arrangement:
    Sir Bufton Tufton spent the first two months arranging the piece in his inimitable style.
    Sir Bufton Tufton? I think you have been reading too much Private Eye.
     

    Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    Hi Lucyje, I suspect you're looking for the English equivalent of this word (no foreign language allowed on the English forum ;) ) and, as someone who translates most of the blurbs for a professional orchestra here, I would agree that, as you suspect, we don't have a word in English. None of the translations offered on the linked page are suitable. In context, I usually have to fudge it with some form of "work on", "interpretation", "version" or something similar. "Preparation", as PaulQ said, can often work, but "preparing the piece/score" often doesn't convey the right idea.
     

    Lucyje

    Member
    Czech
    Hi Enquiring Mind,
    Yes, that's exactly what I've been looking for:). It's great to know for sure I can stop. Many, many thanks.
     
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