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The Beethoven gimmick?

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 2:33 am UTC
by pernero
Is it true that they used to place (read:sneak) a conductor behind beethoven so that the orchestra could properly keep their timing?

Re: The Beethoven gimmick?

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 3:42 am UTC
by ChocloManx
I read in a fairly credible book that at least in the ninth's premiere he had another guy conducting, he was just sort of moving his arms around imagining that the orchestra was following him. Wait, lemme check on that.

Yeah, something like that, he was "Taking part in the conduction of the ensamble" but one of the singers had to grab him by the shoulders and turn him to face the audience at the end to see the ovation.

Re: The Beethoven gimmick?

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 3:52 am UTC
by zug
Sources for all of this? As a member of various musical ensembles throughout high school, the hand wavings of most band directors who are good and/or think highly of themselves have very little to do with the actual meter or performance of a piece of music. Even when I did regional band and we only had one (long) day of rehearsals, the band could have played without a conductor up there at all.

Re: The Beethoven gimmick?

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 4:01 am UTC
by ChocloManx
It's called "Historia de los Grandes Compositores Clásicos" page 94 of the third tome From Olimpo Ediciones (ISBN: 84-402-0995-9 if you're picky)

:D

Re: The Beethoven gimmick?

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 6:09 am UTC
by achan1058
zug wrote:Sources for all of this? As a member of various musical ensembles throughout high school, the hand wavings of most band directors who are good and/or think highly of themselves have very little to do with the actual meter or performance of a piece of music. Even when I did regional band and we only had one (long) day of rehearsals, the band could have played without a conductor up there at all.
While maintaining orchestral balance? ex. Your trumpets won't drown out the winds, your violins can be heard, etc? While you can get away w/o using a conductor of a small band, I can't see how to keep everything in balance for a large orchestra, especially if the orchestra's quality is not world class.

Re: The Beethoven gimmick?

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 8:40 pm UTC
by zug
achan1058 wrote:
zug wrote:Sources for all of this? As a member of various musical ensembles throughout high school, the hand wavings of most band directors who are good and/or think highly of themselves have very little to do with the actual meter or performance of a piece of music. Even when I did regional band and we only had one (long) day of rehearsals, the band could have played without a conductor up there at all.
While maintaining orchestral balance? ex. Your trumpets won't drown out the winds, your violins can be heard, etc? While you can get away w/o using a conductor of a small band, I can't see how to keep everything in balance for a large orchestra, especially if the orchestra's quality is not world class.

We didn't play with an orchestra, if that makes a difference? I've never seen a conductor do anything different during a performance than at a rehearsal, though.

Re: The Beethoven gimmick?

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 8:48 pm UTC
by Vanguard
I never understood the necessity of a conductor, but I've never been into music-playing either. Don't players have sheets to make note of what to play and when to play it?

Re: The Beethoven gimmick?

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:23 pm UTC
by achan1058
zug wrote:We didn't play with an orchestra, if that makes a difference? I've never seen a conductor do anything different during a performance than at a rehearsal, though.
If the size of your band is big, having a conductor matters a lot, no matter what type of band it is. I have seen school bands with ineffective conductors (ie. bad teachers) where some instruments completely drown out others. I mean, they are playing the right notes, at least, the ones I can actually hear anyways......

Re: The Beethoven gimmick?

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:25 pm UTC
by TaintedDeity
If you play an instrument you are in the middle of the sound and what you hear is different to the audience.
If you are standing where the conductor stands you hear it how the audience hears it.

Re: The Beethoven gimmick?

Posted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 10:21 pm UTC
by MisterCheif
Vanguard wrote:I never understood the necessity of a conductor, but I've never been into music-playing either. Don't players have sheets to make note of what to play and when to play it?


Yes, they do, but players, especially inexperienced or not that good players have sometimes have difficulty in keeping in time, and the conductor does exactly that. Also, they can do more small changes and dynamics than was written in the music, to make the music sound better. That, differences between how loud/good* someone thinks they are, and how loud/good they actually are all good reasons for the need of a conductor.


*Note: I am not saying playing loud means you are good. I am saying that those are both equally good reasons to have a conductor.

Re: The Beethoven gimmick?

Posted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 11:02 pm UTC
by The EGE
zug wrote:Sources for all of this? As a member of various musical ensembles throughout high school, the hand wavings of most band directors who are good and/or think highly of themselves have very little to do with the actual meter or performance of a piece of music. Even when I did regional band and we only had one (long) day of rehearsals, the band could have played without a conductor up there at all.


My band teacher is a big fan of us playing without a conductor. He's a very good conductor, but he's taught us well enough that his direction sometimes becomes superfluous. We do songs sometimes with a 60-person band (brass, woodwinds, and percussion) without him conducting, including the national anthem, that stay in balance. In Jazz Band, we perform most of our sets with no conductiong other than the drummer counting off to start the song and the pianist cutting off the end.

Marching Band, though, requires our drum majors, because when we're spread out over 150 feet of the field, the sound coming from the other side of the formation can be a few tenths of a second off, and by having them conduct can we stay in unison.

Re: The Beethoven gimmick?

Posted: Sat Oct 10, 2009 9:35 pm UTC
by Dream
The EGE wrote:He's a very good conductor, but he's taught us well enough that his direction sometimes becomes superfluous. We do songs sometimes with a 60-person band (brass, woodwinds, and percussion) without him conducting, including the national anthem, that stay in balance. In Jazz Band, we perform most of our sets with no conductiong other than the drummer counting off to start the song and the pianist cutting off the end.


Yeah, I think I see why you get on ok without the conductor. Try playing a thirty or sixty second phrase as part of a fifty person string section and staying in time when there isn't a ghost of a beat to count to. Then conducting will make sense. There simply isn't a way for musicians to all count at the exact same tempo unless there is someone keeping time. If not a percussionist, it's a conductor. In fact, orchestras generally follow a little behind the conductor's indication, so that they can react properly to the changes in tempo and expression indicated. They read where they are conducted and play that a little later.

Re: The Beethoven gimmick?

Posted: Sat Oct 10, 2009 11:45 pm UTC
by kaniman2
The percussionists in our high school band are pretty terrible at keeping time and they always lose sheet music and stuff etc etc so we don't really put much faith in them.

Re: The Beethoven gimmick?

Posted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 1:46 pm UTC
by iusername
Reminds me of the movie Copying Beethoven. Personally i find it terribly made. Though the gimmick in this version turns out to be a young pretty girl with accents of American not German.