What You Need To Know About The Role Of A Conductor In Choral Music

Sir Emeka Nwokedi the principal conductor of Lagos City Chorale

Conducting music is an art of consolidating the efforts of a group of people engaging in musical performance together. It involves directing a group of musicians like ensembles and choir during the preparatory section and live performance of a musical piece. A music conductor is an individual that has striking music knowledge, leadership, and communication skill set. Conducting is a unique and special role in the musical group because the conductor is the only one among the performers that do not produce sound.

Also Read: Advice to Church Musicians

The conductor, on the other hand, ensures order and technical mastery in the performance of the musicians he coordinated. Also, he endeavours to impart them with his own artistic approach and understanding of a given work. The conductor’s role is very important in ensuring the plain sailing performance of any group of musicians. This includes either a big or small groups. He creates an obvious homogeneous tempo, and preserve it throughout the performance. Moreover, he helps the musical quality of the piece through expression, dynamics, and cues.

Short History behind conducting

No standing conductor in the orchestras of ancient classical music. The first violin was the leader or conductor of the orchestras then. However, the harpsichord player can stand as the leader sometimes. When he wants the music to start, he will raise his hand or violin bow in line with the right tempo. afterward, they will follow him as he played his music part. However, music became more sophisticated with time and called for a musician with the sole responsibility of signifying the flow and tempo of the music. That is when we have a conductor.

The conductor is the main interpreter of any piece of music. It is one of the responsibilities of the conductor to fathom the piece and convey it through his body movement and gesture in an effective manner that the musician he conducts has a perfect understanding of it. When the conducting is done rightly, the musicians will able to disseminate the consolidated motive of the music out to the listeners.

Art of conducting
Holding the ensemble with the left hand

The fundamental duties of every conductor are the same. These are independent of the group you conduct, either a congregation, ensemble or a choir. It may even be a soloist or a string quartet.  The main purpose of every art of conducting is keeping the musicians together to perform with synergy.

Normally, the art of conducting in music is rooted in a system of manual motions specially developed for this purpose. Most conductors use a baton with their right hand to highlight the metrical layout and utilized their left hand to indicate the entry point of different parts and instruments. The physical actions that every conductor utilizes are the nonverbal means of passing basic musical information to the group. And definitely, they don’t need any musical background to discern it.

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In actual fact, conducting a group of musicians is not all about striking the right pattern but how you augment the pattern and establish a piece of well-defined music. The look and expressions on the conductor’s face play a vital role in achieving this. Moreover, effective conducting calls for significant knowledge of music, a remarkable understanding of musical instruments, and concert repertoire. Also, you cannot underestimate the mastery of preparatory beats, active use of a baton, and hand gestures. Not only that but also the ability to establish active harmony with the performer.

However, modern conducting is highly based on persona, you can also call it talent or charisma. Whatever you call it, good training in the theory of music, harmony, and good ear with outstanding and active musical memory is crucial for every conductor. In addition, purposeful will and a good understanding of the ensemble or the choir are also expected of the modern conductor. He must also have the ability to balance melody, rhythm, volume, and other elements to make good music. More than the artistic skill set, modern conducting requires a psychological approach. It also requires knowledge of body language, and history behind the piece.

Role and Duty of a conductor

The conductor role in musical groups like choirs, orchestras, and bands is analogous to the leader of any organization or group. They lead rehearsals and performances of any group of musicians, either instrumental or choir ensembles. Music conductors are teacher cum director during rehearsals of his group. They portray the music to musicians, feed them back on their performance, and provide a way forward to the next level. In short, they are the impact behind the advancement of music in any group they lead.

Furthermore, conductors are majorly responsible for the group’s choice of music and performance. In fact, the concert and live performance of their group rest on their shoulder. The way they convey their feelings about the music promotes and steers the mood of any show. Without making any sound during the performance, conductors are majorly in control of the group’s attitude, mood, and much more. Also, they are the advocate between the music, musicians, and listeners during a live performance to make good music that entangles the emotions.

In conclusion, the role belongs to the hero in the music sector.


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