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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Towards an improved baton technique: The application and modification of conducting gestures drawn from the methods of Rudolf, Green and Saitö for enhanced performance of orchestral interpretations
by Lee, Ki Sun, D.M.A., The University of Arizona, 2008, 104; 3344891
Abstract (Summary)

Since the early nineteenth century, a conductor has led orchestras in concert, rather than the concertmaster or the composer from a keyboard instrument. There is no theory about the function of the conductor or technique for conducting an orchestra or choir in that early period. Early conductors probably imitated the bow motions of the concertmaster, who was the leader of the group of instrumental players. The increasing importance of conducting resulted in conductors who not only cued to indicate entrances and cut offs as the concertmaster did, but also helped the musicians to understand his musical interpretation and play as a unified musical body. The establishment of this new role soon required the training of future generations of conductors and eventually conducting textbooks, with guidelines and other educational material for the apprentice conductor.

In this paper, the author explores the historical background of conducting technique and the development of conducting textbooks in the twentieth century. Three conducting textbooks were chosen representing different approaches: Max Rudolf's The Grammar of Conducting; Elizabeth A. H. Green's The Modern Conductor; and Hideo Saitō's The Saitō Conducting Method. The author analyzes the conducting theory presented in each textbook and pinpoints the strengths and weaknesses of the three schools. He then suggested integrates beat patterns, combining elements from them, proposes more effective conducting gestures for his interpretation of the music. The focus for these integrated beat patterns is on the physical gestures and patterns of the right hand, not left hand gestures or specific expressive gestures.

Chapter 2 summarizes the characteristics of the three conducting theories. Chapter 3 analyzes the basic characteristic motions of each school. Chapters 4 through 6 propose adaptations of conducting gestures, drawing from the three schools to interpret challenging sections of the examples: "Marche royale" from Histoire du Soldat by Igor Stravinsky, Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber, and the Ouverture: Die Hebriden by Felix Mendelssohn. For the most effective performance of the author's interpretations, proposed integrated beat patterns are suggested for the phrases shown in the musical examples. Some of the beat patterns are presented in diagrams to show the integrated beat pattern, derived from the author's synthesis of the basic 'five motions' of the three schools adapted from the three schools.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Cockrell, Thomas
Commitee: Chamberlain, Bruce, Hanson, Gregg
School: The University of Arizona
Department: Music
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 70/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Music, Music
Keywords: Application of conducting, Baton technique, Conducting gesture, Conducting motion, Green, Elizabeth A. H., Improved baton technique, Integrated pattern, Rudolf, Max, Saito, Hideo, School of conducting
Publication Number: 3344891
ISBN: 978-1-109-04902-2
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