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CD tiU
o f-t
van 3 o degraven; Paul.
A manuscript Tor a textbook cn the
senior high school music conductor...
Yew Y o r k . 1 S 4 0 .
i d ,:1sj20,vi,174 typewritten leaves,
ill u s .(m u s i c ) d i a g r s .,forn.
Final document lBd.3.) - 17ev; York
university; School of education, 194
Bibliography' at end of each chapte
pt.II, 'The manuscript.
Contents.- p t .I.Formulation of the manu­
script. -pt.II.The manuscript.
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t l a « I Boetjwant
Submit tod in partial fulfillment of the
requirements for the degree of Doctor of
Education in the School of Education of
New York University
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A! '<"»
Some pages may have
in d is tin c t p rin t.
F i lm ed as r e c e i v e d .
U n i v e r s i t y M i c r o f i l m s , A X erox E d u c a t i o n Company
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MUSIC CONDUCTOR...................
AIMS OF THE REHEARSAL........................
THE CHORAL REHEARSAL.................
THE INSTRUMENTAL REHEARSAL................... ...119
THE CONCERT................
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My interest in formulating a manuscript for a textbook
to be used in training the senior high school music teacher in
the field of conducting is the natural result of my own ex­
perience in training teachers, observing teachers at work, and in
working with senior high school vocal and instrumental groups*
My experience in training teachers was obtained at
MacMurray College, Jacksonville, Illinois, immediately follow­
ing my graduation from college*
signed was conducting*
One of the courses I was as­
Up to that time, my conception of a
conducting coarse was one in which the technique of the baton
was studied exclusively, a procedure which I have come to
realize is quite common.
I wa3 quite well versed in the
proper usage of the baton and had no trouble in imparting my
ideas to my classes.
The graduates who had taken my course
surely thought of themselves as conductors
a teacher of conducting*
I thought I was
Having had no actual experience to
speak of in dealing with senior high school music groups, I
naturally had to depend on a conducting text-book for the or­
ganization and content of the course*
My background of ex­
perience was not complete enough to critically evaluate the
ideas expressed in the text*
My background for teaching con­
ducting, aside from the lack of experience, was better than
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
average because I bad studied with the author of the textbook
I used in my own conducting classes and had pretty thoroughly
absorbed his ideas*
My own experience is related only because it is illus­
trative of the conditions under which conductors are being
trained in many teacher-training institutions*
Students are
being taught how to conduct senior high school music groups
by teachers who themselves have never had any experience in
this field*
The problems of baton technic are identical in all
levels of conducting, but no one with any experience and intel­
ligence would hold that an understanding of baton technic makes
a conductor*
The most satisfactory solution of this problem
would be to require all teachers in teacher-training institu­
tions to have had successful experience in the subject matter
to be taught.
Since this is not done, and probably will not
be done, the second best solution is to provide a textbook on
conducting, written by an experienced senior high school con­
ductor, which presents a complete picture of the duties of
the senior high school conductor and offers suggestions based
on practical experience and the latest and most valuable writ­
ings of authorities in the various fields represented*
In the
following chapter, I shall attempt to show that such a text­
book does not now exist*
Dissatisfaction with my equipment for training teachers,
based on the fact that I knew I was attempting to teach teachers
something I had never taught, led me to accept a position as
Supervisor of Music in the public schools of Port Washington,
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
New York.
The part of this position whieh influenced the writ­
ing of the present manuscript for a text-book on the Senior
High School Music Conductor, was the direct experience in con­
ducting senior high school vocal and instrumental groups.
I gained in experience, the doubts I had felt as an inex­
perienced teacher of conducting began to have a much more de­
finite basis.
Certain fundamental concepts began to form which
had never been touched on in any conducting text-book or course
to which I had been exposed.
The picture of what is really
required for success as a senior high school conductor began
to unfold and to gradually take organized shape in regard, at
least, to my own personal needs.
When problems arose, I, at
times, found solutions In books or articles, at other times by
consulting successful teachers, and, failing to find help from
either source, by experimentation.
At no time was I able to
turn to any one source for the majority of my solutions.
a conviction grew that many of the things I did not know could
have been covered in my undergraduate training, not thoroughly,
possibly because the time is so short, but the problems could
at least have been presented briefly for consideration.
Experience is, of course, not always valuable in formu­
lating guiding principles for the teacher.
There are many
teachers who, after years of experience, are still poor
teachers, in which case the years of experience may have
served no other purpose than to establish poor teaching tech­
niques more securely.
It is necessary that experience be
adjudged as successful if it is to serve as the basis for
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impairing ideas to others.
Judging success in teaching is
quite subjective and intangible.
It must be based largely on
the judgment of neutral, competent observers.
In my ex­
perience as a senior high school conductor, I have had the
benefit of receiving evaluation from such neutral, competent
observers as to the work done by high school vocal and instru­
mental groups under my direction.
This is presented here so
that the value of my experience can be more easily determined
with regard to the problem of formulating the manuscript of
a textbook on the Senior High School Music Conductor.
For the past seven years, our senior high school music
groups from Port Washington have entered state and national
competition festivals.
At these festivals, competent judges
give each competing group a rating.
My senior high school
band, orchestra and choir have, on sixteen occasions, been
given the highest rating awarded.
These ratings have been given
by such authorities as Alfred Spouse, Richard Grant, Edwin
Franko Goldman, Captain Charles O'Weil, Ernest Williams,
Frank Simon, William Revelli, Arthur Pryor, Captain Thomas
D'Arcy, Paul White, Pierre Heurotte, Victor Rebmann, Bail
Hermann, Carl Bucken, Francis Findley, lee Lockhart, and
Will Earhart.
These favorable ratings constitute the second reason
for my desire to write a textbook of the type under discus­
sion, because they lead me to believe that some of the prin­
ciples I have
used would be of value to the young conductor
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
of senior high school music groups.
Observation of other teachers at work has also been
listed aa a factor in creating interest in writing a conduct­
ing text-book.
Much of this has taken place at the competi­
tion festivals of the type already mentioned, as a spectator
and as an adjudicator.
This has been of a pretty comprehen­
sive nature covering hundreds of vocal and instrumental groups
drawn from the Middle-Western, Eastern, Hew England, and
Southern States.
The groups which attend these state and na­
tional competition festivals must have previously won an elim­
ination contest and are therefore the superior groups of the
section represented.
From the standpoint of determining the weak points of
conductors, this wide observation has been invaluable.
tain predominant faults are heard over and over again until
it is quite obvious that most conductors lack fundamental
training along very important lines.
Regardless of whether
the performing organization is a vocal or instrumental one,
the major weaknesses are usually the same.
out are poor tone quality and intonation.
The two which stand
The most proficient
groups do not have these same weaknesses and therefore come
out with the top ratings.
It becomes quite obvious that if the
conductor knows how to proceed, weaknesses will eventually
shrink and disappear.
But this requires a comprehensive under­
standing of the entire job of the senior high school conductor,
a knowledge which goes far beyond correct usage of the baton.
It is interesting to not e that in these observations, there was
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no obvious relationship between baton technic and the musical
results obtained from the group being conducted.
Baton tech­
nic is necessary but the possession of it does not guarantee
success in any field of conducting.
Experience in teaching conducting from a text-book
rather than from a background of personal experience, followed
by actual experience in conducting senior higjh school vocal
and instrumental ensembles coupled with observance of other
conductors at work combined to interest me in writing a text­
book which would:
Serve as a dependable guide for use in teachertraining institutions, particularly when the teacher
of the course has not had actual experience in con­
ducting senior high school music groups.
Present to the young conductor the methods and ideas
used by the better senior high school conductors.
Go beyond baton technic and give a comprehensive pic­
ture of the entire j 6b of a conductor as especially
related to work with vocal and instrumental groups on
the senior high school level.
Provide a selected bibliography for more thorough
analysis of topics which cannot be exhaustively
treated in one book.
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The first preliminary step to -writing the text was to
draw up a complete list of possible topics to be considered.
In order to do this, I performed a mental Job analysis, that
is, I tried to recall all of the things which I had been
called on to do as a conductor of senior high school music
groups, some of them of major importance and same of minor
From the start, the emphasis was on attempting to
discover what the Job required.
The possible list of topics
which was the result of this kind of thinking was incorporated
into Form A, placed at the close of this chapter.
Farm A was then sent to a small, select group of men
and woman whose outstanding successes in the field of senior
high school music conducting have gained for them an outstand­
ing reputation.
These conductors were asked to consider the
duties of the young senior high school music conductor and to
then check all items in Form A which were of major importance
with (ff), all Items which were of minor importance with (♦)
and all items which were of no importance with (-).
They were
also asked to add any items of importance which had been
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Before sending cat Form A, it bad been agreed that all
topics marked
toy 75 per cent of tbe jury, would be
included in tbe text; that those which received a majority of
*s) would be given major emphasis in the text and that
those which received a majority of (t ’s) would be given minor
emphasis; and that additions made by 50 per cent of tbe jury
would be added to the final list of topics.
Replies to this request were received from:
John C. Kendall, Director of Music, Denver,
James Van Feursem, Eastern State Teachers Col­
lege, Richmond, Kentucky.
F. F. Swift, Supervisor of Music, H i on, New
George F. Strickland, Cleveland Heights High
School, Cleveland, Ohio.
Arthur Gorans on, Director of Bands, Jamestown,
New York.
Ralph Rush, Cleveland Heights High School,
Cleveland, Ohio•
T. P. Giddings, Supervisor of Music, Minneapolis,
Laura Bryant, Director of Music, Ithaca, New York.
Fowler Smith, Director of Music, Detroit, Michi­
Arthur Brandenburg, Director of Instrumental
Music, Elizabeth, New Jersey.
Glenn Gildersleeve, State Director of Music Edu­
cation, Delaware.
Haydn Morgan, Director of Music, Newton, Massa­
Jacob E. Evanson, Director of Vocal Music,
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Prank Biddle, Supervisor of Music, Cincinnati,
Arthur Witte, Director of Music, Yonkers, New
Carlton Stewart, Director of Music, Mason City,
Victor Rebmann, Director, Ithaca College Music
Carol Pitts, State Teachers College, Trenton,
New Jersey.
Glenn Woods, Director of Music, Oakland,
Russell Morgan, Director of Music, Cleveland,
William D. Revelli, Director of Bands, Univer­
sity of Michigan.
Peter Wilhowsky, Assistant Director of Music,
New York City*
Alfred Spouse, Director of Music, Rochester,
New York.
Dean Harrington, Director of Music, Homell,
New York.
A summary of the replies has been incorporated into
Form A at tbs close of the chapter.
The Jury did not eliminate
any topics proposed in Form A nor did they add any of their
Of the fifty-four topics proposed, thirty-three were
adjudged to be of major importance and nineteen ox minor im­
portance, while two had an equal number of
's and
With the job analysis completed, the next step was
to examine existing textbooks to see if any would meet the
requirements set up by the job analysis.
The first important
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requisite vas that the textbook should be written for the
particular purpose of training conductors of school music or­
its aim.
It was found that no book existing had that as
One which is quite often u»ed for the purpose was
written for use in training band conductors during the World
Many textbooks for training the professional conductors
were found, while others attempted to present chly the problems
of baton technic which are, of course, identical in all levels
and types of conducting.
An analysis of two textbooks widely
used in the training of senior high school conductors follows.
K. W. Gehrkens, Essentials in Conducting. Boston:
Oliver Ditson Company,
Fp. 184.
Gehrkens is in charge of the music education depart­
ment of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
His book has been
widely used as a text in teacher-education institutions even
though he says in Chapter Eight:
"We are not writing a treatise
on music in the public schools, and shall, therefore, not at­
tempt to acquaint the reader, in the space of one chapter, with
even the fundamental principles of school music teaching."
The book is wholly lacking in:
An up-to-date bibliography.
Actual musical Illustrations of problems at­
Suggestions for discussion.
The problem of band conducting.
Psychological aspects of the rehearsal.
Consideration of-problems encountered in conduct­
ing senior high school groups.
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Suggestions for correcting the most Important
faults to be found in school groups.
The book Is Inadequate In regard to:
Problems of score reading*
Selection of music*
Problems In transposition.
Arrangement of concert details*
Recent seating arrangements.
Planning the rehearsal*
Will Earhart, The Eloquent Bator:.
mark and Sons, 1 9 3 1 * Pp. 93*
New York: M. Wit-
Earhart is Director of Music in the Pittsburgh Public
He makes this statement in the Foreword:
"This book
is not an exhaustive treatise on conducting..,it limits it­
self to discussing solely the principal feature by which a
conductor expresses himself, namely, his use of the baton*"
No attempt is made to solve conducting problems met in school
music work.
The book is totally lacking in all the phases al­
ready criticized in the previous text.
Following is Form A and its accompanying letter of
The final results of the questionnaire have
been tabulated under Additions or Comments*
Column 1 —
Number of replies received. This will vary
since same persons neglected toeheck each
item. Twenty-four personsreturned
a com­
pletely or partially filled in questionnaire.
— Number voting' ffr .
— Number voting i.
-- Number voting -.
— The final majority rating.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
February 17, 1940
The job of training teachers of music has become more
complex as the demands on the teachers in the field have multi­
plied. We must attempt to train the teacher to meet the actual
problems which he will encounter once his active teaching
career begins.
This is especially difficult to do for teachers on the
senior high school level where demands have increased so rapidly
in the past twenty years. Many of the senior high school music
teacher's problems are closely related to the conducting of
band, orchestra, and choral groups.
We, at Hew York University, are attempting to rediscover
the problems which the beginning senior high school conductor of
today is likely to encounter so that these problems may serve as
the basis of an undergraduate course on conducting.
The enclosed list of possible topics was prepared by Paul
Van Bodcgraven, Supervisor of Music at Port Washington, New York,
and a graduate student at New York University. They represent
problems which, in the light of his experience and observations,
should be attacked and at least partially solved in the under­
graduate period of training.
I would personally consider it a great favor if you would
take a few minutes to look over this list and check it as indi­
Sincerely yours
Ernest G. Hesser
Department of Music Education
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Below is a list of topics which might be covered in
an undergraduate course in conducting.
The list is drawn
up with an aim of covering all of the most important
duties which a young senior high school music conductor
might be called on to do.
Please consider this rather than
the number of topics vrtiich might be covered in a full year
undergraduate conducting course.
Mark all those topics which deserve MAJOR EMPHASIS + + .
Hark all those topics which deserve MINOR EMPHASIS + .
Those which should have NO EMPHASIS - .
Make COMMENTS or ADDITIONS in the proper space at the right.
6. Beating 5 and 7 beat measures
7. The attack, release, hold
Use of the left hand
19 ' 1
20 . 3
9. Determining the tempo
10. Indicating the dynamics
11. Interpretive responsibilities
1. The choral scores
2. The orchestral scores
3. The band scores
4. Transposition
5. Preparation of a score for
rehearsal use.
< ~
— -
5 '
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The baton, music rack, and podium
fioiding the baton
Beating 2, 3, and 4 beat measure
Beating slow and fast 6,
beat measure
Beating slow 2, 3? and 4 beat
1. Testing and selecting the personnel
with regard to past experience,
ability, interest, balance of the
2. Selection of music which will fit
the ability of the ensemble,
satisfy and develop educative de­
mands, hold interest, and develop
technical and musical abilities.
3. Time and place of rehearsal, dis­
tributing the music, arranging
chairs and racks-, types to use.
4. Regulations covering tardiness,
absence, talking, etc.
0 ;
6..Selecting and training the accom­
7. Seating plans for band, orchestra,
choral groups.
5. Issuing music for home practice.
8. Storage of instruments.
9. Student officers and their re­
sponsibilities .
2 i—
1. Correct mechanics
2. Development of intonation
0 :*r +
3. Development of tone
0 - ~
4. Secure balance
- "
5. Secure blend
6. Attack problems of diction
1 -•
7- Improve reading ability and de­
velop technic
8. Perfect the ensemble
9. Obtain the finest interpretation
. .8 . ..1 ; ^
1 C' ;
0 U -:
0 jf-— 1
j -j .-- 1— i
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-3 -
1. Methods of drill to realize
objectives under Aims
2. Psychological factors to be con­
4. Preparation of next rehearsal
plans, e.g., specific spots in
each section to be drilled on
5. Warming up
6. The use of exercises to solve
specific problems
7. Sectional rehearsals and indi­
vidual help
8. Motivating the rehearsal
3. Teaching during the rehearsal,
e.g., giving specific directions
in the correct methods of sing­
ing and playing as opposed to the
method which concentrates only on
the music being performed
,r f
1 - '
- ~
1. Malting up the program
3. Directions to be given to par­
ticipants at last rehearsal con­
cerning tine and place of
meeting, warming up, entrances
and exits, location of seats in
auditorium, etc.
4. Stage deportment and dress
2. Decorating the concert hall
15 , 4
0 . -f-
5. Acknowledging applause
15 j
6. Acoustics of the concert hall
12 |
7. The use of students and teachers
as ushers, assistants, etc.
19 . 5
0 ! _u :
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..-i .. i!
1. Assembly sings and musical pro­
2. Staging an operetta
3. Drilling a marching band
4. Training student conductors
5. Relationship to music work below
the senior high school level.
■■ f
if— ;
20. j 6 H
, 3 r| _1
, -1^ ;
20 ; 7 Jl3 ; 0
19 : 5 i 13 i 1
| ” ;
1 -f S
Ij T - H
16 I 4
N a m e ____________
A d d r e s s __________________________________________ _
Experienced conductor of (underline)
Choral Groups
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
The content of the proposed textbook on the senior
hign school music conductor was determined by the question­
naire, classified as Form A, and included at the end of
Chapter II (pages 13-16)•
The sixty-four topics chosen in this manner were ar­
ranged into chapters*
The ten chapters were arranged in order
according to their natural sequence in the training of a con­
The first thing a conductor must know is how to mani­
pulate a baton, therefore, the chapter on baton technic was
placed first*
When the conductor steps on the podium, he will
conduct from a piece of music and thi3 implies an understand­
ing of markings found in music and the ability to read the
various conductors* scores*
Therefore, the second and third
chapters cover Factors in Interpretation and Score Reading.
This logical sequence of events as they are met in conducting
a senior high school organization culminates in the presenta­
tion of the finished work to the public, and is reached in the
textbook in Chapter IX, the Concert.
The final chapter covers
duties of the conductor which may branch out from his main Job
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
of conducting the selected musical group rehearsals and is
labeled Miscellaneous Duties of the Conductor*
A bibliography covering the ten chapters was next as­
sembled and classified according to the particular topic in
each chapter on which It had any bearing*
It was possible in
this way to find the topics on which a great deal of written
information was available and those for which very little or
no information was available.
For instance, it was found that
there was a wealth of material on choral music problems, par­
ticularly in regard to the specific problems encountered in
senior high school vocal groups, while there was relatively
little to be had in regard to instrumental problems on the
same level particularly with regard to the improvement of
such important requisites as tone and intonation*
it was necessary to gather some of the information used in
the manuscript by observation of senior high school conductors
at work and by experimenting with m y own groups.
Only ideas
tested and proven in this manner were used in the manuscript*
The plan followed in writing the manuscript is to
open up each problem, suggest at least a possible solution
when it seems advisable, and then to include a bibliography
at the close of each chapter which will enable the reader to
go more thoroughly into the subject if he finds it necessary.
At no time does the manuscript attest an exhaustive and
minute analysis of a problem,but the reader will always be able
to obtain such an analysis by consulting the bibliography for
the chapter under consideration.
For example, Chapter I covers
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tbe problem of baton technic, giving a solution for each prob­
lem met, but it doe3 not attempt to give every solution.
plete books have been written on this one topic alone and the
more comprehensive ones are listed in the bibliography.
this respect, the textbook acts as a study guide since there
are also suggested Problems for Discussion at the close of
each chapter which cover the practical applications to be made
of the chapter's contents.
The bibliography included at the end of each chapter
is limited so that most of the important books can be purchased
by the reader or the institution in which he is studying.
a chapter from two different books can be used to illustrate a
point, the chapter from the book which contains other valuable
reference material is used.
The only periodical references
used are taken from the Music Educators' Journal, the offi­
cial organ of the Music Educators' National Conference, since
this is the music periodical usually available in teacbereducation institutions and most often subscribed to by members
of the profession.
Since the value of the textbook depends
so much on the extensive use of the chapter bibliographies, it
was felt that the use of as few different books and periodi­
cals as would still allow thorough subject coverage, would be
an advantage,
hi illustrating problems of baton technic in Chapter I,
it is suggested that the brown Twice 55 Song Book and the green
Twice 55 Song Book, published by C, C, Birchard, be used.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
each problem is presented, the numbers of the songs from these
two books which Illustrate the problem are listed In the foot­
The usual procedure is to include in the text itself
only the measure in which the problem occurs.
single measures is of doubtful value, The practice of conduct­
ing through the entire number in which the problem occurs is
recommended and should be used when studying Chapter I of the
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
This book is written particularly for the senior high,
school conductor*
Many of the principles of conducting are
applicable to all phases of conducting, choral, instrumental,
amateur or professional.
There are, however, problems which
are peculiar to each type*
The conductor of a professional
organization will not bave to consider the technical founda­
tion of his players; he will not have to teach them the funda­
mentals of playing or singing or of reading music, and he will
not bave to select music in the light of the technical and
musical development of his players.
These problems are, how­
ever, encountered ih every rehearsal of a senior high school
music group.
The requirement for being a conductor is too often
narrowly thought of as consisting of correct usage of the
Therefore, any person who can wield a baton properly
is called a conductor*
Such a person has taken the first and
easiest step in preparing himself to be a conductor, but this
step is only the first in a long journey.
background should precede baton technic*
A sound musical
If this background
has been acquired, baton technic may be made useful*
whole job of the senior high school conductor, from the time
he enters the rehearsal room until his groups are prepared to
present a musical performance, is a complex one*
It certainly
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involves mare teaching than conducting, and an under standing
of this distinction is an important one which is stressed
over and over again in the body of the text*
Many conductors
become glued to the podium as though they fear for their lives
should they descend and give some individual help to a weak
player or singer.
Any hook which attempts to cover as many important
subjects as does this one must be either brief to the point of
terseness or it will become so prolonged as to be prohibitive.
The plan of the book must be understood if it is to be success­
Problems are presented briefly, a possible solution
usually suggested, and a bibliography given at the end of each
chapter to provide for further study.
Each problem should
also be discussed thoroughly by the class after some of the
items in the bibliography have been read.
Using the bibliography,
then, is vital, a 3 are the discussions.
The brown Twice 55 Song Book and the green Twice 55
Song Book, published by C. C. Birchard, Boston, Massachusetts,
can be used in conjunction with Chapter I.
As each new prob­
lem in baton technique is presented, songs in which these
problems are encountered are listed in the footnote.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
THE FIRST STEP IN CONDUCTING....................
The Baton...
The Music R a c k . .
The P
The Attack on the First Beat of a Measure......
Beating Thre^Beat Measure.....................
Beating Four-Beat Measure......................
Beating Two-Beat Measure..
Attacks on Incomplete Measures.................
Beating Sin-, Niie-, and Twelve-Beat Measures... 10
Sub-Dividing Two-, Three- and Four-Beat Measure 12
The Hold and Releaise••.••••••..«•••••••• •••»•»• 13
Beating One in a Measure......
.•••••••••• 15
Five- and Seven-Beat Measures..••....•••••••••• 16
The Left Hand.....................•••••.••••«••• 17
Choral Versus Instrumental Conducting.........* 19
'The Function of Baton T e c h n i c . . •» 21
Problems••...•••••••••••..... ••••••••••••••••• 23
Bibliography for Further Study.
••«..•••••• 23
FACTORS IN INTERPRETATION.......................
Dynamics• « • « «
References for Further Reading...........
SCORE READING......................
The Choral Scores............ ••••••••••••.....
The Orchestra Scores....••..•••.•••••••••••••••
The Band S
Preparing a Score for Rehearsal.
Bibliography for Further Study................
PLANNING THE REHEARSAL......................
Selecting the Personnel.....
Selecting the M
• • •
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Seating A r r a n g e m e n t s . . ....••«
The Rehearsal Roam.
Time of R e h e a r s a l . . . . .
Student O
Rules and Regulations.
The Accompanist.........
Suggestions for further Study...................
AIMS OP THE REHEARSAL........................
Correct Mechanics...
...... •••••••••••••••••
Tone... ... •
...... ••.........
Balance and Blend..............•..••••••••••••••
Perfect the Ensemble....•••••••••••.... ••••••••
Diction... •
I n t e r p r e t a t i o n . ....
Order of Procedure. ......
Problems for D i s c u s s i o n . . . •••.••••
Suggestions for Further Study...................
THE CHORAL REHEARSAL....................
..••••• 101
Balance*.. . . . ...... ••••••.......
..... 113
Diction. ...... ..... ..............••••..... ...114
Correct Mechanics..••••••••••••••••••.•••••••••• 115
Ens emble
Problems for Discussion....... ••••••••«•••••••• 117
Suggested R
THE INSTRUMENTAL REHEARSAL......................... 119
Intonat ion.. •••••..........
Balance and Blend...••••••••••••••••••••••...... 131
Correct Mechanics.
•••..•••••••••••••••••••• 135
I n t e r p r e t a t i o n . ..«•••••••••••••• 138
Problems for D i s c u s s i o n . ..... 138
References for Further Study.....................139
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Rehearsal Plans..................
Wanning U
The Sectional Rehearsal..........•••••••••...•.
Psychologies 1 Fact cr s ....••••.....
Suggestions for Farther Study.................*
THE CONCERT.........
Preliminary P
The Program...........
Suggest!ons for Study.......
The Assembly Programs.
The O
•• 169
The Marching B
Student Conductor .............................. 171
Pre-High School Music•••••••••••••••••••..••••• 171
Problems for Discussion...... .......•••••••••• 173
Suggestions for Further Study.................. 173
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Tbs first step to be taken in learning to be a con­
ductor is to master tbose fundamental motions by which tbs
conductor makes clear bis intentions to tbose following him.
Tbe conductor should aim to develop a technic so clear and
precise that be can conduct any group without previous re­
hearsal, making no stops for explanations of gestures.*
of usage have standardized certain fundamental gestures and
it is these standardized gestures, referred to often as the
technic of tbe baton, that we now take up.
Only hours of practice, alone in front of a mirror,
with a phonograph or radio, and in front of ensembles, will
make these gestures automatic; and these must be so automatic
as to need no attention from the conductor if he is to be
able to fully carry out his many other functions.
The Baton
It is quite important that the beginning conductor
use a very light baton so as not to unduly tire the arm.
This is assuming that the ensemble Itself has had exper­
ience in following a good conductor. The ability to
follow a conductor is also a matter of training and
experience •
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should be fairly long, sixteen Inches or more, so that all
arm and wrist motions will be greatly enlarged.
The use of
a short baton will often lead unwittingly to the development
of excessive wrist and arm action.
The baton is usually held between the thumb and the
first and second fingers, the point of contact being with the
cushion below the tip of the thumb, the first Joint of the
first finger and the second joint of the second finger.
music with very marked rhythm, the butt of the baton may be
held against the palm of the hand; while in the more flowing,
graceful type of music the butt will remain free so as to give
more flexibility to the grip.
The Music Rack
The music rack should have a heavy base.
It should
be adjustable as to height and tilt of the music table.
is also very convenient to have a shelf Just below the table
on which music, tuning bars, or other equipment may be placed.
There are two locations for the music rack which may
be used when conducting.
One location for the rack is di­
rectly in front of the conductor.
When in this position, the
rack must be adjusted so that the lowest part of the conduc­
tor’s beat will not accidently strike it.
Therefore, when
glancing at the score, the conductor must be continually
looking downwards.
The other location for the music rack is slightly to
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the left of the conductor so that all of the space In front
of the conductor is unobstructed.
When using this location,
the scare is more in line with the eyes, although still slightly
below their line of vision,and the left hand is readily avail­
able for turning pages; but when glancing at the score, the
head must move to the left.
All in all, it is easy to see the justification for
the remark made by Welngartner:
"He (the conductor) should
know it (the score) so thoroughly that during the performance
the score is merely a support for his memory, not a fetter on
his thought."
The Podium
The lowest part of the conductor’s beat must be clearly
visible to every member of the ensemble.
Probably the best
method of obtaining this result is to use raised platforms
for the ensemble, each row being raised above the row di­
rectly in front of it.
This is also conducive to better
musical effects but is not always feasible, especially in tbs
case of instrumental groups or large choral groups.
The alternative plan is to elevate the conductor.
amount of elevation required will depend on the height of the
conductor himself.
The very tall conductor may stand on the
On Conducting. Hew York:-E. P. Kalmus Orchestra Scores,
Inc., 1905, p. 43.
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same level with, the ensemble and still have every beat visible
to each member*
The shorter conductor must elevate himself
enough so that when his baton is raised, it can be clearly
seen by all members as they look at their music*
of the beats must remain visible*
The bottom
Podiums which are too high
make it difficult for the participants to watch their music
and see the highest part of the beat, and podiums that are too
low make it just as difficult to see the bottom part of the
top of the beat
3 -
------- m
bottom of the beat
The podium itself should be large enough to allow for
freedom of movement an the part of the conductor, sturdy
enough so that the conductor will not worry about it break­
ing during a vigorous passage, so firm as not to squeek as
the conductor shifts his weight, and it is convenient to leave
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an upward extension of a few Inches on the side which is di­
rectly in hack of the conductor so that he may not inadvertently
step backwards and off the podium.*
The Attack on the First Beat of a Measure
The student is now bn the podium with the music rack
correctly placed and the baton properly held in his right
hand and is ready to study the problems of securing a perfect
attack from the group he is conducting.
Let us assume that the other members of the class will
act as a chorus since the problem of attack is identical for
all groups, choral and instrumental, and that the piece to be
sung begins on the first beat of a three-beat measure.
The first beat of a measure is always executed by a
direct down beat of the baton, but if the student merely
beats straight down as illustrated in Example 1, he will find
that the chorus has not started with him.
There must be a
beat, called by such various descriptive terms as the "pre­
liminary beat," "upbeat,* "preparatory beat," or "breathing
beat," which precedes the first beat of the pieee.
This beat
should proceed in the direction which the last beat of the
measure will follow and will be executed at the exact tempo
These remarks are inspired by the personal experience of
the writer, a person of average height and weight, who
has, in travels away from home with his high school
groups, many times encountered all the podium diffi­
culties enumerated.
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of the piece and also in the proper character*
Therefore, in
three-heat measure the preliminary beat will occupy the place
of the third beat as illustrated in Example
Example 1
The first beat*
Example 2
The preliminary beat for
three-beat measure start­
ing on the first beat.
The student will do well to count a measure to him­
self, starting his preliminary beat on the third beat in time
with his counting or he might even do his counting out loud
when practicing without the ensemble.
When the student has thoroughly grasped the character­
istics of the preliminary beat and has practiced it enough to
have the muscular coordination necessary to control it, he
should test his ability to get an attack from the ensemble.
This calls for cooperation between the conductor and the en­
semble and can be perfected in no other way.
If the ensemble
is alert and the conductor knows his business, a perfect at­
tack will always result.
The student may proceed step-by-step as follows:
(a) Get perfect quiet from the ensemble and then
nod to the accompanist for the first chord or
broken chord.
(b) Raise the baton-shoulder high with the right
elbow only slightly bent. The wrist should not
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be bent* The baton should be far enough
to the right of the body so that when the
preliminary beat Is completed, the first beat
will case directly In front of the body*
(c) Look at the ensemble and sense their prepared­
ness. Both conductor and ensemble mustaemorize
the first few notes so that all attention can
be given to securing a perfect attack*
(d) Execute the attack*
Beating Three-Beat Measure
Three-beat measure Is conducted as follows:
and may be practiced to the verbal directions of Doan, Eight,
As soon as the student beats as illustrated, he will
sense that something
express ive *
The beats are square and un­
Actually there should be a short "rebound" at
the bottom of the first beat in the direction of the follow­
ing beat after which the baton executes the following beats
In a slightly curved manner and the actual motions new made
look more like this:
Humbers 1, 46 and 74 In the Ho. 1 - Twice 55 Song Book
are good examples since EEey- do not represent ex­
treme tempo or contain other important unfamiliar
conducting problems*
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Care must be taken not to exaggerate this rebound so much, that
the beat becomes undistingulshable.
An excessive amount of
flourish, often caused by too much wrist action, should be
assiduously avoided at all times*
Beating Four-Beat Measure
The motion for four-beat measure Is Down, Left, Right,
Up, with the rebound of the first beat now on the left in the
direction which the second beat will assume:
The third beat, being the secondary strong beat, is
longer and more marked than the weak beats surrounding it.
The preliminary beat traces the path of the fourth beat.
Beating Two-Beat Measure
The motion for two-beat measure is Down, Up.
The re­
bound of the first beat is slightly to the right, after which
the second beat curves back to take the course of the first
The preliminary beat is up, following the direction of
The No. 1 - Twice 55 Song Book, numbers 16, 18, 24,
Ibid.. cumbers
, 15, 57.
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the second beat.
Attache on Incomplete Measures
We have now learned to conduct two-, three-, and fourbeat measures which start on the first beat in the measure.
A glance at any song book will show that many pieces start on
incomplete measures.
Here the method of obtaining a perfect
attack must again be given careful consideration.
The prob­
lems presented may be grouped as follows:
The problem presented when the music starts on an
incomplete measure but on a complete beat.^
To get an attack,
beat as the preliminary motion, the beat preceding the one
on which the number begins.. When this causes the preliminary
beat to trace the motion of a strong beat, e.g., one or three
in four-beat measure, the motion should be lighter than it
normally would be.
2 -beat
feeat the piece
starts on
Course of the
preliminary beat
3 (light)
1 (light)
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Table I shows bow to use the preliminary beat to get
an attack when two, three, or four-beat measure music starts
on an Incomplete measure but an a complete beat*
(b) The problem presented when the music starts an an
incomplete measure and an Incomplete beat*
In these instances, the entire beat on which the music
starts is given as a preliminary.
The motion for Example 1
will be:
and for Example
On all such attacks it is imperative that both the conductor
and the ensemble have a perfect conception of the sound of
the beginning phrase.
Beating Six-, Sine-, and Twelve-Beat Measures
There Is pretty general agreement as to the proper
motions to use in beating two-, three- and four-beat measures,
The So, 1 - Twice 55 Sang Book, numbers 11, 22 (verse
onlyT, 54, Sfe T?irst verse), 62 (verse only),
For a different method of securing this last attack, see
K. W, Gehrkens, Essentials In Conducting, p, 30,
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bat there Is no such close agreement with regard to six, nine,
and twelve-beat measures*
The following statement by Gehrkens
may lead to a clearer under standing of the problem:
All music is based on comparatively few schemes
of pulsation* Indeed, fundamentally, there are
only two such schemes — (1 ) that in which a
strong beat is followed by a weak one (lgl2 );
and (2 ) that in which a strong beat is followed
by two weak ones (I2 3 I2 5 )•••.both quadruple and
sextuple are really complex forms of duple
measures and are often played as groups of two*
This is especially true in the case of 6 / 8 and
in rapid tempos 6 / 8 is always taken as 2.3If we examine six-, nine-, and twelve-beat measures
in the light of this statement, it is easy to understand how
six-beat measure may be conceived as basically two-beat
measure with each beat sub-divided into three equal parts,
nine-beat measure as being three-beat measure sub-divided, and
twelve-beat measure being four-beat measure similarly sub­
recognizes this relationship aiyi out­
lines the motions for these measures accordingly, taking care
that the main beats remain recognizable despite the s^b-divisian.
6 -beat
9-beat measure
1 2 -best
K*W* Gehrkens, The Fundamentals of Music* Boston; Oliver
Ditson Company, 1924, pp. 33^54.
Handbook of Conducting, pp. 156.
For practice using these beats see Ho. 1 , Twice 55 Sang
Book. Humbers 28, 35, "77.
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An added advantage in this method is the ease with which the
beat can be changed from the sub-divided beat back to the
basic beat and vice-versa, a change which is often convenient
in retards and accelerandos*
When the tempo is too rapid to
indicate each beat in six-, nine-, and twelve-beat measure, one
beat is given for each unit of three so six is beat in two,
nine in three, and twelve in four*
Sub-Dividing Two-, Three- and Four-Beat Measure
The discussion of subdivision just undertaken leads
us naturally to another problem which is quite similar except
that now the beat is to be sub-divided into two equal parts*
There are many times when the tempo in two-, three- and fourbeat measure moves so slowly that the baton cannot continue
in a smooth, uninterrupted motion and it is found necessary to
beat the second half (1 and. 2 and, etc*) of each beat*
again the form of the fundamental beat must be closely adhered
into four
3 subdivided
into, six
4 subdivided
into eight
For another method of beating 6 , 9, and 12 beat measures
sees W. Earhart, The Bloquent Baton. Chapters V, X.
Ho* 1 , Twice 55 Sang Book. ^os» 9. 44 45, 61, 64, 80 (first
page). No7 2. Twice 55 Song Book. Nos* 1, 49, 50.
Ho. 1 , Twlce"T>5 ‘Bong kookT"fto. 41; Wo. 2 Twice 55 Song
Book, flos. 98, x05.
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Tbe Hold and Release
in suggesting numbers for conducting practice up to
this point, it will be noticed that tbose which contain a
"hold" (fermata) have been avoided.
This problem requires
special attention and can hardly be properly treated without
also studying the "release" since, as the terms indicate, a
"hold" must be "released."
A "hold" brings about a complete stoppage momentarily,
of all rhythmic progress and consequently, of the baton.
general principle to be observed is that the hand which indi­
cates the hold (up to now, the baton hand) should be held high
and should be clearly visible.
This necessitates swinging off
the usual course when the hold falls on a beat which ends in
a low position such as the first, second, or third beats in
four-beat measure, the motions for which are roughly:
Holds in Four-Beat Measure
on one
on two
on three
There are times when the "hold" comes on the second half or
some other fraction of the beat
and may be indicated by a
divided beat with the holding beat ending high:
1. No. 1, Twice 55 Song Book. Nos. 2, 3, 27.
2 . TEldT, No. 14.
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0 e at ifj c
Following the "hold" it is necessary (a) to either
stop the ensemble from singing or playing completely, or (b) to
have them continue without a break in tone*
(a) This is brought about by a release beat, which
is a decisive beat in a downward direction preceded by a pre1
liminary beat*
When there is only a slight stoppage after the "hold,"
long enough to take a quick breath, the release is still down­
ward but as much as possible in the direction which the follow
beat must take*
The release beat may then serve as the pre­
liminary to the following beat.
This whole action, then, is —
hoId-preliminary (short) - release (preliminary for the attack)
preliminary -
Ho. 1, Twice 55 Sang Book. No* 22.
IBidT, Mo *2 2 /Third s cor e *
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However, when the next attack must be made on the first
of a measure, the downward motion of the release is very
short, rebounding Immediately into position for the decisive
down stroke,
(b) In this instance, the hold is indicated followed
by the next beat to be played or sung, preceded by the usual
preliminary beat,
in this order:
hold-preliminary (must be
short so as not to be confused with the release)-next beat.
Holds on rests usually create a problem of release and
The release may be obtained on any beat in the
measure by making the normal movement far the beat but giving
it a decisive downward slant at tie finish.
Release on "two" in
three-beat measure
Release on "three” in
four-beat measure
Beating One in a Measure
There are many instances in which the tempo of the
music is so rapid that, regardless of the measure signature,
it must be conducted in one.
The Viennese waltzes are fine
No, 1, Twice 55 Song Book, No, 27, last score,
V7 Scherchen.~?a5SBook of Conducting, p, 172,
No, 1, Twice 5fc &ong"5oo5, No. £7. last score,
Scherchen, op, cit,, p." 172,
No. 2, Twice 55 ^ang Book. Nos, 119, 75, 17,
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examples of this, the flowing quallty of the music demanding
only one beat to a bar*
The motion for this Is —
with no rebound at the bottom*
Down - Up --
The conductor is conscious only
of the down beat, allowing the batoh to return Immediately up
the track of the down beat.
The nature of the music will often
indicate that the down beat should get the first two beat 3
while the up stroke is made on three*
Five- and Sevaa-Beat Measures
Music written in five- and seven-beat measure is very
rare and the young conductor is not likely to be using $cusic
of this type*
There is small necessity of spending much time
at this moment in thoroughly mastering this problem.
The prin­
ciple to grasp is that five-beat measure is a combination of
two plus three or three plus two and seven-beat measure is
four plus three or three plus four, each number requiring study
to determine the rhythmic scheme*
Five-Beat Measure
Three plus two
Two plus three
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Seven-Beat Measure
Pour plus three
Three plus four
Notice that the secondary strong beat is given a
downward motion although not as marked as the first beat.
The Left Hand
It seems so natural to do with the left hand what
the right hand is doing, that most writers on the subject of
conducting state both the negative and positive functions of
the left hand as is shown in the following statement;s:
Nothing is gained by beating time in duplicate.
The left hand should rather be kept in reserve
for particular situations when they do arise; to
give special emphasis, to do what the time beating
hand is unable to do, to draw attention, and gen­
erally to aid in the interpretation of the music;
it will be useless for any of these purposes if#.,
(it) is kept constantly on the move.-*The left hand has important functions, but one
point is clear; it should not become a mere ad­
ditional right hand. At times, it is true, when
all sections of large forces join in vigorous
utterance, both hands may well pursue similar move­
ments, may well "beat time" alike, and thereby al-
A. Carse, Orchestral Conducting, p, 13,
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most doable the animation and power of control.
Usually, however, the left hand, If used at all,
should perform distinct and separate duties*^
The left hand should be used only for a special
occasion or purpose, for instance: an accent, a
sudden piano, a sudden forte, a very important
cue, etc .2
The three most important functions of the left hand
to be mastered early are:
(a) To reinforce the movements of the right hand in
situations as are described above.
This may take the form
of a single beat or measure and should rarely be continued
(b) To indicate dynamics and dynamic changes, and to
keep balance among sections.
The hand will not beat time
when Indicating dynamics.
The palm of the hand turned towards the floor and the
hand slowly descending will indicate a diminuendo, while the
palm turned up and the arm moving upward will indicate crescendo.
The clenched fist will indicate a forte.
The palm pointed toward a section in a pushing posi­
tion will signal that particular section only to be quieter.
Turn the hand and assume a pulling position in order to draw
more tone from a particular section.
1. W. Earhart, 0 £. cit., p. 8 8 .
. V. BakalelnlSoff. Elementary Rules of Conducting, p. 1 0 .
3. No. 1, Twice 55 Seng Sook. Nos. *84 T3rd bar), 8 1 (opening
13ar), etc.
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To cue players or singers who have had several
measures of rests and to indicate the most important en­
The term "cue" is used in all ensemble work and
refers to the signal given by the conductor in such instances
as stated above*
It may be executed In the following manner:
Look at the section or individual who is to re­
ceive the cue,
Raise the left hand in their direction (when pos­
sible) several beats before the entrance,
Give the same preliminary beat before the entrance
as would be given at the beginning of a composition,
Give the exact entrance beat and the cue is com­
plete, Do not continue beating time for them.
Cueing is especially necessary for high school musi­
cians but must still be used sparingly.
Certainly the per-
fon®rs must not get so accustomed to being brought in on every
occasion that they get in the habit of not counting their rest
measures or of not listening to other parts to hear when their
own should come in.
During rehearsals, players can be trained
to expect few cues except after long periods of rest or in im­
portant solo passages.
This makes for alertness and listen­
In a concert performance, however, the immature student
needs the added confidence inspired by definite cues.
Choral Versus Instrumental Conducting
In delineating the problems of baton technic, It will
be noticed that there has been no distinction drawn between
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
choral and Instrumental conducting technics.
tlon need he drawn.
No such distinc*
A conducting technic which is clear and
easily understandable, based on gestures -rfilch have become
standardized through years of usage, need not be altered for
any type of musical ensemble.
The young conductor will do
well to avoid "individualistic mannerisms" which are intelli­
gible only to the group which has been trained in following
Remember that our aim has been to develop a technic
which will be understandable to any trained group at first
According to Stoessel:
Directors of choruses must remember that essen­
tially there is no difference between orchestral
conducting and choral conducting, although there
is a vast difference between orchestral and
choral training and rehear sing., .chorus members
will give a rhythmical performance of a work only
when they are made to feel the main pulsations of
the movement, and this can only be accomplished
by using such established gestures which clearly
mark the fundamental rhythm.
Many fine conductors, both instrumental and choral,
with the latter predominating, conduct without a baton.
claim many special advantages for their way while proponents
of the baton do likewise.
There is considerable feeling on
both sides.
No attempt will be made here to defend either view­
point but mention of It must be made if the young conductor
A. Stoessel, The Technic-of the Baton, p. 96.
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is to be well inf earned on his subject** The only advice of­
fered is to master the usage of the baton before discarding
Conductors who can use a baton correctly are in a much
better position to evaluate its utility than are those who
claim preference for the batonless msthod at least partially
through inability to use it.
The Function of Baton Technic
No exhaustive treatment of the subject has been at­
tempted here.
Complete books have been written covering the
smallest detail of demonstrating every conceivable musical
problem to be met in conducting, problems which the young high
school music conductor may never encounter.
For this reason
only the most usual problems have been attacked and general
principles laid down which, if understood, will help in solv­
ing other problems.
The young conductor, learning baton technic for the
first time, often feels that once these movements have been
mastered lie is a full-fledged conductor.
Nothing is fatther
from the truth and the writing of this entire book will have
been a waste of time if it helps foster such an impression.
The writer has always wished, however, for a more scien­
tific method of evaluation such as a test in which a
conductor, hidden from the listeners by a screen, would
conduct a group both with and without the baton while
a group of competent musicians endeavored to guess
when he was and was not using a baton as evidenced by
the presence of a "firnBr attack", "subtler nuances,"
and other such noticeable advantages claimed by each
side .
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According to Carse:
Experience has shown that it is easier to acquire,
and to teach, the purely physical part of the con­
ductor’s art than it is to cultivate those quali­
ties which make a conductor able to rehearse and
train an orchestra* The embryo conductor will ~
or should — face the fact that his most formidable
task will be, not in learning how to manipulate the
bat oh, but in learning to recognize faults in or­
chestral playing, in knowing how to eliminate them,
and in gaining the power which will enable him to
make the playing of the orchestra under his charge
technically excellent. The physical part of con­
ducting can be practiced alone, but the other can
only be acquired by experience, and with the help
of, and probably at the expense of, a real live
orchestra, 1
The possessor of an adequate baton technic is quali­
fied to take his place on the podium and lead a group through
music of any grade of difficulty, maintaining an even rhythm,
indicating entrances, and suggesting dynamic markings.
is the function of baton technic.
These are, however, only
a few of the fundamentals of musical performance and even when
they are present a miserable performance may result.
The mastery of baton technic is, then, the first step
to be taken in training to be a conductor, a step which any­
one with a sense of rhythm can master and without which no
one deserves the title of conductor.
Carse, op, cit.. p, 25,
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Report to the class on some conductors you have played
or sung tinder, explaining, if you can, why they were
easy or difficult to follow.
Observe some conductors and discuss their baton technic
in class.
Bring to class some problem in the technic of conducting
not solved in this chapter and give your solution. See
the bibliography following if help is needed.
Conduct, at sight, some fairly easy numbers.
allowing two minutes for study.
Criticize other members of the class in regard to all ele­
ments of baton technic, especially clarity, grace, and
regularity of the beat.
Do the same,
Bibliography for Further Study
V. Bakaleinikoff, Elementary Rules of Conducting. New
York: Boosey Hawke3 Belwin, inc., 1938. Part 3.
H. Berlioz, Modern Instrumentation and Orchestration.
London: kovello, Ewer and Company, 1882, pp. £45,
The Orchestral Conductor.
A. C. Boult. The Technique of Conducting,
the Printer, Limited, Sections 1-6.
A. Carse. Orchestral Conducting. London: Augener, Ltd.,
1929. Part i, Sections i-vll.
H. Dann, Hollis Dann Song Series. Conductors Book,, New
York: American Pook Company, 1936. Pp. 61-69*
W. Earhart. The Eloquent Baton. New York : M. Witmark and
Sons, 19317 ihe entire book.
K. W. Gehrkens. Essentials in Conducting.
Ditson Company, 1919. Chapter Til.
G. E. Hubbard, Some Notes on Conducting.
Journal, XXII (May, 1936), No. 6 .
Boston: Oliver
Music Education
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H. Scherchen, Handbook of Conducting. London: Oxford
University tress, 1§S3, pp. 151-188. Gives the solu­
tions for many difficult orchestral conducting prob­
lems. An exceptionally fine book.
G. H. Woods, School Orchestras and Bands.
Ditsan Company, 1920. Chapter Xl.
Boston: Oliver
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No amount of musical training or sensitivity to musi­
cal expression would lead one to instinctively conduct measure
signatures along the patterns heretofore described.
But once
these basic gestures have been mastered, the many modifica­
tions necessary to delineate the spirit, tempo, dynamics,
nuances, and other niceties of musical expression should come
easily and naturally provided that the musical background of
the conductor is adequate*
If this musical background has not
been obtained, the student should hardly attempt a job in which
his musical authority must be supreme*
The most elusive elements in musical expression can­
not be described with words.
The student is here warned that
he cannot become an excellent interpret or by reading books
about musical Interpretation; the topic is much too intangible.
However, the
musically mature student may benefit greatly by
reading books such as those listed at the close of this chap­
ter because his musical background will lend meaning to words
which would otherwise be wholly meaningless.
There can be no
substitute for the gift of sensitivity to the beauties of
music developed to a high degree through training in some
medium of musical performance and through hearing fine music
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well played or sung*
Interpretation for the Individual performer is an en­
tirely personal matter*
He is free to interpret as he sees
fit as long as his technic is adequate to the demands he makes
on it*
The conductor is, however, in the position of having
to make other persons feel as he does, and to see that his en­
tire ensemble feels the same way.
It is obvious, then, that
the interpretive results will depend largely on the musical
sensitivity of the players or singers in the ensemble since
they must be able to mirror the ideas of the conductor.
There are three elements in musical expression over
which the conductor exerts Major controls
Music which is within the technical ability of the ensemble
can be performed at the correct tempo, the dynamics can be
faithfully observed, and the proper mechanical phrasing can
be indicated exactly by the conductor.
Tempo is the term used to designate the speed at which
a musical number is performed and is the only term which
should be so used.
The loose usage of the word Mtime" results
in much confusion and should'be entirely eliminated*
H* Dann, Hollis Dann Song Series, Conduct or»s Book, p.
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The conductor who has learned the mechanics of conduct­
ing has, at the same time, been concerned with .tempo, since
all beats must be indicated at a certain speed,
A real prob­
lem develops, however, when a specific number must be con­
ducted and the proper tempo discovered.
This is considered
by many authorities to be the most important duty of the con­
ductor as the following two statements, one by a famous composer-conductor and the other by a famous high school music
conductor will Indicate.
The whole duty of a conductor is comprised in his
ability to indicate the right taapo. His choice
of tempo will show whether he understands the
piece or not. With good players again the true
tempo induces correct phrasing and expression, and,
conversely, with a conductor, the idea of appro­
priate phrasing aid expression will induce the
conception of the true tempo. 1
Ability to discover and indicate the correct
tempo and variations of tempo is altogether the
most important duty of the conductor. It requires
careful study, much experience, and musical back­
ground. There is no short cut to the attainment
of this power. Even after the young conductor
has decided upon the taapo, much practice in men­
tally singing the first phrase is often necessary
before he can be at all sure that he will be able
to indicate the correct tempo tta. the chorus. It
is of greatest importance that the student of con­
ducting learn to remember the exact tempo. Think­
ing and feeling the rhythmic swing of the opening
of the selection over and over again is perhaps
the most effective way to ’memorize’ the tempo.^
Immature high school groups may not have perfect in-
Richard Wagner, On Conducting, p. 20.
Dann, 0 £. cit.. p. 71. _
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tonation and ton© but if the music being performed has been
chosen in the light of the ability of the group, the tempo
at which the music is rendered can be perfect*
The entire res­
ponsibility for this rests on the conductor and he should be
blamed for any errors directly relating to tempo.
It becomes,
then, the first duty of the high school conductor but not, as
Wagner suggests, for the conductor of professional groups,
the entire duty.
The four most coranon methods of determining the correct
tempo are: (1 ) consult the metronome marking; (2 ) consult the
Italian tempo terms; (3) find the traditional tempo; (4) use
of individual judgment based on the sound of the music and
the spirit of the text.
Metronome Markings
Metronome markings when given, appear at the very be­
ginning of a piece or movement.
This marking indicates two
(1) the kind of a note which should be given one
beat; and the number
in a minute.
of these notes which should be played
Therefore, the markingJ-60 indicates that the
quarter note is the beat note and that the beat should move
at the rate of 60 per minute.
The newest electric metronome,
the most satisfactory kind ever produced, registers tempos of
from 40 to 208 beats per minute.
Pram 40 to 60, the intervals
are spaced two apart (that Is, 40, 42, 44, etc.); from 60 to
72, three apart; from 72 to 120, four apart; from 120 to 144,
six apart; and from 144 to 208, eight beats apart.
The con­
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ductor must practice with a metronome until he can heat very
close to any tempo indicated without using the metronome*
other words, he must "memorize" tempos*
The young conductor may make some very serious mistakes
if he looks only at the measure signature and then at the heat
When there is a metronome marking, this marking takes
precedence over the measure signature although the two often
Examples of both instances are:
- 60
Beats in
a Measure
60 beats per
d - 60
0 - 60
d- - 60
4 /4
Ji -
JI - 60
d - 60
«P- 60
- 60
• P - 60
Most watches tick 300 times per minute so that if one heat is
given for each five ticks, the metronome indication of 60 will
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result while if one heat is given for each, three beats a
metronome marking of 100 will be found*
Before using a watch
too much, however, it would be wise to check it with a wellregulated metronome.
Of the four ways of determining the correct tempo,
the metronome marking is mechanically by far the most exact.
This can indicate only the starting speed, however, and will
be of no help in making the slight variations within a move­
ment, measure, or beat which are so necessary in expressive
playing or singing.
Italian Tempo Terms
Many compositions have no metronome indication, but
there is instead an Italian term placed at the start which
gives some indication of the taapo to be taken.
The most com­
mon of these follow, but the conductor will find many more
which do not appear here but which can be found in any good
music dictionary.^
The very slowest tempo.
Often conducted in double time with a divided
beat, especially in the older classical music.
very slow tempo.
cribed above.
Conducted as des-
K. W. Gehrkens, Handbook of Musical Terms.
Bit son C ompany, 13&1 .
Boston: Oliver
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adagiett o
Slow tempo.
Also as above.
Moderately slow tempo.
Moderate tempo,
Moderately rapid tenqpo.
slower than allegro.
Very fast tempo,
presto assai
Most rapid tempo possible. It is often
necessary and convenient to beat fewer
beats than indicated in the measure
A little
There are other terms which indicate tempo fluctuations.
are used in the body of the composition rather than at the
poco a poco animato
Gradually gat faster
Gradually get slower,
piu allegro
piu presto
piu animato
piu mosso
un poco animato
Paster at once.
piu lento
meno mosso
Slower at once,
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tempo rubato —
the s ane.
a very flexible tempo, not uniformly
tempo gins to —
in exact tempo,
a tempo — return to the regular tempo. Usually used
after an accelerando or ritardando to indicate a
fceturn to the previous speed.
tempo I —
return to the first tempo.
alia marcia —
in march time,
tempo di valse —
ad libitum
a placere
tempo of a -waltz,
at the pleasure of the performer —
no exact tempo.
•In connection with the observance of these ternno in­
dications Bakaleinlkoff offers the following suggestions:
All introductions^- of classical works with tempo
marks of Adagio, Molto Adagio, or Largo in 2/4 must
be conducted in 4/4, Those in 3/4 must be con­
ducted in 6/4, and those in 4/4 must be conducted
in 8/4, In other words, the student should sub­
divide every beat for the convenience of the players
and himself. This manner of conducting, however, is
very dangerous because the young conductor without
experience always takes the tempo too slow.,.. In
order to avoid this mistake he should think in the
original tempo as it is written.
The opposite is also true. Movementswiflitempo marks
of Allegro, Allegro Molto or Presto which are writ­
ten in 4/4 with an ala breve sign {/) must be con­
ducted in 2 instead of 4. It is inevitable in this
case for the young conductor without experience to
conduct too fast and this may be avoided by his
thinking in 4 instead of 2 as originally written.
In the U.S. the tempo di Valse^ is three times
slower than the Tengpo di Valse of Europe. There­
fore, the compositions written in Tempo di Valse by
Old World composers must be played in one, not three.
V. Bakaleinlkoff, Elementary Rules of Conducting, p. 21.
* P •2 2 .
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It must be thoroughly understood that the Italian
terns indicate a very general tempo, not a specific one.
is not possible to say that Andante varies on the metronome
between 60 and 72.
If the student will notice the Italian
terms in some classical music,then listen to a recording of
the number and time the rate of speed with a metronome, he
will find that Andante may have a faster metronome indication
than Allegro.
Therefore, a great deal of individual judgment
is necessary in finally determining the tempo even when
Italian tempo terms are given.
Traditional Tempo
Every piece of music which has been played for any
length of time has a taapo which has been determined by tra­
Only the person who has heard these numbers played
over and over by fine ensembles can be counted on to conduct
the number in exactly the correct tempo.
Learning such tempos
exclusively by listening to records is a dangerous method, al­
though at times, the only feasible one.
Many recordings do
not have correct tanpos, not because the conductor is not
aware of them, but because the music must be speeded up or
slowed down to fit on the record.
In addition to initial tempos which are determined by
tempo, there are such problems as are indicated by the follow1
Bakaleinlkoff, op. cit.» p. 24.
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Same of these universal musical traditions are
that the ending of every Minuet in the classic
works, and the last few chords of every Finale
are played with a slight ritard; and a Fugae-^,
if it is in the middle of a movement, is played a
little bit slower than the rest of the movement*
The student will never fail if he will follow
the universal traditions, but other traditions,
which many conductors do differently with certain
compositions, are always disputable, and the stu­
dent should be very careful about adopting them.
Tempo Determined by Judgment
There are many times when the conductor must rely
entirely on his own judgment in determining the tempo.
must play or sing over the music, study its rhythmic scheme,
read the text in vocal music, and then select the speed which
"feels" right.
Needless to say, this requires a fine musical
background plus careful study.
Some composers use no tempo
indications whatsoever because they have found that conduc­
tors disregard them anyway and because they feel the conductor
should be a thorough enough musician to determine the correct
tempo unaided by metronome indications or Italian terms.
Sabastian Bach, as a rule, does not indicate
tempo at all, which in a truly musical sense is
perhaps best. He may have said to himself:
whoever does not understand my themes and
figures, and does not feel the character and
expression, will not be much the wiser for an
Italian indication of tempo.^
Another remark made by Wagner is quite significant
Wagner, 0 £. cit.t p. 20.
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for the non-singing instrument a list:
She right comprehension of the Melos (melody in
all its aspects) is the sole guide to the right
tempo; these two things are inseparable; the one
implies and qualifies the other*
...our conductors so frequently fail to find the
true tempo because they are ignorant of singing.
It is not possible to develop musical judgment by
reading about it.
Therefore, the only thing possible here is
to call the student’s attention again to the necessity of hav­
ing a fine musical background if he wishes to succeed as a
To those with a fine background of musical experience,
dynamic marks, i.e., the comparative loudness and softness of
tones, will present no great problem.
The one danger is that
heretofore the student may have relied upon his teacher to
decipher any but the most common markings while now, as a con­
ductor, he becomes the teacher and must assume this added res­
The most common Italian terms referring to dy­
namics are given here, but the student is also advised to pro­
vide himself with a handbook on musical terms which will give
him the less common terms as needed.
Wagner, oj>. cit.. pp. 18-19.
Gehrkens, op. cit.: also K. W. Gehrkens, Music Notation
and Terminology. New York: A. S. Barnes Company,
1918 .
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Terms Referring to One Degree of Power
Pianissimo (pp) — very softly
Plano (p) — softly
Mezzo (half) piano (mp) — medium softly
Mezzo forte (mf) -- medium loudly
Porte (f) — loudly
Fortissimo (ff) — very loudly
The usual way to indicate such mark3 of expression is
to use a long beat far from the body for ff and a short beat
close to the body for pp*
The palm and fist of the left hand
will come into use only at the start of each new dynamic change
or as a warning to sections that they are not satisfactorily
executing the dynamic markings.
Terms Referring to Fluctuations in Power
piu piano — more softly
piu forte — more loudly
forte-piano (fp) — loudly followed at once by softly
Indicate fp by a vigorous, rapid beat, with a corres­
pondingly longer time spent at the end of the beat, followed
by a short beat,
gFZ — accent or stress the note or chord
so marked.
Executed like the fp except that the following beat
may not be P,
crescendo (cresc.) —
gradually becoming louder.
Increase the length of the beat.
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diminuendo (dim.)
descresando (decres.)
gradually becoming softer.
Decrease the length of the beat.
crescendo poco a poco —
crescendo subito —
crescendo little by little.
becoming louder suddenly.
crescendo e diminuendo (cresc. e dim.) -gradually louder, then gradually softer.
It is extremely important to understand that dynamic
markings are only relative in their meaning.
loudly, but what is loudly?
Forte means
For the mature performer or en­
semble it means one gradation of tone; for the immature it
means another.
An accent coming in a pianissimo passage
means an entirely different thing than it does when appearing
In a forte passage.
A crescendo from an f to ff sounds far
different than does a crescendo from PP to P.
The conception
of an fp held by a placid type of high school performer will
vary greatly from that conceived by his conductor unless he
is also a jfacid type.
One’s conception of crescendo and
diminuendo may be entirely changed by hearing such a number
as Ravel’s Bolero played by a fine orchestra, under a fine con­
ductor, for this number is one long crescendo followed by a
long diminuendo.
Such are the experiences which finally pro­
duce sound musicianship.
The dynamic mark ings in ensemble music are rarely cor­
The usual thing to do is mark P straight down the score
when as a matter of fact one part may actually need to be
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played IP or mf in order to maintain the musical sense of the
Melody parts must be slightly louder than the
supporting parts and must, therefore, be played louder or the
other parts must be played softer but dynamic markings in the
score rarely indicate this.
Experienced orchestral players
on solo instruments such as the oboe, clarinet, or flute,
usually play solo passages one degree louder than marked.
choir in which the mens’ voices are far more powerful than the
womens’ voices must understand that FF is a very relative term,
the execution of which will always be governed by good taste
as evidenced by balance and blend.
Speaking of the correct execution of dynamics, Carse
Two things require attention when making a crescendo:
first, how long is it to last; and, second, how far
the increase of tone is to be carried.
The same care should be exercised in regulating the
decrease of tone in a diminuendo.
Failure to keep the tone-gradation at one level for a
more or less prolonged period is a not uncommon fault.
This is especially liable to occur when the music is
to be kept 3cf t for some time. A tendency to allow
FP to become P or MP will often have to be checked.
To hold the tone evenly for the entire duration of
a long loud note requires some effort on the part
of the players; they are liable to put all the force
into the beginning of the note, and then let it drop.
The brass plyers, especially, are prone to play in
this explosive manner.
On the other hand, a really explosive effect is re­
quired when a note is marked FP; this should be a sud­
den drop in the tone, not a gradual decrease.^
A. Carse, Orchestral C endue ting.
1929, p. 3fe'.
London: Augener, Ltd.,
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Music is made up of short sections, phrases, of vary­
ing length which are somewhat complete in themselves hut com­
bine to make an intelligible whole.
Phrases in music may be
compared to phrases in a literary composition.
When reading
such a composition the rise and fall of the voice will Indi­
cate punctuation marks which divide a sentence into parts.
this the meaning of the entire sentence is made clear and a
mistake in the placement of one comma may change the meaning
of the entire sentence.
Phrasing in music must be similarly
The conductor has pretty complete control inthis
mechanical part of phrasing since he can indicate the proper
ending of phrases by a slight cessation of the beat, just
enough to indicate a breathing place, without actually hold­
ing up the continuous flow of the music.
The finer art of
phrasing, the treatment of each note within the phrase in the
light of its importance, is another matter, and specific direc­
tions for its accomplishment cannot be successfully undertaken
in such a book as this.
The phrases in vocal music can easily be recognized by
a close study of the text.
The words should be read aloud
several times until the conductor is certain of the meaning
which the composer wishes to convey, then slight pauses should
be made which will make this meaning clear.
The common mis1
takes in phrasing made by choral groups, as given by Gehrkens,
K.W. Gehrkens, Essentials in Conducting, p. 68.
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are all directly traceable to an ignorance of the real mean­
ing of the text:
Taking breath unnecessarily in the middle of a
Breathing between syllables of a word.
Dividing a long phrase improperly,
Running over breathing places when a pause is
really necessary in order to bring out the mean­
ing of the text,
Pronouncing the unaccented syllable of a word at
the end of a phrase with too much stress,
Failing to stress the climax sufficiently.
The baid and orchestra conductor must depend entirely
upon his musical judgment to discover the proper endings of
Once these have been decided upon, markings should
be placed in each part, indicating where breath should be
taken or slight pauses made.
If the conductor leaves this to
the judgment of his immature players, then he does not retain
control ever the mechanical part of phrasing heretofore claimed
for him.
It is significant that conductors of mahy fine sym­
phony orchestras take the time to go over every single part
to see that all phrases are marked as well as checking all
dynamic marks, bowing, etc.
If such painstaking care is neces­
sary in conducting fine professional groups, the school conduc­
tor would hardly be justified in doing less.
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Find a piece of music which has no tempo indication. Have
several members of the class study it and then set the
tempo which each feels to be appropriate. Check each
tempo with a metronome so as to record the exact variance
between each.
Set the metronome at any speed and have the class guess
the tempo being heard, giving the exact numerical speech
such as 84, 72, etc. Check each answer carefully for
exactness in tempo and in the use of markings found on
the metronome.
Designate various metronome markings and have individual
members set the correct tempo. Have the student count
aloud and then set the metronome in motion at the tempo
given in order to show up agreement or disagreement.
Write the first sentence of America on the board with­
out any punctuation marks. Have the class put in the
marks tfich bring out the real meaning of the sentence
without referring to any written version. Do the same
for other songs long sung by memory and notice how often
these have been sung with no idea of the meaning of the
References for Further
H. Cain, Choral Music and Its Practice.
Sons, 1932. tfhapter Xii.
M. Witmark and
H. Coward, Choral Technique and Interpretation.
Novello and Company, £Fd*
W. Earhart, The Eloquent Baton.
Sans, 19317 Chapters
W. J. Finn, The Art of the Choral Conductor. Boston: C.C.
Birchard and Company, 1SS9. Chapters 1 and XII.
K. W. Gehrkens, Essentials in Conducting. Boston: Oliver
D it son Company, 1919. Chapters T C T l l .
H. P. Greene, Inte rpretat ion in Song. London: Macmillan
and Company , Ltd., l93l. Chapters VI, VII*
Hew York: M. Witmark and
Reproduced with permission o f the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
A. Stoessel.The Technic of the Baton.
Fisher, inc., 1920, TJEapter V.
New York: Carl
R. Wagner, On Conducting.
F. Weingartner, to Conducting. New York: E. F. Kalmus
Orchestra Scores, inc., 1905.
London: William Reeves, 1919.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Many high, school students become very proficient in
the correct use of the baton, being very able to lead a group
through quite intricate numbers.
When, however, they are
confronted with a full orchestral or band score, most of them
are unable to use it to advantage.
It is at this point that
the well-prepared teacher begins to show the superiority of
his knowledge over that of his students because score reading
is a specialized ability which is acquired only through prac­
Van Bodegrsven states:
Learning to use a score efficiently is a great
deal like learning to sight-read fluently. Pro­
fessional musicians can perform astounding feats
of reading, but this ability Is not heaven-sent.
It is the result of hours and years of practice in
reading. The ability to read scores is likewise
the result of hours of practice and study. Just
as our players progress from such simple tunes as
are found in the "Transition Band Book" to such
numbers as the "Tannhauser" overture, so must the
conductor develop his ability.1
Many of our school conductors are unable to use a full
score, and are so unwilling to learn that publishers rarely
think it necessary to print a full score when publishing a
Paul Van Bodegraven, The Lost Chord. Educational Music
Magazine, XVI (September, October, 1936), p. 7.
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number meant primarily for school use*
When they do so, it
often turns out to be a losing venture as witness the exper­
ience of one publisher^ who sold 650 copies of a band number
but only 75 full scores for the same*
Five hundred seventy-
five conductors chose to use a condensed score even when full
score was available.
in the number
There has been an encouraging increase
of full band and orchestra scores available
for school numbers within the past few years, a trend which
may be expected to continue if conductors use full scores and
refuse to use numbers for which they are not provided.
the meantime, the young conductor is confronted with the neces­
sity of learning to use a conglomerate mixture of incomplete,
half-complete, and complete conductor's parts and to teach his
groups thoroughly in spite of such handicaps.
The Choral Scores
The student who has studied Chapter I, using the sug­
gested songs, has already had experience in reading one of
the vocal scores*
Songs were used to illustrate the different
technical problems of baton technique because they represent
the easiest type of score to read.
The most common vocal
scores which the young high school teacher will be called on
to read are those for two and three-part female voices, two-,
three-, and four-part male voices, and two-, three- and four-
Van Bodegraven, op, cit *■
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part mixed chorus.
The following four-part mixed chorus score
will illustrate the few problems which demand attention:
IV ia e & u u a u c< u i t i
“Wake, 0
Wa - chet
wake!” the
watch is
ru ft
u n s d ie
S tim
wake!” the
a tif!
A lto
“Wake, 0
Wa - ch e t
watch is
ru ft
u n s d ie
S tim
wake!” the
watch is
S tim
a u f!
T en o r
“Wake, 0
Wa - chet
a u f!
ru ft
u n s d ie
wake!” the
watch is
u n s d ie
S tim
“Wake, 0
Wa - ch e t
a u f!
ru ft
All tenor parts written in treble clef are sung an
octave lower than indicated in the score.
In order to be
absolutely correct in the writing of tenor parts, which when
written in the bass clef entail the use of many ledger lines,
some composers use the following clef sign:
or a variant, which indicates that middle C is represented
by the line or space where the two short lines join the main
vertical line.
When being used for the tenor voice,middle G
is placed on the third space and can be read exactly like
treble clef except an octave- lower.
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The placing of each voice on a separate staff some­
times causes difficulty when the voice parts must be played,
especially when the accompaniment does not contain each voice
A little practice in reading these open scores will
soon make them easy to read but if in the meantime, a rehearsal
must be conducted from such a score, the conductor may re-write
the number in the style used in hymn books and song collec­
The first bar of the above song would then look like
. ,, Maestoso e marcato
" r ~J~ ~J' I J. J I J J i J
I '
i |
J' T i J 7 n
When inexperienced students accompanists must be used,
it will be especially helpful to use the above procedure.
Before the more complicated tasks of reading band and
orchestra scores can be taken up, the student must be intro­
duced to one of the most provocative problems of music nota­
tion, that of the use of transposing instruments.
Rarely is
this problem presented to a music student for the first time
without his immediately offering many suggestions for a re­
vision of the practice.
The reasons for using transposing
instruments are not as important to us here as is the fact
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that they are used and will probably continue to be used for
many more years so the students will be wise to first under­
stand the present usage before spending much time and energy
in mapping out simplifications.
There are many so-called short cuts and simplified
methods of mastering the problem of transposition.
There are
also many convenient "charts” which will reveal immediately
in what key the cornet is playing when the violin is playing
in the key of A, etc.
Sooner or later all these makeshift
methods lead into difficulties and after much wasted effort,
the conductor must finally conclude that the only safe way to
solve the problem of transposition is to understand the basic
principles on which it works and then practice solving prob­
lems until there is no longer a problem.
A transposing instrument is one which plays one note
but sounds a pitch higher or lower than the one played.
describes the procedure as follows:
For purposes of illustration, suppose that at the
end of a long vacation, you return to find that
your piano has gone below pitch; so much so that
when you strike middle C you get
, a whole
step lower. You play a song written in 0, it
sounds ax if written in B& . Your piano has be­
come a transposing instrument. It is in Bb . Be­
cause of this, if you really want your song to sound
in C, you must play it a whole step higher than that —
that is the key of D, To avoid the difficulty of read­
ing from a copy in C and transposing it up a whole
step, 83 you go, you will prefer a copy printed in D
which can be played as written and your piano (now in
BP ) will do the transposing itself.1
A. E. Heacox, Project Lessons in Orchestration.
Oliver Ditson Company, 1928, p‘. 79,
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The first principle of transposition, then, is that
the written notation and the actual pitch sounded differ by
varying degrees.
The conductor must first be able to tell
what actual pitch is indicated by notation written for a trans­
posing instrument.
In order to do this, it must be made clear
which instruments transpose and which do not.
The ones found
in the usual -school organizations follow.
Non-Transposing Instruments
trombone - bass clef
baritone - bass clef
Transposing Instruments
string bass
D flute
all clarinets
all saxophones
English horn
all cornets
all horns
baritone— treble
With one exception, all instruments which play in the
bass clef are non-transposing.
The string bass is uhe excep­
tion and the transposition is very simple, the pitch sounded
being an octave below the note played, i. e.
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The pitch names of all instruments should he memorized
since this is an important cue in solving the transposition.
All instruments playing in treble clef and pitched in G such
as the C flute and oboe, are non-transposing.
An instrument
is named after the actual pitch sounded when C is played.
cornet becomes a
c o m e t because when C is played the actual
pitch sounded is Bb ,
The problem then is to detdrmine whether
the pitch sounded is above or below the C being played.
The following chart of instruments reading in the treble
clef shows this clearly and must be thoroughly memorized.
instruments which, when playing C, produce a higher pitch, are
above the line and those which produce a lower pitch are be­
low the line.
It will be noticed that only three instruments
sound hi^ier pitches and two of these, the
flute and the E b
clarinet, are not commonly used.
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Interval sounded
below or above
Actual pitch
B 7 Piccolo
Octave and minor
E b Clarinet
Minor third
D b Piute
Minor second
B b Clarinet, cornet (trum­
pet ), soprano saxophone
Major second
A Comet, clarinet
Minor third
P Horn, English Horn
Perfect fifth
E b Horn, Alto clarinet,
alto saxophone
Major sixth
B h tenor saxophone,
baritone, bass clarinet
Octave and major
E b baritone saxophone
Octave and major
To further illustrate how this works, the first note
in the following examples indicate the note played and the
second the pitch sounded;
PiCC e W o
rkK\iin£ r.
C.KA-I2 1 / v E T E l Z
•& o
NS-WjH tW<?N
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The pitch names of the common non-transposing instru­
ments reading in bass clef ares
baritone, trombone
E* tuba
tuba (usually called the double B)
A great deal of confusion often results when the con­
ductor asks a player of a transposing instrument to play a
given note.
When the conductor tells the B * comet player
to play B^ he will do as he is told and the resultant pitch
will be Ak •
If the conductor had wanted the player to ac­
tually sound
he should have said, "Play concert B^,n
referring to the actual pitch to be sounded, always preface
the pitch with the adjective concert, concert G, A, F, etc.
Very young players will not under stand the problem involved
and the conductor must name the note to be played.
if the conductor wants the pitch, of
direct the
to be sounded, he must
cornets to play C, the P horns F, the D ^ piccolo
A, etc.
This leads us to another problem which is t^erely an
inversion of the one already solved and is illustrated in
the last two sentences of the statement by Heacox.
We have
dealt with the problem of determining the actual pitch sounded
when a transposing instrument is playing a part written for
that particular instrument.
In almost all cases the actual
pitch sounded was found to be below the note written in the
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partj which means that it was necessary to write the part to
he played above the actual pitches desired.
A B^ cornet sounds
a pitch a major second below the note indicated in the score.
Therefore, the part must be written a major second above the
pitch to be sounded.
In giving directions it is necessary to
name the note which, when played, will yield the actual pitch
The chart previously given can now be used by re­
ferring to the intervals sounded below or above the note
The instruments which sounded below or above the note
The instruments which sound a major second below the
note played, must be told to play a major second above the
pitch desired.
The P horn must plgy a perfect fifth above, the
D^piccolo an octave and a minor second below, etc.
to obtain concert B^, the band tuning note, the
In order
cornet must
play 0, the P horn P, the piccolo A.
The problem of transposition is often quite confusing
to the young student at first, but until a ready facility is
developed in (1) naming the actual pitch Indicated by a part
written for a transposing instrument, and (2) naming the note
which a transposing instrument must play in order to get a
specified concert pitch, the actual problem of reading the
score and understanding it can hardly be undertaken with
full success.
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The Orchestra Scores
The high school orchestral conductor must learn to
lead his group reading from a first violin part, a pianoconductor part, or a full score.
These will be treated in
the order named.
The first violin part shown on the next page is very
easy to read and as far as the reading goe3, involves few
The problem created by it is the lack of any de­
finite knowledge of what the rest of the orchestral members
are supposed to be doing.
The only way to obtain this knowledge
is to study every part separately and then remember the most
important features of each part, possibly indicating such
parts by adding notes in the first violin part,
expressed his opinion of conducting from the first violin part
as follows:
"...Habeneck of Paris, as Berling tells us, con­
ducted not from the score but from a violin part, a custom to­
day confined to beer-garden concerts with their waltzes and
The first violin part indicates what instrument is
playing the melody.
When it is in the first violin, it does
not indicate what other instruments are also playing it.
the melody is
not in the first violin, an extra staff is often
added above the violin part showing the concert pitches of the
P. Weingartner, On Conducting, New York: E. F, KaInnas Or­
chestra Scores, Inc,, p. 7.
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A F irst Violin Part to Be Used by the Conductor
C la r. H o rn .
a te m p o .
9 * **cresc. m o t t o .
F I.C la r .
f r f ^
•* *r 4
( I m
»». >
- ■■
-------- i H
--- i— # ------ r - f -^-| --- 1
-- 0----r - «TT_ 1
«. r 4. r
. !
■ /
i= £
t-S-S---- C
* .» r
A £
r" T"
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
melody and Indicating what Instrument is playing it.
such a melody Is being played by a transposing instrument,
the conductor must make the necessary adjustments between the
written notes and the concert pitches.
When the first violin
has nothing to play, there are often small cued notes written
around the rests to indicate a small part of what is going on
in other sections of the orchestra.
We may conclude, therefore, that while the first vio­
lin part is easy to read, it is very difficult to conduct from
and should never be used when a more complete score is avail­
When it must be nsed, all orchestral parts must be
studied before the rehearsal and a memorandum made of their
most important features.
There may be times when the con2
ductor would be willing to make a full score for himself, but
because of the tremendous amount of time required, this can
hardly be ux-’ged on the young conductor as a common practice
to be followed with all numbers*
The piano-conductor part is slightly more valuable to
the conductor than is the first violin part because it shows
the harmony as well as the melody and gives a more complete
idea of everything that is going on in all parts of the or­
It goes without saying that it is still far from
satisfactory as a real guide for the conductor.
The notation
Glenn H. Woods, School Orchestras and Bands. Boston:
Oliver Bitson Company^ Chapter 5£vI, wHow to Make a
Conductor’s Part."
Ibid.. Chapter XIV, "How to Assemble an Orchestra Score."
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gives concert pitches and the conductor must make the neces­
sary changes when speaking to players of transposig instru­
ment s •
As when using the first violin part, all parts included
in the orchestration must be studied separately and notations
of important features added to the Piano-Conductor part.
Now we come to the full score itself, the only score
which is really satisfactory in all respects.
It is diffi­
cult to follow at first but from it the conductor may obtain
a complete picture of what to expect from every instrument in
the orchestra so that the actual job of rehearsing is greatly
It is unfortunate that so few full scores are
available for the easier numbers played by immature high school
groups because the less capable the player the more help he
will need from the conductor and the conductor is in no posi­
tion to offer such help when he is ignorant of exactly what is
Examination of a few full orchestral scores will show
that all are made according to the same plan.
The wood-wind
family is on top, followed by the horns, then the brass family,
the percussion, the strings,
is only rarely supplied.
and finally the piano part which
The instruments in each family are
listed according to pitch from high to low.
When each family
of Instruments is not Indicated by brackets, it is helpful to
supply them as follows:
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A Plano-Conductor Score
V iv a c e
Strings (stacc.)
Vivace (J-
C 9 6
FIs, Ob.
i— j
& W.W.
Horns, Trbs
i ij- j ,
2 nd V iol., V i o l a
gji-j j- T
y -y-
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The Pull Orchestral Score
VI 2
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/ flute
) oboe
} clarinet
i bassoon
i trumpets
< tuba
: 1st violin
2nd violin
) cello
^ string bass
The student must memorize the order in which the
families of instruments are listed and also the place given
to each instrument within its family.
The viola plays in. alto clef
i;F : piIr7^ d--- —
Q g ~ -- . tl
which places middle C on the third line.
The tenor clef
fourth line.
c -■-— ? places middle C on the
It is used in the cello and trombone parts when
the pitches run so high as to necessitate the use of many
ledger lines in the bass clef.
As to using the score, Carse
The glance occasionally given to the score while
conducting should be comprehensive enough to cover
A. Carse, Orchestral Conducting. p. 38,
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the whole page, so as to take in its main
features; if, as beginners are apt to do, a single
stave— perhaps the first violin part— is closely
followed with the idea of not "losing one’s place,"
the main features of the orchestration may be
missed, or they may only be grasped by the conduc­
tor when he hears them, instead of being already in
his mind when they are approaching.
Miniature scores will often list all of the instru­
ments to be used in a movement of a symphony on the first page
and then reduce the staves on the following page to the actual
number needed for the instruments having parts to play on that
page, later adding staves as the other instruments are called
into use.
This practice saves a lot of space but can result
in a great deal of confusion if the conductor is not alert,
A complete understanding of "bowing" signs is neces1
sary in order to properly teach the inexperienced player.
The Band Scores
The band conductor is supplied with a solo cornet
part, a condensed score, or a full score.
A very brief and lucid description of such "bowing" signs
will be found in: A. E. Heacosx, Project Lessons in
Orchestrat ion, Chapter 9.
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The Solo Cornet Part
Solo JBb t'omet (Conductor)
_ _ _
rF.. uO..G
u nRiIF
r rFnE. N
J,. J v J J + J
-y-J ^
w . w . 8va dow n
i n
For years this was the only part published for the
conductor and the conductor will find that many numbers he
wishes to play have no other conductor's part.
As with the
first violin part, this is easy to read but difficult to con­
duct from.
It is a hold over from the brass military band in
which the cornet almost always carried the lead.
The solo cornet part shows where the melody is, cues
in some of the important baritone, trombone and bass counter­
melodies, and gives an occasional important bass drum beat or
cymbal crash.
A great deal is condensed on a single staff but
much more is omitted than is shown.
All parts shown are in
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cornet key and therefore represent pitches sounding a
major second lower,
When speaking to players of non-transposing
instruments, this must be taken into consideration.
The Condensed Score
Joseph Skomicka
Maestoso rubato
W. W . (S a x .,Bass
k A.Cl.)Bssn.
Tr o m .
Tim p.,Drs
H a s .,Cor <
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There are a variety of condensed scores being pub­
lished, all of which are more satisfactory than the solo cor­
net part and none of which will satisfy the demands of the
conscientious conductor who wants as complete information about
his ensemble as is given the symphonic orchestral conductor.
Most condensed scores are written on two, three, or
four staves and indicate haimonies as well as melodies.
lead parts are well indicated but this is not true of the
lower parts where players usually heed the most help.
The con­
ductor will find it necessary to study all parts separately and
then make notations about them in the condensed score.
Condensed scores are all written in concert pitch and
necessary transposition changes must be made when speaking to
players of transposing instruments.
Pull scores for band music, especially the easier
numbers, are still all too infrequently published.
This is
unfortunate because it is the only type of score from which
the conductor may teach intelligently.
The student who has learned to read the full orchestral
score will have no trouble with the full band score.
families of instruments are listed in the following order:
wood-winds, saxophones, brasses, percussion
The placing within the families is not strictly ac­
cording to pitch:
Wood-wind Order
^ 4 /■* rt ^
X O.V/ V/
J. J.U U O f
a a
« "ITw* « H
a v >w
iX V i-
c ^ o **
| Hi
clarinet, B b clarinet.
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The Pull Band Score
Dl» P ic c o lo
F lu te s
O boes
C la r in e t s
A lt o C la r .
B a ? > o cr.
E> A lt o
Bb T e n o r x
B!> B a ^
B? C c rn e tj
Bs T ru m p e t
Et» H o r n
T ro m b o m
E u p h o n iu m
Tym pan
Drum s-Cymb.
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Saxophone Order
Soprano, E ^ alto, tenor, baritone, bass
Brass Order
Cornets, trumpets, trombones, baritone, tubas,
(string bass)•
Percussion Order
Snare drum and triangle, bass drum and cymbals, tympani.
It is some help to the eye to bracket each family of
instruments plainly if the score is not printed in such a
Practicing Score Reading
Learning to read a full score fluently requires several
years of systematic practice*
It is advisable to start on
scores which contain only a few parts and then gradually add
more complicated problems,
suggests starting
with string trios, then proceeding to string quartets, string
quintets or quartets with one transposing instrument like the
3 ^clarinet, string sextets or septets with additional trans­
posing instruments, and then small orchestra scores such as
those of Mozart, Haydn and the first period Beethoven,
Another authority begins with the simple choral scores
and gradually works into the smaller scores using transposing
V. Bakaleinikoff, Elementary Rules of Conducting, p. 16,
M, Bernstein, Score headingV
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Scores are always read from top to bottom*
The en­
semble literature for string and winds instruments has been
greatly expanded in recent years and the scores of such en­
sembles, using, as they do, small groups of transposing instru­
makes very valuable practice material.
If no small ensemble material is available for prac­
tice, the student may start in at once reading from the full
score but concentrating his entire attention on reading only
one family of instruments at a time, preferably beginning
with the string family.
For full score reading, the miniature score is the
most practical because of the cost.*
Preparing a Score for Rehearsal
The young conductor should never attempt to conduct a
rehearsal from full score until he has studied the score so
thoroughly that its essential details are memorized.
As an aid tc the eye which must cover so much at a
glance, many conductors use colored pencils to mafck important
entrances, melodies, counter-melodies, particularly important
dynamic markings, etc.
A red pencil might be used for en­
trances, a blue for melody or any scheme which the conductor
Too many marks will, however, defeat their own pur-
Especially those published by Harcourt, Brace and Company
of New York.
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pose since they will cease to stand out.
that the conductor should have the smallest features of the
score so well in mind that it is unnecessary to use marks of
any sort.
Most full scores will have markings such as jA t , (Bj ,
or JL
at different intervals so as to facilitate find­
ing the place when stops in rehearsal are necessary.
markings should be added to scores which do not have them and
to all the individual parts of the ensemble, keeping the mark­
ings close together so that it will never be necessary to
"count back" 20 measures from
I Cj
It is often con­
venient to number every measure in both score and parts, a
great time-saving device.
Practicd playing the voice parts of choral scores in which
each voice is on a separate staff, especially the fourpart type in which the t m o r is written in treble clef.
Practice reading string trios and quartets at the piano.
Practice playing from the full score at the piano, start­
ing with the flute and oboe parts and then gradually add­
ing transposing parts.
Take a cornet, horn, and alto saxophone part and read off
the concert pitches represented by the notation.
Using a first violin part in which a clarinet solo is
cued, read off the notes which the clarinetist is reading.
Do the same thing for the trombones and brasses, reading
from a solo cornet part._
0 £.
cit., p. 10.
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Study a full band and orchestra score so thoroughly that
all important cues can be given by memory.
Have a violinist demonstrate all types of bowing, pizzi­
cato, and consordino.
Bibliography for Further Study
M. Bernstein, Score Reading.
Sons, 1932.
A. C. Boult , __
The Technique of Conducting.
iter, Ltd., Section *7".
the Printer
Hans Gal, Score Reading.
Verlag 'A.G., 1924.
K. W. Gehrkens, Essentials in Conducting. Boston: Oliver
Ditson Company, 1919, Chapter Xl, Appendix B.
A. E. Heacox, Project Lessons in Orche st rat ion.
Oliver Ditson Company, 1928, Lessons 9, 39.
Miniature Scores edited by Albert E. Wier and published
by Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York.
H. Scherchen, Handbook of Conducting. London: Oxford
University Press, 1933, pp. 36-150.
A Stoessel, The Technic of the Baton. New York: Carl
Fischer, i!nc., 1920,*^Jhapter vi#
P. Van Bodegraven, The Lost Chord. Educational Music
Magazine. XVI (September, October, 1936), p. 7.
New York: M. Witmark and
Oxford: Hall
Vienna: Weiner Philharmonischer
G. H. Woods, School Orchestras and Bands. Boston: Oliver
Ditson Company, 1919, Chapters 14, 15, 16.
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There are a hundred and one details which must be
carefully thought out before the actual rehearsal can begin,
A first rehearsal, like a first impression, should attempt
to create a favorable reaction.
Rehearsals which move
smoothly toward their objective from beginning to end are not
a matter of chance; they are the result of hours of careful
In many schools, the rehearsal of a music group Is
attended by a bustle and confusion that would hardly be
tolerated in any other department of the school.
The playing
and singing of such groups is usually just as careless and
slipshod as in the preliminary planning.
The school music
conductor must be an organizer, a teacher, and a conductor.
At no time does his ability as an organizer make itself more
manifest than it does in carefully thinking through all of the
details preliminary to the rehearsal.
Such details will vary In different situations and the
solution of the problems created must be left to the individual
ingenuity of the conductor.
The young teacher may get some
very valuable advice from his principal who should know con­
ditions most thoroughly.
The discussion which follows covers
much of the very important pre-rehearsal planning and will serve
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to stimulate the young conductor to discover other items of
major or minor importance to his own school.
Selecting the Personnel
Selecting the personnel of the instrumental organiza­
tions will hardly create a problem, since the normal procedure
is to include everyone who can play, at least for the first
few rehearsals.
The unbalanced instrumentation which results
may be corrected at least partially by shifting players to dif­
ferent instruments but this will be done after the first re­
One thing which should be done before the first re­
hearsal, if possible, and often it is not, is to hear each
player individually.
In small schools where there are few
players, this is easy to do.
It is necessary to know the in­
dividual ability of each player in order to select the proper
music for the first rehearsal.
The exact number of players
available and the instrument each plays must be known in order
to make up music folios and decide on a seating arrangement.
Selecting the personnel of the vocal groups is a prob­
lem which must be thought through very carefully.
In many
schools, the practice is to have both selective and nonselective vocal groups.
There may be a large chorus in which
anyone may sing, regardless of ability, and small groups into
which only the best voices in the school are admitted.
a plan Is highly commendable because it gives everyone the
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opportunity to sing and also provides special opportunities
for the most talented and experienced students*
Before voice tests are given, the conductor must de­
cide what he will do with the unchanged and changing hoys'
voices, of which there will still be quite a number in the
senior high school.
These boys are usually permitted to sing
in the non-selective chorus of mixed voices, while the selec­
tive groups are made up entirely of changed voices, although
many conductors also use them in these groups.
When assign­
ing such voices to parts, a good plan to follow is to place
them where they can sing easily and direct them to omit any
tones which seem difficult.
The voice which has started to
drop may be assigned to the regular tenor part singing in
the range of the changed tenor.
Some practice is required to
get the boys to sing an octave below the written part since
they have been accustomed to singing soprano parts.
These "boy
tenors" must use their normal light head tones adding to the
total effect of the tenors in quality of tone rather than in
If such voices are used stridently, rough chest
tones will result and this quality will not blend with the
regular tenor quality.
Unchanged and changing voices used in
a mixed chorus should not be detected by the listener.
less to say, such voices must be tested frequently and the
possessors of them must be encouraged to seek a test when the
range of the part they are singing becomes uncomfortable.
The voice test for members of the non-selective choral
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ensemble will need to determine range and quality so that the
singer may he assigned to the proper part.
The quality,
rather than the range, is the determining factor.
A simple
method of determining quality and range is to have the candi­
date sing down the scale using "Hah” or ”Noh.H
Always start
in the upper register, on a comfortable note, and vocalize
The tryouts of candidates for the selective groups
must be much more thorough and complete.
This is the group
which is expected to do the highest quality of work and im­
proper selection of the personnel will defeat this purpose
even before a single rehearsal is held.
The tester must at­
tempt to put each candidate at his ease so that he will be
able to do his best.
A short conversation before starting to
sing will do much to create a friendly atmosphere and will
also give the tester a chance to hear the speaking voice of
the candidate, which will give a hint as to the quality of the
voice and indicate the approximate pitch on which the test
should begin.
A most convenient way to keep a record of test3
have some 4 x 6
is to
cards printed with proper places for recording
all information desired.
On this card should be included:
name, age, class in school, previous experience in any field
For a sample see: T. P. Giddings and E. L. Baker, High
School Music Teaching. Appleton, Wisconsin: E. L.
Baker, 1928,' p. 82.
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of music, range, quality, power, diction, intonation, read­
ing ability —
if a test in sight-reading is given —
and the date*
The candidate may be given a numerical rating
of 1
(excellent) to 4 (poor) in each.
Provision should be
to have enough space for several grades so that if a can­
didate is given a second or third t®st, the date of each can
be recorded and the
The test of
grades compared.
these candidates can start with a familiar
song with piano accompaniment, the candidate choosing the song*
This song should then be repeated without accompaniment to see
whether the singer can maintain the proper pitch from beginning
to end.
Next, the tester should strike a series of unrelated
tones, asking the candidate to sing the tone immediately upon
hearing it as a test for quick reaction to pitch.
Range can
be determined by downward scale vocalization as already des­
cribed or by changing the pitch of the song sung until both
bottom and top limits have been discovered.
Whether or not a reading test will be given depends
upon the importance attached to such a test by the conductor
and the musical background of the students who come to the
senior high school.
Such a test is obviously a waste of time
when there has been little or no music reading in the schools
below the senior high school.
When the tests have been completed and all information
about each candidate has been obtained, the conductor is ready
to choose the personnel of the group.
He must then consider
the following factors:
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Tone quality.
hlend with other voices?
Is the quality such that it will
If the quality has defects, can these
defects be easily eliminated by proper coaching?
The voice which is consistently be­
low pitch should not be considered.
Those which strike a tone
on pitch but sing an occasional out-of-time interval can
usually be improved by interval drill.
Since a few singers
with poor intonation can pull down the entire ensemble and
since correct intonation is the first requisite of good sing­
ing, the conductor can hardly be too severe in his demands for
fine intonation from each individual singer.
Musical background.
It is usual to give prefer­
ence to students who have had previous experience in vocal
This is a natural and logical thing to do but there is
an element here which is not usually considered and that is
that when two voices are about equal, the one which has had no
previous training is likely, with training, to develop into a
better voice than the one which has already been trained.
sons with a background of instrumental experience but only fair
voices will add greatly to the ensemble by their leadership
and at least a few in each section may be given preference
over possessors of better voices.
Diction, power, range*
These are important but
can be materially improved by work in the ensemble and need
not, therefore, be given major emphasis when making the final
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Students vrlio are finally selected may be picked
because they do one of two things:
they either add to the
effectiveness of the ensemble, or they do not detract from
the final result.
This is a rather negative way of putting
it, but there will be many times when freshmen and sopho­
mores are added to the ensemble not so much for what they will
add, but because they will do no harm and will be gaining ex­
perience so that the following year they will make a con­
Seniors should be chosen because they can make
a real contribution.
When two voices are about equal and
a choice must be made, the forward-looking conductor will
give preference to the younger candidate.
Experience shows that balance is not
obtained by selecting numerically balanced sections.
basses and ten tenors will not necessarily result in balanced
men’s voices nor will ten sopranos balance ten basses.
As a
general rule the inside voices, that is, the alto and tenor,
can get along with fewer voices than the outer voices, the
soprano and bass.
Since real altos and tenors are a rarity
in the senior high school, this factor is of real importance.
It is also quite possible that the female voices may out­
number the male voices two to one and still maintain an even
Balance, then, will be determined by the actual
power of the voices placed in an ensemble rather than by any
magical numerical formula.
Candidates who are finally selected for membership
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in the ensemble may be placed on probation for a trial period
and should thoroughly understand this so as to avoid disap­
In spite of all the care which may be taken in
tryouts, some voices will be admitted which will not fit into
the ensemble and show other defects as time goes on.
For the
good of the entire ensemble, those voices must be dropped*
It is a good practice to announce a group of al­
ternates for each section.
If any regular member needs to be
dropped for any reason whatever, he can immediately be replaced
by an alternate,
When the teacher is well acquainted with each
candidate, he will want to consider carefully the personality
and temperament of the individual.
An organization must have
a good number of exuberant, enthusiastic members whose force
and vitality will help immeasurably in creating "group spirit,"
so necessary to the successful functioning of any ensemble*
The teacher coming into a new school system for the
first time must decide whether or not to require all old
members of the ensemble to try crut along with new candidates
or whether to admit them without trial.
It is recommended
that a test be required of everyone so that the teacher may
know each voice more intimately, but if such a procedure
seems to cause resentment among the old members, the test
might do more harm than good.
Such seemingly trivial matters
often are of great importance to the high school student and
the sympathetic teacher will sense such a feeling and when
possible compromise between the logical and psychological.
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Selecting the Music
It is impossible to over-omphasize the tremendous im­
portance of the selection of proper music for each ensemble.
The aims of the rehearsal, as presented in the next chapter,
cannot be realized unless proper music has been selected.
job is further complicated by the fact that there is such a
tremendous repertoire of music for choral and instrumental
The following statement, discussing the selection of
band music, pretty well sums up the problem for the choral and
orchestral idioms as well:
Intelligent selection of music for any medium
combs from extensive experience and knowledge of
the whole field. The task is especially diffi­
cult for the band because we must re ly largely
upon transcriptions of orchestra scores; only
recently has there appeared a greater number of
concert compositions written directly for band.
Thus, the bandmaster must know not only the value
of the piece itself but also the relative value of
various band arrangements. The task is further com­
plicated in the school field by the necessity of
choosing suitable material for several grades of
organizations. No one person can be expected to
be familiar with the whole repertoire. Therefore,
the band leader must rely upon the composite ex­
perience and knowledge of others as expressed in
lists released by music teachers* associations and
Evanson lists six points to be used as a basis for
choosing high school vocal material:
G. R. Prescott «nd L. W. Chidester, Getting Result
School Bands, p. 217.
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Suitable text
Really inspired music — variety of moods
A cappella
Right range for each section
Each number fit into a well-balancedprogram
Must include numbers from every great source or
school of choral music, and as many of the
great composers as possible, so the course
serves as a music appreciation course as well.
Cain states:
”1 believe that the greatest success is
had with the high school a cappella chorus when music appeal­
ing to the adolescent mind is used.
It must be colorful,
rich, romantic, and withal climactic,”
Mabelle Glenn gives the points considered in choosing
songs for a girls’ song book:
Is the subject matter of the poem such that
It will appeal to a girl in her early teens?
Has each melody sufficient charm to hold in­
terest on its own account?
Are the harmonies interesting without bringing
any great difficulty to any part?
Is there a well-defined highest point in each
song where there is opportunity for a signnifleant climax?
Does each song offer an opportunity for a wide
range of dynamics?
Is there a good swing? Whether slow or fast,
is there a decided rhythmic pulse?
Is there something of interest from the be­
ginning to the end of each song?
When the melody ceases to be the outstanding
element, is there something else to hold the
interest of the listeners?
Is every selection well proportioned from an
emotional standpoint?,,,,Let us always re-
Jacob Evanson, High School Choral Material, Music Super­
visors Journal, XV (May, 1929), p, 51,
Noble dain, What Kind of Music. Music Supervisors Journal,
XVIII (October, 1931), p. 53,
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member that the wards are tie most important
element in holding interest; therefore, they
must be given every possible advantage in
making the song an experience of beauty*
The importance of selecting music which instrumental
organizations can execute from a technical standpoint is made
clear in the following two statements, the first by Carse,
and the second by Van Bodegraven.
The school orchestra, however rudimentary its
standard, will be a better musical educator for
its members when the tone, ensemble and intona­
tion are good, than when these are bad owing to
totally inadequate technique; these essentially
musical qualities are only possible of attainment
when the music played lies within the range of the
players* executive ability.2
Music which is too difficult for the band will
very qaickly spoil the tone quality unless it is
used sparingly* The player can do only one thing
and that is: play as many noi*es as possible and letthe others go* Such a procedure will result in sloppy
hit-and-miss playing, indefinite attacks and poor
tone* The players must strike each note with con­
fidence to obtain good tone. Don't make the mistake
of believing that a number is not too difficult for
your group just because the first chair players are
performing their parts correctly. Good tone, as well
as other musical elements, depends upon the second
and third parts just as much, or more, as on the
lead parts.3
Glee Club Book for Girls. Boston: Oliver Ditson Company,
1928, as quoted by J1,!. Mursell and M, Glenn, The
Psychology of School Music Teaching. New York:
Silver, Burdett and Company, 19Si,p. 282.
A. Carse, Orchestral Conducting. London: Augener, Ltd.,
1929, p. 28.
P. Van Bodegraven, Organizing a School Band. Lcng Island
Island City, New York: tenzel,MUeller and Company,
1938, p. 50.
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In conclusion, it is safe t o say that all music used
in the public schools should:
Fit the ability of each section of the ensemble,
Hold the interest of the members of the ensemble,
Be conducive to finer technical and musical performance.
Be educational as well a3 entertaining.
Seating Arrangements
When the personnel and instrumentation of the ensemble
is known to the conductor, he can begin work on a temporary
seating arrangement.
This arrangement will vary with each
group according to its size and instrumentation.
The con­
ductor should experiment with various plans until he finds the
one which best suits his group.
Choral groups should be seated in a semi-circle so
that each section can hear the other.
The following plan for
seating the mixed chorus is especially good when the girls
greatly outnumber the boys:
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The following seating plan for a full orchestra can
be modified to suit smaller orchestras if the relative posi­
tion of each instrument is maintained#
In any size orchestra,
the first violins are to the left of the conductor*
*5s,orj j
The seating arrangements for band are quite varied#
general, the trend from the military brass band to the sym­
phonic band has tended to place the reeds in the front part of
the band and the brass in the rear.
The following arrangement
is for a medium sized band in which the reed players outnumber
the brass players.
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The Rehearsal Room.
It is extremely unfortunate that many school adminis­
trators feel the most important consideratin in choosing a re­
hearsal room is that there be adequate floor space to accom­
modate the participants.
They do not seem to realize that when
dealing with sounds, it is of utmost importance to consider
the acoustical qualities of a classroom.
The use of the gym­
nasium as a rehearsal room is a good example of this type of
The use of a small room with bare, hard walls and
no sound absorbing material is another.
The assignment of
music groups to such rooms is particularly unforgivable when
the auditorium is not in use or is being used by some small
group which could work as efficiently in smaller quarters.
Regardless of where the rehearsal room is finally lo­
cated, it is quite important that all music groups which are
to appear in public, be permitted to hold frequent rehearsals
in the auditorium.
Inexperienced players and singers are
easily confused by the differences in the sounds they hear
when changing from one room to another.
The young conductor
will have the same experience and the result can only be a
poor performance.
The description of an Ideal rehearsal room will not
be attempted here,
but the school conductor should at t e s t to
convince his administration that at least the following four
See Bulletin No. 17, Music Roams and Equipment.
Educator s ^ N a t Iona 1 Conference, 1932.
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points be given consideration;
There must be adequate room for all participants
and equipment* This implies that the space will
allow legitimate seating plans to be used*
The acoustical properties of the room must be good.
The conductor must be able to distinguish each sec­
tion and individual at all dynamic levels. There
must be no distortion of sound.
There must be adequate facilities for storing
instruments and music very near to the rehearsal
It is highly desirable to have the rehearsal room
so separated from other classrooms that the music
is not audible to them or soft enough not to be
Time of Rehearsal
The time of rehearsal is usually determined by the
school administration but the music teacher should be able
to offer some important suggestions.
It goe 3 without saying that every effort should be
made to have rehearsals during regular school hours.
often It is possible to have this done for all but one of the
In deciding which group should meet out of school
hours, consideration should be given to the fact that members
of the ensemble in which there is the most interest will prob­
ably attend rehearsals regardless of the time.
Such an ar­
rangement is, however, a compromise and not to be encouraged.
The time of rehearsal during the school day should
also be given consideration.
For obvious reasons, choral
groups will not function well the first period after lunch.
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Many consider the last period in the morning to be best for
choral groups*
The first period of the day is a good time
for instrumental groups since it is often possible to start
the rehearsal before the regular session begins and thus ob­
tain more rehearsal time.
Rehearsals held during the last
period of the day can be extended after the close of school
when necessary.
Schools which have a regular assembly period
often s chedule the instrumental rehearsals the period before
the assembly period so that the instrumental group can be pre­
pared to play as the student body enters.
Student Officer's
Most non-musical details of the rehearsal can be
handled by student officers, leaving the conductor free to
spend his time on the musical details.
ficers each group will have varies.
How many student of­
The officers which play
an important part in pre-rehearsal planning are the stage
managers and librarians.
The Stage Managers
The duty of these officers is to see that all chairs,
racks and other equipment is in place before the rehearsal
is scheduled to begin.
This means that these officers must
be free during the period preceding the rehearsal.
The stage
managers may be elected by members of the ensemble or appointed
by the conductor.
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The Librarians
The librarians place the music in the rehearsal folios
anri distribute these folios to their proper places as soon as
the stage managers have finished their job.
They collect the
music at the close of the rehearsal, take care of issuing music
for home practice, and are in complete charge of the music
They must have a free period before the rehearsal.
Much can be said in favor of appointing rather than electing
the librarians and in some way rewarding them for the tremen­
dous amount of work they are called upon to do.
The easiest way to issue music for home practice is
to place a large card inside each folio bearing the same
number as the folio, on which each student may sign his name
and the date the music is being taken.
This card is then left
on the rack and collected by the librarian.
This card is on
the proper rack at the beginning of the next rehearsal period
and the student signs the date he is returning the music and
places the card back in the folio.
Rules and
Every member of an ensemble should be informed of the
responsibilities he is accepting when entering the group.
When rehearsals are held after or before regular school hours,
it is particularly in^ortant that rules covering attendance
be carefully drawn up.
Groups which appear in public a great
deal will save themselves a JLot of trouble by insisting at the
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outset, that every member of the ensemble must be present
on such occasions*
The list of rules and regulations demanded
in each locality should be printed and sent home to parents
of the participants*
The Accompanist
The conductor of a choral group who is a good pianist
will often act as his own accompanist.
At times, there seems
to be no other solution, but when there is an accompanist
available, the conductor should, under no circumstances, do
his own playing.
The music to be used in the first rehearsal should
be given to the accompanist as long before the rehearsal as
The conductor will then have time to go over the
music with the accompanist, indicating tempos, dynamics, etc.
The accompanist must also be trained to follow a conductor,
to play parts, vocalizations, and when possible, to transpose.
An accompanist can make or break a rehearsal, so the conductor
will want to give a great deal of time and thought to seleeving and training the accompanist.
Do you favor the large non-selective chorus or the smaller
selective group? Why?
Did your high school conductor choose music wisely?
tify your answer.
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Draw up a seating plan for a chorus, band and orchestra
with which you are familiar.
Criticize some rehearsal rooms you have seen.
Do you think students should be permitted to take music
out for home practice? Discuss some of the advantages
and disadvantages*
Draw up a list of rules and regulations for any group
with which you are familiar. Justify each.
Which student officers should be elected?
pointed? Why?
Which ap­
Suggestions for Further Study
J. W. Beattie, 0. McConatby, R. V. Morgan, Music in the
Junior High School. New York: Silver, kurdetlT”and
Company, 1930, pp. 165-169.
N. Cain, Choral Mu 3 lc and Its Practice. New York: M. Witmark & Sons, 1^32. Chapters VI, Vll, VIII, Appendix
I, II.
K. W. Gehrkens, Essentials in Conducting. Boston: Oliver
Ditson C ompany, 1919, pp. 83, 95, 160, 147-151.
M. Glenn, A New Goal In Ensemble Singing. Music Super­
visors Journal. XV (October, 1928), p. 6*7. Sugges­
tions for selection of music.
M. T, Krone and F. M. Wallace, High School Students* In­
terest in Choral Music. Music Educators Journal,
XXI (October, 1934), p. 26.
J. E. Maddy and T. P. Giddings, Instrumental Technique
for Orchestra and Band. Cincinnati: #he Willis Music
Company, 1926, pp. 39-43, 46-47, 10, 13, 63, 6 6 .
G. R. Prescott and L.W. Chidester, Getting Results with
School Bands. New York: Carl Fischer, Inc.. 1938.
flHa pt er's"Y T T , XIV, XVI.
P. Van Bodegraven, Organizing a School Band. Long Island
Cifey: Penzel, Mueller ana Company, 19S&, pp. 45-46.
A. L. Williams, Planning an Instrumental Rehearsal. Music
Supervisors Journal, -XVIII (December, 1931), p. 39.
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The conductor of any musical organization, be it ama­
teur or professional, choral or instrumental, must have a
well-defined set of objectives towards which he is directing
his group.
Successful performances are not a matter of chance;
they are the result of intelligent, long-range planning.
amateur musician often is led to believe that whaahe is play­
ing or singing the correct notes and the correct rhythms he
is functioning satisfactorily.
This is hardly surprising since
so many amateur rehearsals have only these two objectives.
commenting on choral rehearsals which are run in this fashion,
Evanson states:
"At the end of a year the members know a few
songs, learned mostly by rote, but they have no definite train1
They have mastered no fundamental principles."
The fundamental principles which he champions are: the
ability to read music; command of vocal technique (which in­
cludes breathing, development of a flowing tone, quality and
pitch of the tone), good diction, and a correct interpretation.
Prescott and Chidester list twenty-two full band re1.
J. Evanson, Essentials of Better Choral Training. Music
Supervisors Journal. XVII (February, 1931), p. 40.
G. R. Prescott and L, W. Chidester, Getting Results with
School Bands, p. 99.
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hearsal objectives among which are included: logical and ar­
tistic phrasings, accurate intonation, ensemble balance,
sustained alertness and accurate interpretation of the direc­
tor's conducting technique, sight reading, and general music
Hollis Damn
considers the essential factors of good
choral singing to be beautiful tone quality, superior diction,
greatly increased and refined reading power, the emotional
element developed and made vital, perfect attack and release,
observance of dynamics and artistic interpretation.
Since these
constitute good choral singing they must also of necessity be­
come objectives to be actively pursued during each rehearsal
The Adjudicator's Comment Sheet used by the National
School Band, Orchestra and Vocal Association in all festivals
sponsored by them gives a very comprehensive picture of what
school groups are judged on.
The form used for vocal group
lists as major elements: Interpretation and Artistic Effect,
Intonation, Accuracy, Rhythm, Tone, Diction, Presentation, and
Appearance with sub-divisions under each major head.
The in­
strumental form has As its major elements: Tone, Intonation,
Interpretation, Technique, General Effect, Stage Deportment,
and Instrumentation, also with sub-divisions under each.
Essential Factors of Good Choral Singing, Music Educators
Journal. XIII (November-December, 1935), p. 17.
Headquarters at 64 East Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Il­
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These few illustrations make it obvious that the con­
ductor must give some attention to all of the elements which
go to make up a satisfactory musical performance.
Now let
us consider briefly the most important of these elements.
Correct Mechanics
This refers to the technical part of music, such as
playing or singing the correct pitches, giving each pitch the
exact number of beats indicated by the printed page, using cor­
rect bowings, articulations and the like.
The conductor of any
school group will find that a great part of his time must be
spent in attempting to obtain technical accuracy.
Until at
least a reasonable amount of accuracy is attained in this res­
pect, a real musical performance is out of the question.
ever, it must be also understood that a correct technical per­
formance is by no means necessarily a musical one.
Playing or singing in tune is such an important requisite
of good musical performance that it should hardly need empha­
It is certainly true that even the uneducated listener
is able to detect faults in intonation and that no one is
able to enjoy a musical rendition which is consistently out of
The school music conductor must of necessity spend a
great deal of time during each rehearsal period on intonation
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The amateur musician with none too good an ear
and a very uncertain control of his instrument will not play
or sing in tune unless he is continually made conscious of
the need for doing so and also given a great deal of help.
Beautiful tone quality is one of the most satisfying
elements of a good musical performance.
A tone which i3 in
tune will not detract from a performance but if it is to make
a positive contribution it must have quality.
Vfhen an ensemble
starts to produce tones which are in tune and have a satisfy­
ing tone quality then the ensemble is well on the road to
providing a satisfying experience for both participants and
The conductor must consciously and continually strive
to obtain good tone quality from the ensemble.
If this im­
portant element is left to chance, it will never be obtained.
Balance and Blend
An ensemble is a group of musicians playing or singing
The big difference between this and solo performance
is that there are many more parts prewent, some of more import­
ance than others,and that all of these parts must make an in­
telligible whole.
A powerful bass section can ruin a choir
unless the pdwer is cut down to the level of the weaker sec­
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The brass and percussion section of a band can, and
often does, spoil the performance of the band by overpowering
the weaker reed section.
In other words there must be balance
both between sections and within sections so that melodies
are properly supported by the accompanist; so that each note
of a chord is given 'the right amount of volume to make each
note of the chord audible.
Such balance cannot be left to the discretion of im­
mature high school musicians.
they will learn to
When they are properly trained,
listen for these things and will appre­
ciate their importance,
Eut in the initial stages It will be
a survival of the loudest unless the conductor gives the prob­
lem of balance full attention.
The problem of securing blend usually occurs within
a section when one singer or player does not blend in with
the rest of the section.
The effect of the entire section
may be spoiled by one Individual so that the problem of blend­
ing becomss of great importance.
Each member of a section
must be taught to listen to see if he is blending in properly.
This problem is closely related to the one of securing good
tone quality since it is often a flaw in tone quality which
results in poor blend.
Perfect the Ensemble
The conduct or is responsible for making the group under
his direction perform as an-integrated unit.
This means that
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the members of an ensemble must understand the signals used
by the conductor and must be alert to respond to them.
carefully watching the ccnductor and listening keenly, every
member is able to work as part of a coordinated ensemble.
attacks, releases, and tempo changes will be performed exactly
Diet ion
This is a particular problem of the choral group which
many conductors seem to neglect because, as they say, every­
one can speak English and we should sing as we speak.
weird sounds which are the result of this theory should prove
to a discriminating ear that problems of diction are of major
Pure vowel sounds and initial and final conso­
nants are not obtained by chance.
These and other problems
of diction must be attended to conscientiously in every re­
An organization which performs the mechanics of music
correctly, has good intonation and fine tcne quality, main­
tains a perfect balance and blend, and uses excellent dic­
tion, has all the necessary qualifications to produce excel­
lent musical results.
It now requires a conductor who can use
these qualifications to their fullest advantage by giving the
music being studied the finest interpretation possible.
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emphasis here must be on creating, by means of tempo, phras­
ing, and dynamics, the exact emotional reaction required to
make the music live.
Unless this emotional release is ob­
tained, it will be hard to justify the many values claimed
for music in our educational system.
Order of Procedure
It Is difficult to point out one of the above ele­
ments in good musical performance and insist that it must
come before all others but It does seem as though some ele­
ments must be emphasized before others.
Carse writes:
The following is suggested as the order in which
faults should be attacked: first get the tune
right...and so get the body to move roughly to­
gether; then tackle the wrong notes, and so re­
duce the tonality to some sort of order; after that
the wcrst of the faulty intonation might have some
attention... Finally, the light and shade, expres­
sion and a few more delicate adjustments can be
made....It is wasteful to spend much time on re­
finements and subtleties when the general standard
of executive ability is low.^In speaking of the processes which occur in music
reading, Maddy and Giddings suggest as the proper order:
(1) the production of tone; (2) playing in tune; (3) accurate
reading of notes; (4) attention to expression.
In reading
vocal music, the sequence would be tone, time, pitch, words,
A. Carse, Orchestral Conducting. London: Augener, Ltd.,
1929, pp. 28, 29.
J. E. Maddy and T. P. Giddings, Instrumental Technique.
Cincinnati: The Wells Music Company, 1926, p. 7.
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and expression.
It should he noted that both of the above suggestions
refer to working out of a piece of music for the first time
and are not concerned with the long range improvement of the
Bakaleir.ikoff states:
"The existence of music is for
pleasure and bad intonation always gives displeasure even for
the ordinary listener; therefore, intonation must always oc­
cupy first place,"
Lyravine Votaw holds the same belief as is shown in
the following statement:
True intonation is the largest factor in accept­
able choral singingi Without it, the finest tonal
picture, the most perfect interpretation, the purest
vowel formation, the clearest enunciation of conso­
nants, the most skillful baton technic count for
The following statement by Richard Wagner would lead
to the belief that tone control must be acquired before much
real interpretation can be attempted:
Yet tone sustained with equal power is the basis
of all egression, with the voice as with the or­
chestra; the manifold modifications of the power
of tone, which constitute one of the principal ele­
ments of musical expression, rest upon it.®
V. Bakaleinikoff,
Choral Intonation. Music Supervisors Journal. XVII (Oc­
tober, 1931), p. 5o7
On Conducting, p. 32.
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The obvious conclusion to be drawn from these quota­
tions is that consideration nrust be given to the mechanics of
music, note values, pitches, tone, and intonation before much
can be done with interpretation.
It can also be seen how dependent a good musical per­
formance is on all of the elements listed.
Take any one of
them out and the performance becomes unsatisfactory,
A group
which plays in tune but with poor tone may be less irritating
than one which plays out of tune with good tone quality, but
neither group is producing a musical experience.
It Is prob­
ably true that a conductor often enters the rehearsal room de­
termined to emphasize one element above all others but he
will soon find that each element must have some attention if
musical results are to be obtained.
Problems for Discussion
Suggest seme aims for the rehearsal, other than those
listed here,
Would you consider the improvement of reading music to be
a major aim of the rehearsal? Justify your answer,
In your experience with high school groups, which of the
aims listed in this chapter are least satisfactorily
realized? What is the explanation for this?
Do you think the band should have a different standard of
musical performance and therefore a separate set of re­
hearsal aims than the orchestra or choral groups? Why?
Attend a high school concert in which the mixed chorus,
orchestra, and band each appear. Which organization seems
to most fully realize the aims of good musical performance
as set up In this chapter? Is this usually the case?
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Suggestions for Further Study
Read the complete articles or chapters from which refer­
ences in this chapter have been taken.
The bibliography for the following two chapters can be
used for this chapter also.
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Most senior high, schools do not have special voice
Students are admitted directly into one of the
large vocal ensembles without having had any special train­
ing beyond the singing done in the elementary or junior high
school years.
Even such training loses much of its value,
for most of the boys, because their voices have altered so
much that they feel as though they are dealing with a new in­
strument as, indeed, they are*
If a good foundation in music
reading, breath control, diction and other elements of good
3inging has been formed in the pre-senior high school vocal
work, the senior high school conductor is indeed fortunate.
This is so rarely true, however, that the conductor would do
well to plan his work as though starting from scratch and
then make such modifications as seem necessary as the en­
semble progresses.
As has already bee indicated in the preceding chapter,
the type of rehearsal procedure here favored is one which lays
a solid foundation built upon the fundamentals of correct
Such a foundation will assure an ever-increasing
mastery and a higher degree of musical performance will result.
The rehearsal in which no attention is given to fundamentals
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may result in a slightly improved grade of singing just be­
cause of the time put in; but it may also actually lead to a
poorer grade of singing because of the constant repetition of
incorrect vocal habits*
However, the rehearsal in which cor­
rect vocal fundamentals are given some attention must always
lead to a progressively higher type of singing.
The follow­
ing statement by the Adolescent Voice Committee of the Ameri­
can Academy of Teachers of Singing emphasizes this viewpoint:
We believe that notwithstanding the significance
and benefits of mass singing and the need for it,
the primary stress in the early years should be on
the correct use of the voice. This will not neces­
sarily be brought about by mass singing. In fact,
all too often the countrary is true; the stress on
effects from the group -- with little regard to the
use of the voice — generally proves antagonistic
to the vocal welfare of the singer. We submit that
only through sufficient attention to the correct use
of the voice may the joy of singing, the chief aim
of mass singing, be fully realized. It Is axoraatic
to say that a certain <hgree of skill in any physical
endeavor is necessary for any considerable degree of
If we accept the premise that fundamentals must be
taught in the large choral ensemble, it becomes evident that
there will be a great deal of siifcilarity between the small
voice class and the large ensemble in respect to the topics
to be covered.
In the small voice class a great deal of at­
tention can be given to each individual, while in the large
ensemble this is not possible.
Since the success of a large
A Statement of Principles. Music Educators Journal. XXV
(December, 1938), p. 26.
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ensemble is dependent primarily upon the individual ability
of its members, one of the greatest weaknesses of teaching
fundamentals in a large group is that insufficient attention
can be given to each member.
The degree of thoroughness with
which each point can be gone into is another big difference
between the voice class and the large ensemble.
These two big
drawbacks to teaching fundamentals in the large ensemble as
opposed to teaching them in voice classes are given only to
indicate that the voice class is the ideal foundation for large
ensemble singing.
lacking ideal conditions, many of the funda­
mentals of voice class procedure must be incorporated in the
large ensemble rehearsal.
Mastery of fundamentals is, of course, only a means
to an end; the end being the correct rendition of any song,
What is means is made clear by Carol Pitts when she writes:
A thorough technical foundation is essential to
an artistic interpretation of music, for it is
impossible for a voice to respond to demands made
upon it if it is not under the control of the
singer. What, then, are the demands made upon the
Absolute control of the tone as to pitch,
volume and quality.
Ability to sustain a tone for as long as may
be necessary without its wavering in pitch,
color or intensity.
Ability to sing easily with pleasing color,
without a break or change in quality, without
Pitts Voice Class Method.
Company, 1936, p. 2.
Chicago: Neil A. Kjos Music
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‘flatting* and with full resonant tones
through, the entire range of the voice.
Ability to crescendo a tone from jianissimo to
triple forte and likewise to descrescendo,
without "squeezing" the throat muscles,
’swallowing1 the tone, changing tonal quality,
or wavering in pitch.
Ability to sing a vibrant, ringing tone, full
of warmth and resonance, without harshness,
and to sing the softest pianissimo without it
becoming anaemic and lifeless.
Ability to sing all the vowels with pure, beau­
tiful tone quality, and, in addition, to form
the consonantal sounds of the English language
clearly and distinctly without disturbance of
the vowel.
This emphasis upon fundamentals is in keeping with the
aims of the rehearsal as enumerated in the preceding chapter.
It is one thing to set up aims and another thing to achieve
It is easy to say that good tone quality and intona­
tion are highly desirable but it is not as easy to obtain them.
Merely realizing vaguely that they are important is not enough.
A definite plan of obtaining them must be formulated and suc­
cessfully carried out.
Therefore, let us consider these aims
and suggest a few of the many ways of realizing them.
The two fundamentals of posture and breath support
must be given attention before a tone can be properly sung.
A good standing posture is one in which the feet are
slightly apart and the weight of the body distributed evenly
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between them.
The body is erect with chest high, the head in
a natural position, neither thrown back nor pulled toward the
chest, and the hands at the sides or loosely clasped in front.
There should be a feeling of firmness and relaxation without
any slumping.
The sitting position must maintain this erect
position of the body from the hips up which means that the
back mu3t not touch the chair.
Such posture must be made so
habitual that it need never be mentioned after a few rehearsals.
Since all tone is breath and all breath is tone, the
importance of gaining breath control and support can hardly
be overemphasized.
The action of the breathing apparatus when
a person is lying flat on his back is always correct.
each breath the diaphragm expands, the fibs and back move out
and the chest lifts slightly with no motion of the shoulders.
When standing, however, the diaphragm often deflates when a
breath is taken which is just the reverse of what should hap­
Deep breathing means just what it indicates, that breath
must be taken deep into the bottom of the lungs.
Since the
expulsion of breath is regulated by the diaphragm, it is es­
sential that the supply of breath reach its proper destina­
A few minutes devoted to deep breathing at the beginning
of a rehearsal in a room filled with fresh air not only em­
phasizes a fundamental of correct singing but results in a
refreshed physical condition which is so necessary in singing.
The emphasis is not so much on the amount of breath taken in
but on storing it in the proper place and then controlling
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its exhalation -with the muscles of the diaphragm*
In fact,
taking in too much breath is as had as not having enough*
good procedure is to take a deep breath, hold it for four
slow beats and then gradually exhale through slightly parted
lips while the conductor counts eight, sixteen, and thirtytwo beats.
At no time must the chest be allowed to collapse*
A good singing tone has three important characteris­
It is free.
This means that there Is no muscular
interference, no tension of the neck, throat, jaw and tongue
A relaxed lower jaw should be particularly empha­
sized as this is a special requirement often violated by the
boys who also have a tendency to thrust the jaw out and up, a
certain indication of tension in the jaw, neck and throat
The singer can eliminate much of this tension by
3lowly moving the head in a circular motion while a tone is
being sung, feeling that the motion is made with complete
A tone which is free really feels free.
In order
to establish such a feeling, it is essential to work on tones
which are in the middle register of the voice, those around $
being suitable for a mixed group.
The importance of proper breath support in producing
a free tone becomes obvious.
The breath passes from the dia­
phragm across the vocal cords and into the resonance cavities.
The diaphragm muscles must be active at all times and should
be the sole support of the tone.
T/!hen these muscles are lazy,
there is a tendency to compensate by tightening throat and
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neck muscles which, bring tension into the tone*
must remain open.
The throat
Proper breath support for the tone makes
for confidence and confidence induces relaxation.
One useful device to induce diaphragmatic support of
the tone and an open throat is to attack and sustain single
tones in the middle register using the sounds wHow and "Ha".
The "h" must be particularly noticeable since it opens the
throat and calls the muscles of the diaphragm into action.
Any vowel sound which shows tension should be practiced with
the "h" prefixed to it.
The attack should be quite vigorous
and positive, and a sharp contraction of the muscles of the
diaphragm should be felt as the attack is made.
The extremes in dynamics should be carefully worked on
in the initial stages of establishing a free tone.
Loud sing­
ing will cause over-exertion and lead to muscular interference.
Soft singing is an art of the advanced singer and too much of
it attended before every tone is supported entirely by the
breath will lead to muscular interference.
As confidence and
control are established, the dynamic range can be extended.
It is resonant.
The vibrations in the air caused
by the breath passing over the vocal cords must have a
The top of the mouth, nasal cavities, and mask of
the face act as a resonator and if the vibrations reach these
places, a full, rich tone will be produced.
Humming is very valuable in establishing the feeling
of resonance, but the principles of posture, breath support
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and relaxation already enumerated must be closely observed.
Humming should be done with the lips lightly together and the
teeth apart with the jaw very loose*
The value to be obtained
from humming is that the vibrations of the tone can be felt
in the head and nasal cavities and produce a feeling which
should be maintained in singing all sounds*
Probably the best sound to use when working on reso­
nance is nooM as in moon although the "o” sound is also quite
resonant and produces a rounder tone.
The following exercise,
used in various keys, is excellent for work on resonant, sus­
tained tone:
t'4T'» 1 —
(— |—
— o—
It is important here to note that the exercise pro­
ceeds downwards so that the free, resonant head tones may
be carried into the lower pitches*
Starting on a low pitch
and vocalizing upwards might cause the heavy chest voice to be
carried up into the upper ranges, a particularly bad practice.
It is expressive.
This means that there is sane
emotional reaction on the part of the singer which is reflected
in the singing tone.
Much of this emotion can be inspired
by the music being sung but the extent of it is a highly per­
sonalized matter.
The singer must be encouraged and inspired
to enter into the spirit of the music with complete abandon
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and to put aside the restraint which society has built up so
strongly that expression of sentiment is particularly diffi­
cult for the young.
Songs with texts which appeal particu­
larly to high school pupils must be used if inspirational
singing is to be attained.
The three requirements of good tone quality, that
it be free, resonant and expressive, will best be appreciated
and understood by the student if he is enabled to hear a tone
which has these characteristics.
This can be called teaching
by imitation or it can be thought of as building correct con­
If the students are encouraged to imitate someone
else *s tone, certain dangers must be guarded against.
The characteristics of freedom, resonance and expres­
siveness are to be imitated but not the timbre or tone quality
The demonstrating voice may have a tenor quality
which a bass, alto or soprano will not want to imitate.
individualistic quality of each voice must be maintained.
If good tone quality is to be developed in any choral
group, music for the ensemble must be chosen with regard to
three essentials:
The range must fit each section comfortably.
Singing tones which are not within comfortable range causes
tension and poor tone quality as well as poor intonation.
It will usually be found that the tenor part contains
notes which are too high to be sung easily in full voice.
is imperative that high schoolboys learn to use half-voice
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proficiently and to use it on all upper tones which would
otherwise cause tension. Half-voice utilizes what is left
of the man's child voice and is often called falsetto.
produces an effortless tone and can be developed to have good
carrying power.
A good way to re-discover this voice Is to
sing a tone in the middle register, say G, mezzo-forte and
then sing the G above softly.
Much of it should be of the sustained, legato
Sustained tone form3 the basis of all good singing and
should be constantly sought after.
Much of the sacred music
literature Is of this type and is ideal for tonal development.
It also calls for the singing of long phrases d emanding atten­
tion to breath support and control.
Unison songs with this
characteristic can be used to advantage, since they give every­
one a chance to sing melody.
It should be inspirational.
It should be of
such value that the ensemble will enjoy singing it and will
respond with the proper emotional reaction.
reaction —
No emotional
no tone.
A high school choral rehearsal in which ouch of the
time would not need to be spent on correcting faulty intona­
tion would be very unusual.
There is no one element upon which
good singing is more dependent than upon good intonation.
job of the conductor is twofold.
He must first analyze the
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difficulty and find the reason for the out-of-tone singing,
and second, he must prescribe treatment which will correct
the mistakes*
Some of the most usual reasons for poor into­
nation which are found in high school choral organizations and
the suggested remedy follow.
As the conductor gains in ex­
perience, he will invent remedies of his own since a variety
of methods of attack are always more satisfactory than any
single plan*
Probably the most usual cause of poor intonation
with young singers is lack of proper breath support, poor
tone placement, lack of nasal resonance, and the inability to
sing a free tone, unrestricted by muscular interference.
can be remedied by following unceasingly the procedure already
suggested for development of tone*
This work on tone and in­
tonation proceed hand in hand.
Incorrectly hearing the interval to be sung is
another major caise of poor intonation*
Our system of to­
nality has become so thoroughly inbedded in our minds that
we sometimes forget it is a man-made system and that young
singers need a great deal of help to thoroughly comprehend
Each interval represented in music must be played and
then sung until the proper sound is memorized.
faults will appear so often that the conductor Is justified
in expecting them t o be present and therefore to attack them
at their first appearance.
One of these is that ascending
intervals are sung too small and descending intervals too
large, therefore the ensemble must consciously attempt to hear
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ascending intervals as being larger and descending intervals
as being smaller*
The ascending and descending half-steps
are particular offenders in this respect.
It will also be
found tbat certain degrees of the scale give more difficulty
than others.
This is particularly true of the third and sixth
and the ensemble must be trained to take particular pains with
Mental and physical inertia are major causes of
poor intonation.
Mental inertia may be induced by the use of
uninspirstional music, an inert conductor, or mental laziness
on the part of members of the ensemble.
A fast-moving re­
hearsal, in which everyone is busy at work and enjoying it,
will dispel much of this trouble but the conductor must always
be on his guard against it.
Attention and concentration must
be expected and achieved*
Physical inertia may be caused by the temperature and
air in the room, rehearsing after lunch or at the end of a fa­
tiguing day, an epidemic of colds or touch of spring fever.
If the air in the room is fresh and the temperature around
68°, a few breathing exercises will often help to stimulate
and refresh the singers and conductor.
Nevertheless, there
will be days when the rehearsal seems to go all wrong, so much
so that it might be better to declare a holiday.
Defective hearing may also be blamed for poor
intonation, particularly in groups where try-outs have not
been thorough e nough t o eliminate the habitual out-of-tune
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The person who has defective hearing will not be able
to match pitches perfectly.
The pitch sung will usually be
lower than the one struck on the piano and the singer will
not be conscious of it.
When the defect is not too serious,
it can sometimes be partially corrected by placing the person
in front of some strong voices so that the correct pitch is
being continually sung into his ear.
However, singers with
good ears often f ind it difficult to keep an pit ch when a
flat singer is near because their ears are sensitive to, and
f dlow pitch deviations, while the flat singer is oblivious to
the pitches being sung by others.
Certainly the ensemble
which admits many singers with defective bearing is inviting
poor intonation.
The music being studied may be the cause of poor
Music which demands extreme ranges and dynamics
may cause forcing and tension resulting in poor tone and in­
Music which moves faster than the singer can
manipulate his vocal mechanism also results in loss of con­
trol of tone and intonation.
It is also true that certain
ensembles can sing a number perfectly in tune in one key and
poorly in tune in another.
Unaccompanied numbers particularly
can be sung in a variety of keys.
Repetition of a number in
the same key day after day leads to inertia and poor intona­
Choral assembles must practice both with and with­
out the piano if good intonation is to be achieved.
In the
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preliminary stages, the piano must be depended on to furnish,
the correct measurement of pitch.
As more skill is developed,
the ensemble will depend less and less on this aid and will
rely more on a developed grasp of the system of tonality.
accompanied singing is particularly valuable since it puts the
burden of singing in tune entirely on the ear, but if the ear
nas not learned or been trained to accept the responsibility,
intonation will be particularly bad and can be remedied only
by comparison with some mechanical pitch.
An ensemble which
has developed good intonation can sing in tune with accompani­
ment or a cappella eqaally well.
Judgment and hearing must be developed to a high de ­
gree in order to obtain a proper balance of parts.
can only be obtained if each section hears every other sec­
A seating arrangement which makes this possible should
be used.
Ensemble work of any kind implies team-work and the
lack of it will result in poor balance immediately.
The soloist
who has fine tone quality and sings perfectly in tune may need
a good deal of training before he can become an accomplished
ensemble performer.
It takes experience to be able to deter­
mine how much or little volume is necessary in order to main­
tain a proper balance of parts.
The conductor is relied upon
a great deal in maintaining a correct balance.
The performers
learn to expect a warning when they sing too strongly or too
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This is particularly true when giving a performance
in a strange hall since each has acoustical problems of its
own which only the conductor in front of the ensemble can
fully apprecifce.
Judgment must be developed with respect to determin­
ing the relative importance of a part or note of a chord.
Most choral music has the same dynamic marking in each part
but it soon becomes evident that following this literally will
result in poor balance since both melody and accompaniment
will be given the same importance.
Lack of balance in a chord
becomes evident when the root and fifth are sung louder than
the third or seventh.
There are often twice as many singers
on cne pitch of a chord as there are on the other pitches and
if the group does not listen and use good Judgment, a definite
lack of balance will result.
Singers should learn to recognize what interval of a
chard they are singing.
A little work on sustained chords
taken from a number being studied will allow the members of
the ensemble to hear how chords are built and to judge the
relative importance of each interval.
ing to a well-balanced chord.
There is a joy in listen­
The harmonic element in music
has a great appeal for high school students and they enjoy
singing and listening to chords.
There must also be balance within a section.
singer with the most power often stands out and creates poor
balance, but this is just as often the fault of the timid
singer whose weakness emphasizes his partner's strength.
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singer who over-powers the rest of his section is guilty of
over-balancing the section but the singer who stands out be­
cause of some peculiarity in tone quality is offending in res­
pect to blend*
There are some singers whose tone quality is difficult
to blend into an ensemble.
This is often due to an exces­
sively large vibrato or nasality which gives a harsh, pierc­
ing quality to the voice.
These singers should not be allowed
to sing as loudly as the other members of the section.
held down in this manner, the harshness of the tone will be
absorbed by the mellowness of the other singers.
Each indi­
vidual voice will add a characteristic color to the ensemble
tone but the resulting color must be a blended one.
Voices should first be blended within each section
and then the various sections should be blended.
Work on
sustained intervals, particularly the major and minor thirds,
will help greatly.
The importance of blend can be illustrated
by working with two individuals, one of whom has a tendency
to stand out.
When the ensemble hears the defect, the members
will consciously attempt to modify their own voice to blend
with that of their neighbors.
A little work in this manner
using various vowel sounds will illustrate that good diction
and blend are closely related.
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Group singing implies teamwork and teamwork demands
uniform action*
Good diction is an absolute essential in
choral singing and good diction in ensemble singing means
uniform diction as well.
Soloists may have slightly different
ways of making certain vowel sounds, both good, but ensemble
singers should adopt the sounds set up by the conductor*
emphasis in school work has been upon naturalness in diction
but due to present practices of slovenly speech, this is often
poor diction.
One of the greatest difficulties with singers is that
they know the sound they are attempting to sing and therefore
are certain that the sound is being made*
They do not listen
to the sound and the result is the incoherent babbling pre­
valent at many choral performances.
Eere are a few sugges­
tions for the improvement of diction:
The conductor should illustrate how he wants each
vowel to sound and have the ensemble imitate him.
the lip and tongue muscles work actively.
Insist that
Form a vowel sound
with the lips without singing, having the ensemble gaess the
sound formed and then ask them to do likewise.
Attempt to
exaggerate the formation of each vcwel sound.
Direct attention to initial consonants, using a
group of words starting with the same sound, selected from a
song being studied, such as "to,” ’’tune," "tell,” or "moan,"
"mean." "mine."
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Do the same for final consonants with such words
as "him," "slim," "trim,” or "might,11 "great," "right,"
sure that the final "m" really sounds.
This requires the lips
to be opened for the final s ound as though saying "muh,"
final "t" sounds like "tuh."
Give instruct ions for the singing of the "r"
When an "r" precedes a vowel sound or is between two
vowel sounds, it should be rolled.
The final "r" may be
An initial "r" is also rolled.
Correct Mechanics
Much of the rehearsal time in the early stages of
learning a new piece of music will be devoted to getting the
rhythm and pitches worked out.
This work can be done quickly
if the conductor is thoroughly familiar with each part and can
spot errors as soon as they appear.
It is, of course, impos­
sible to work an any refinements while the singers are still
groping for pitches and singing the rhythm sluggishly.
When one section holds up the entire ensemble because
it cannot grasp the imchanics, it is advisable to have a separate
sectional rehearsal to save time.
The ability to start and end a phrase at exactly the
same time and to make allmodifications of tempo exactly to-
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gether is the result of using the eyes and ears.
Members of an ensemble must understand the signals
used by the conductor.
If the conductor has a clear tech­
nique, the ensemble will soon learn to follow hi™ perfectly.
Specific attention should be given to acquiring perfect at­
tacks and releases.
Ensembles like to play the gane of "fol-
low the conductor” in which the conductor varies tempos and
introduces effects not written in the music in order to test
the alertness of the group.
There is no substitute for alert listening in any
music work.
In group work this is particularly important if
the ensemble is to function as a unit.
It cannot be empha­
sized too strongly that a great deal of singing should be done
without the aid of the conductor, depending entirely on the
ear for keeping together.
An ensemble that cannot do this is
not likely to sing well together even with the conductor on
the podium,
Inte rpre t at 1 on
Some of the elements of interpretation have already
been discussed in Chapter II,
If the conductor has been skill­
ful enough to create an ensemble which has good tcne quality,
intonation, balance and blend, diction, and ensemble, he will
have a perfect mechanical instrument but nothing more.
mechanical instrument must now be made to live and this re­
quires that the conductor be-an artist.
It is very doubtful
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•whether any further directions than those already given will
he of any great use; if the conductor is a musician, he will
not need them; if he is not, no amount of written suggestions
will be of any avail.
Problems for Discussion
1. Give some of your own ideas and exercises for the develop­
ment of good tone quality,
Would you use special exercises or excerpts from music
being studied when working on the various elements listed?
Give specific illustrations of how you would proceed,
In your experience with high school groups, what one de­
fect have you found to be most outstanding? Can you of­
fer an explanation for this?
Make a list of songs which would meet the requirements
laid down under Tone Quality,
Consider the advisability of using a reed organ rather
than a piano when working with choral people. Which
would you prefer and why?
6 , Attend a choral concert or song recital and write down
the words of two or three songs as they are sung. Do
not guess at what is intended; write down actual sounds.
Analyze them and form sane conclusions as to the pre­
dominant errors.
Suggested Heading
N. Cain, Choral Music and Its Practice. New York: M.
Wit mark" and Sons, 1932. Chapters- X, XI, XII.
H. Coward, Choral Technique and Interpretation. London:
Novello and Company, CFd, Pp. 19-202, 24-278,
Hollis Dann, Hollis Dann Song Series, Conductor1s Book.
New York: American Book Company, 1936. Pp. 8-35,
68-71, 107-109.
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A# T. Davison, Choral Conducting. Cambridge, Massachusetts:
The Harvard University Press, 1940. This entire book
should be carefully studied with special emphasis on
Chapter V,
J. Evanson, HPiecesw or ”Fundamentals” - or Both. Music
Educators Journal. XXIII (October, 1936), p. 24,
William .J, Finn, The Art of the Choral Conductor. Boston:
C. C, Birchard and Company, 1939, The ambitious con­
ductor will want to study the entire book.
H. P, Greene, Internretation in Sang. London: Macmillan
and Company, Ltd., l93l. “ Farts I, II, III, IV, VI,
R. Lee Osburn, Ensemble Singing in the Senior High School,
Music Supervisor^ Journal. XVI (December, 1929), p. 53.
C. M. Pitts, Pitts’ Voice Class Method. Chicago: Neil A.
Kjos Music Company, 1936. The whole book pertains to
problems mentioned in this chapter and offers invalu­
able suggestions,
T. Campbell Yound, ”Vocal Diction” — In a Nutshell.
Music Supervisors’ Journal. XIX (October, 1932).
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The conductor of an Instrumental ensemble faces a
much more complex situation than does the conductor of a
choral ensemble.
In the choral ensemble there is only one
instrument, the voice, and thus only one set of principles for
correct usage are needed.
In the instrumental ensemble, how­
ever, each instrument has its own peculiar set of principles
and the conductor must have some knowledge of correct teach­
ing techniques for each instrument.
Once again it should be emphasized that an ensemble
is a group of individuals and that it is the ability of the
individual which determines the strength of an ensemble.
finest conductor alive cannot make a good ensemble out of a
group composed of players with an incorrect foundation in the
playing of their instruments.
possible a good ensemble.
It is good teaching which makes
The ground work laid before the
player enters an ensemble should be extensive and thorough.
The ensemble which is fed by players taught by ccmptent teachers is indeed fortunate but this does not relieve
the conductor from the responsibility of being familiar with
correct teaching procedures for each instrument.
He must be
able to detect immediately.any imperfections and to offer
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Players who know better, will often q o things
in group playing which they would never attempt to do in solo
When inaccuracies of this sort are not checked up
immediately, the player may grow careless, knowing he can get
away with it.
And since all those who teach are not competent,
the conductor must be prepared to make changes in any player's
technic in order to put him on the right path.
One of the serious obstacles to obtaining good musi­
cal results from a school band has been the recent emphasis
placed on the early development of a marching unit.
The pri­
mary reason for any musical ensemble existing in any educational
system is to give training in musical performance, an idea
emphasized by Hlndsley:
Since, then, the raison d ’etre of a band is
music, it seems reasonable that band training
should be dominated by the musical idea, with the
marching relegated to its proper place as quite
an important element. The very first thing a band
should do is lay a foundation for future good play­
ing, When it can play march music with some degree
of proficiency, it should learn to march. Prom
then on the marching ability may be developed as
rapidly as possible, so long as it does not seriously
interfere with reason able progress in playing, 1
It is not the purpose of this chapter to go into the
teaching techniques of each instrument.
Such knowledge can
best be obtained from competent private instructors, as can a
knowledge of correct voice production principles.
M, Hindsley, The Marching Band,
nal, XVII (December, 1930).
The aim
Musle Supervisors’ Jour­
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here Is to make such suggestions S3 can be used in the re­
hearsal to enable the instrumental ensemble to realize in
varying degrees the aims set up in Chapter V,
In choral music, the sustained tone was held to be
the basis of good singing.
In instrumental music, the sus­
tained, singing tone is likewise the foundation for all good
In support of this idea, hear what Richard Wagner
has to say:
"Players of stringed instruments should copy the
full-toned piano of the best winds, and the latter, again,
should endeavor to imitate the best vocalists."
"The sus­
tained soft tone here spoken of, and the sustained powerful
tone mentioned above, are the two poles of orchestral expres­
An ensemble which has as its goal the ability to play
a sustained tone and then reaches this gbal will have accom­
plished some thing to be proud of and will have laid the foun­
dation for some really fine playing.
School groups, both
bands and orchestras, are particularly weak in this respect,
a weakness which is not so apparent in rapidly moving passages
but which shows up woefully in slow, sustained passages.
Pranko Goldman, who has heard hundreds of school bands in his
On Conducting, p. 33.
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capacity as a contest adjudicator and guest conductor, writes:
My experience has proven that the prime test for any
band is the playing of a slow movement. At many
contests and music festivals which I have attended,
one band after another would appear and open its
program with a march, then an overture or other
standard or classic work. In the playing of the
marches, it Is more difficult to judge the actual
quality of a band because of the spirited tempo,
and because so many of the minor parts are generally
concealed, often covered up by the drums. The over­
ture may start with a lively tempo, but as soon as
the slow tempo is reached, the bottom seems to fall
out of the band, and it Is then that one discovers
the real weaknesses — the poor tonal quality and
the very bad intonation. It is in these slow move­
ments that one can see whether the individual players
actually have the command and control of an instru­
ment, Good tone and good intonation are the prime
assets of fine wind instrument playing,!
Good tone quality cannot be adequately described; it
must be heard.
The conductor must have a thorough conception
of what the accepted tonal quality of each musical instrument
sounds like and, what is also important, he must know how good
a quality of tone a high school player can be expected to de­
Normally, not enough i3 expected from a high school
player and the result is achievement below that which could
have been attained.
The conductor who is tone-conscious will
soon make meufcers of the ensemble just as conscious of it and
an important step along the way will have been taken.
Here are some factors which should receive considera­
tion in the work on tone:
Band Betterment. p, 82,
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The condition and quality of the equipment used.
The tone quality of a stringed instrument may be affected by
a soundpost out of position, a bridge improperly placed or too
think and clumsy, poor strings, insufficient hair in the bow,
or a bow filled with old hair, saturated with rosin.
illustration will prove that every instrument in the ensemble
should be carefully checked to see that it is in condition to
work at its maximum efficiency.
A n ensemble filled with the cheapest instruments made
cannot expect to get as good tonal quality as it would with
better equipment.
This includes the percussion group.
bals in particular do have tone quality and of such prominence
that a good pair should be added to the ensemble with part of
the first funds available.
Wind instrument players are mare fortunate than string
players as they can, at small cost, purchase an additional
piece of equipment which may materially improve tone quality
as well as all-around performance.
is a good mouthpiece.
That piece of equipment
Nothing can make a poor instrument into
a good cxie, but a mouthpiece can make an improvement.
order, then, to improve tone quality as well as other elements
of playing, a wind instrument player should be equipped with
a good mouthpiece, selected to fit the individual.
Heeds can be classified as equipment.
The selection
of proper reeds is so important that it can hardly be men­
tioned too often.
Players must iearn to be very critical in
their selection of reeds and must learn to make what altera­
tions may be necessary in order to produce a good tone.
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conductors have a weekly redd inspection and anyone playing
on an Inferior reed is not permitted to play until he has a
good one.
Reeds are an expense and thus create a problem,
but the conductor must solve it if best results are to bfe ob­
Breath support and control for wind instruments
playBrs is just as important as it is for singers.
The principles
of correct breathing, set forth in Chapter VI are also cor­
rect for the wind instrument player.
Correct embouchure development for wind instru­
ment players is essential if good tone quality is to be ob­
If this is not accomplished, all other elements may
be carried out perfectly and still the desired results not
be obtained.
Daily practice should include playing with as full
a tone as the player is capable of producing.
String players
must practice using vigorous, full bows; wind instrument players
must play with just as much vigor.
Tonal brilliance cannot
be developed through continued soft playing, important as such
playing is.
This loud practicing, controlled, of course,
should be done individually rather than ih the large en­
semble, since such playing in the ensemble would induce poor
balance and other faults.
It is generally agreed that the best method of
developing tone quality and tone control is to practice sus­
tained tones, first on an even dynamic level and then with
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a long crescendo followed by a long diminuendo.
This is just
as valuable for string players as it is for wind players b e ­
cause it develops a firm, steady b o w and that is to tone con­
trol on a stringed instrument what b reath is t o the wind in­
strument player.
Practicing long tones is very boring and only the most
conscientious player will do enough of it to obtain any value
from it,
A compromise is to play music of the sustained type
or music which contains long slurs and so demands a continuous
breath support and leads to bow control and embouchure d e ­
velopment ,
Tonal development should precede tongue, fingers
and bow dexterity.
One of the best ways to arrest tonal de­
velopment is to be continually playing marches and overtures
in which the primary attention must be given to note chasing.
If a sustained tone is to be the basis of all good playing,
then sustained music should be used a great deal of the time.
The insistence on early development of speedy tonguing is
particularly harmful to w i n d instrument players.
which require only a moderate amount of finger technic will
not be as harmful if slurred, thus demanding a steady flow of
Imitation plays a very important part in tonal
A good example of a fine tone should be heard
as often as possible.
If one student possesses a good tone,
the others should be encouraged to imitate him.
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It is true that a person will often attempt to
play an instrument for which, by temperament or for physical
reasons, he has little talent*
This person may find that he
is able to produce a much more musical tcne on another instru­
Good tone is an indication of a mature player, but even
from the very first lessons there are limits to the amount of
poor tone quality which a player may be expected to produce.
Very often the outstanding characteristic of an ama­
teur musical group, school groups included, is the complete
abandon with which they play out of tune.
Perfect intona­
tion is almost never possible with a high school instrumental
group but good intonation is quite possible and very poor in­
tonation, the kind so often heard, is hard to excuse.
tainly no one element of good musical performance will so
thoroughly engage the attention of the conductor.
It is quite
likely that a major part of many rehearsals will be spent on
it and certainly some part of every rehearsal will be devoted
to it.
Anyone with a musical ear will be immediately conscious
of out-of-tune playing.
Many high school players have good
ears and realize that something Is wrong but do very little
about it until the conductor demands a correction.
do not hear as keenly
but will notice it after it has been
called to their attention. ''The first problem here is, as it
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was In tonal development, to establish a consciousness of
intonation problems.
The major burden will always rest on
the conductor’s shoulders but the better players will help
out considerably once standards of what is expected have been
The factors listed below play an Important part in
the development of good intonation,
Tonal development and good intonation go hand in
hand in many respects,
A tone that is controlled, resting on
good breath support and embouchure development is, in the
case of wind instrument players, very likely to be fairly well
in tune or under control enough to make good intonation pos­
In the same way, the condition of the instrument af­
fects both tone and intonation.
Humoring the tone, so necessary in all wind instru­
ment playing, can only be done when a certain amount of con­
trol exists.
Humoring the tone too early in the playing
career may deter proper embouchure development,
Some notes may be fingered in several different
As a general rule, one of these fingerings will be
better in tune than the others and should be used, particu­
larly in sustained passages.
The trombonist will find that D
above the staff is usually better in tune when played in fourth
position than when played in first position.
Each wind instru­
ment has its own peculiarities and good intonation is only
possible when the player is thoroughly aware of all possible
ways of playing and altering each note.
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The string players must have a thorough knowledge of
all positions.
Many passages will be played badly out of
tune because too many shifts are being made and in other in­
stances because shifts are not being made.
Intonation in each
position presents a separate problem since the spaces between
notes are always slightly varied.
It is desirable to have a standard pitch to which
the ensemble is always tuned.
Using the oboe is often a mis­
take because in the hands of an amateur player, this instru­
ment is capable of large pitch variations.
String players who tune to a low-pitched piano at
home often find that their instruments will not stay in tune
when tuned to pitch A-440.
The string players who do not
carefully time their instruments many times each day will
find that the instruments will not hold a set pitch.
The whole instrument must be tuned.
The idea of
having a tuning note for band and orchestra has unfortunately
led to the idea that this is the ohly note which needs timing.
This misconception leads to serious difficulties.
One of the best ways to tune the entire instrument is
to have the ensemble play a few unison scales.
A small reed
organ, carefully tuned, can be used to give the correct pitch
of each tone unless the conductor has such a perfect sense of
pitch that he can be judge.
The value of having such an organ
is that players can practice with it and have a standard for
comparison when the conductor is not available.
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String and wind instrument players should sing.
Passages which cause trouble may be sung slowly and then
The value of this procedure can hardly be over­
When singing, each tone must be Imagined beford
it can be voiced.
In playing any instrument, this must be
done if good intonation is to be obtained.
The practice of
playing a note in order to hear what it sounds like should be
Singing Is one of the best ways to develop pitch
Intonation is probably the string player’s greatest
problem and it is difficult to give many suggestions for at­
taining it except listen and practice.
All string players,
however, must have a thorough grasp of where whole and half
steps occur.
Violinists in particular often play "between
the cracks" because their fingers are not in position to play
either a half step or a whole step.
The type of music which is favorable to good
tonal development Is also favorable to the development of
Slow, sustained music gives the ear a chance
to analyze and make adjustments.
Slow music is not harder to
play In tune than fast music; it is just that it sounds that
In fast music the notes are played so rapidly that bad
intonation is not as obvious but is still present.
If this
is doubted, play a six-eight inarch in regular tempo and then
play It with six slow beats to a measure*
A good deal of soft playing is essential to the
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development of good intonation.
In soft playing, no forcing
occurs and the ear is able to hear defects and remedy them.
Much loud playing induces forcing and results in poor intona­
Marches which utilize extreme ranges and extreme dy­
namics are detrimental unless used in moderation.
Tuning must go on all the time.
Playing a few
unison scales and then forgetting intonation during the re­
mainder of the rehearsal will have no worthwhile effect.
The emphasis must be not alone on playing the instru­
ment in tune but in playing in tune together.
This Implies
concessions on the part of all players, some humoring the tone
up and the others coming down to meet them.
Particularly good
passages for intonation work will be found in any piece where
unisons, octaves, or perfect fifths exist, as these are the
easiest intervals to tune.
Each section can first be tuned
in this manner and then one section at a time added, making
necessary alterations along the line until the entire en­
semble is playing.
When string players are trying to clean up the
intonation, vibrato must not be used.
Good intonation de­
pends on exact placing of the fingers and vibrato often
covers up faulty finger placement.
The players who have the greatest difficulty
with intonation may well be eliminated in certain passages
where poor intonation is spelling the effect.
nation improves, they can join in.
As their into­
It is unfair to the ma­
jority to have their work spoiled by a minority.
One player
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can spoil the intonation of an entire section,
Wind instruments have a great deal of intonation
difficulty with high notes.
Good intonation is more easily
obtainable if fewer players are placed on the upper parts.
The general practice is to place too many players on the
upper parts, resulting in lack of balance as well, since upper
tones are more audible than lower tones,
The temperature of the room has a great deal to
do with intonation.
Unusually high or low temperatures af­
fect all instruments in varying degrees and will spoil the
intonation of an ensemble which under normal conditions might
be good.
Balance and Blend
High school ensembles are made up of poor, average and
good players.
Prom such a mixture the conductor must obtain
a certain degree of balance if worthwhile musical effects are
to be realized.
It is, of course, much easier to develop a
balanced ensemble when the proficiency of the players is not
so varied and one of the first steps in organization must be
to so plan the system of feeding an instrumental group that the
players in it have scmewhat similar backgrounds of experience
and to provide instrumental organizations to take care of players
of all grades of proficiency.
The ensemble which contains
those who have played for a number of years and those who are
beginners will be handicapping both groups and balance will be
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almost impossible to attain.
Another problem in organization which must be con­
sidered before good balance can be obtained is the matter of
All instrumental groups should be aiming
towards achieving an instrumentation which will make musical
results possible.
This does not mean that a large group of
symphonic proportions is necessary, but it does mean that what­
ever the size of the group is, it should contain the essential
instruments and those in the proper proportion to each other.
An orchestra with a large wind section and a small string sec­
tion or a band with a large brass section and a small wood­
wind section cannot be made to sound well balanced.
Even when a 11 players in an ensemble are capable of
playing the same music and when a good instrumentation is
maintained, balance will not necessarily result.
In the re­
hearsal itself the following points may be given attention:
In the discussion on tone and intonation it has
been pointed out that arousing the ensemble to a conscious­
ness of what is wanted is of paramount importance.
is the first requisite of ensemble playing and calls for keen
A player must know the relative importance of his
part; he must know where the melody lies in every measure.
An ensemble player has much more to think about than the
soloist; he Is a member of a team and poor judgment on his
part may spoil the efforts of the remainder of the ensemble.
It takes time to learn all these things.
The player
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will soon find that tones which he thinks are too loud or
too soft or just right do not sound the same to the conductor*
If the conductor keeps making suggestions, the player will
soon learn just how much tone is needed in order to give his
part the importance it deserves.
Divide the good players among all the parts*
is a mistake to put all the poor players on the lower parts*
This is one of the surest ways not to get balance.
depends on an equal distribution of strength on all parts or
with just a little more
on the lower parts than on the upper
Of course, every solo part must have a strong leader
but so should every lower part.
Of the six best violins in an
orchestra, two at least should play second violin.
The four
best cornets in a band might well be assigned to lead each of
the four parts.
Of course, the technical ability of the
player and demands of the part must be given consideration.
There are many instances where a violinist does not have enough
command of the positions to play first violin but has a fine
sense of rhythm and will make an excellent leader of the
second violin section.
It has already been suggested in the discussion
of tone that more players should be assigned to the lower
parts than to the upper parts.
This will also lead to better
The approved string instrumentation calls for two
more first violins than second violins.
This is, however,
based on the assumption that all players have somewhat the
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same profIciency as to professional groups*
In school work,
this ratio may usually be reversed with better results.
In the band, a trombone section of six players will
usually be divided into two firsts, two seconds and two thirds.
This will work out quite well if the three best players are
leading each part.
It is not inconceivable, however, that a
distribution of one first, two sec ends, and three thirds would,
at times, result in even better balance,
In the orchestra, the string tone is meant to
predominate most of the time.
of the woodwinds.
In the band the same is true
Ensembles which do not bring about this
result will not achieve balance.
It is assumed here that the symphonic band, with its
greatermusical potentialities, has been set up as the ideal
rather than the brass band.
It is quite natural that during
the transition period, most bands will continue to give undue
prominence to the brass and percussion sections.
The refine­
ment added to a band when woodwinds outnumber the brasses is
entirely obliterated when the brass and percussion play with­
out regard for their more delicately toned friends.
The brass
and percussion players may never let out with all their tone
while the woodwinds have an important part.
In pure brass
passages, more power may be utilized.
The first step in obtaining balance is to get it
from each section first.
like one instrument.
A well-balanced section will sound
Some of the better players will often
cause trouble since their tones are more powerful and they have
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not learned to listen carefully.
After each, section is balanced within itself, various
sections can be put together.
Cellos and string basses play­
ing in octaves as they so often do, must play balanced oc­
French horns and trombones playing the same part must
not allow the trombone to predominate.
They must blend in
with the horns.
There are always a few players whose tone is of
such a quality that when used in the same degree as the others
in this section, it will stand out.
In order to obtain blend
from this type of player, it is necessary to have him play
lighter than his partners at all times. In the meantime, the
conductor must try to eliminate the reasons for the faulty tone
and failing in this, suggest a change to another instrument.
Correct Mechanics
Acquiring a technically correct performance from an
instrumental group requires that the conductor have a thorough
grasp of the score.
Each of the separate parts must be studied
and checked for accuracy at each rehearsal.
It is a mistake
to spend so much time on the lead parts that other parts are
neglected, but this is very often done by the high school con­
Hearing technical errors and then placing the blame
where it belongs requires a keen ear and experience with an
instrumental group.
There a-re certain tones which are a little
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awkward for each instrument and when a wrong note is heard
near such a tone, it will usually be found to be the awkward
tone which was missed.
An illustration of this appears in
any brass music when the open tones cannot be used and in
string music when the open string cannot be used.
The tone
color peculiar to each instrument is another help in spotting
the person who made the error*
There are certain passages on all instruments which
can only be played by using unusual fingerings.
This is par­
ticularly true of the strings and woodwinds and if correct
mechanics are to be obtained, the conductor must be familiar
with such fingerings.
String music presents a special problem because it
requires a knowledge of the various bowings in order to play
it correctly.
In fact the whole string technic is 30 com­
plicated that special string training of an extensive nature
is almost a requirement for the orchestral conductor.
Probably the best way of obtaining correct mechanics
is to hold special sectional rehearsals where all of the con­
ductor’s attention can be centered on a smaller number of
parts and players.
The suggestions given in Chapter VI also apply here,
Grood ensemble is harder to obtain from an instrumental group
than It Is from a choral group and as a result more time must
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be spent an it*
A helpful procedure is to have the players put down
their instruments and count as the conductor beats, watch­
ing the particular measures in which the disjointed playing
This enables the group to feel the retards or ac-
celerandos and then the playing itself becomes easy.
It is
only when the entire ensemble feels each phrase in the same
manner that a large group will play perfectly together.
Instrumental ensembles have a special seating prob­
The first rule a player should learn in ensemble work
is that he must always 3it where he can see the music and
the conductor at the same time.
The conductor must check care­
fully to see that this is done.
Rushing is one of the worst foes of good ensemble
playing and it is indulged in freely by high school groups.
This is a reflection of excitement and careless treatment of
correct rhythmic values.
Ensemble players must be particu­
larly well grounded in the rhythmic element of music for it
is this which holds a group together.
Many successful in­
strumental conductors develop a good rhythmic foundation
through the use of the foot beat while others use vocal
The method is not so important as the result which
must be exact playing of all camnon rhythmic figures.
this no instrumental group can perform as a unit.
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Int erpre ta 11 on
The instrumental conductor must be just as careful of
phrasing as is the choral conductor.
There are no wards to
help determine phrase endings and nuances but they are there
and must be found.
The phrase in instrumental music is sung
just as it is in vocal music, something that is not always
A good interpreter shows restraint; he does not attempt
that which his technical capabilities are not equal to.
peak of a climax will not be musical if it calls for so much
power that noise rather than musical sound is the result.
high school instrumental conductor will be expected to measure
the capabilities of his ensemble intelligently and secure as
inspiring an interpretation as their capabilities will per­
mit .
Problems for Discussion
Prepare a list of suggestions for improving tone quality
on the instrument you know best. Test your knowledge of
the string, bass and woodwind families by doing the same
for one member of each family.
Do the same for improving intonation.
In your experience, which section of the high school or­
chestra is usually the weakest? Of the band? How do you
explain this?
Pick out six band or orchestra numbers which are con­
ducive to improvement of tone and intonation. Find a
few which you would consider to be unfavorable.
Make up a balanced instrumentation for a 30-piece band
or orchestra, also for a 40- and 50-piece group.
Explain your system for teaching rhythm.
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References for Further Study
E. F. Goldman, Band Betterment. New York: Carl Fischer,
Inc., 1934. BEapters X',' XV, XVII, XIX, XXX, XXXI,
M. H. Hindsley, The Instrumental Music Teacher. Music
Educators’ Journal, XXIV (December, 1937), p. 34.
J. E. Maddy and T. P. Giddings, Instrumental Technique.
Cincinnati: The Willis Music Company, 1926"! Chapters
P. Van Bodegraven, Organizing a School Band.
City: Penzel, Mueller and TJompany, 1938•
33-42, 50-56.
Long Island
Pp. 26-30,
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It is quite possible for a person to be a good musi­
cian, to understand the musical requirements of good ensemble
performance, to know how to fulfill these requirements, and
still not be a successful conductor.
There are many non-
musical essentials of rehearsal procedure which must be recog­
nized and applied in order to lay the groundwork for obtain­
ing the best musical results.
This is particularly true when
working with high school students.
An understanding of the
high school student as an individual is just as essential,
if not more essential, than an understanding of the music be­
ing worked on.
Let us examine now, some of the more important
non-musical essentials of an ensemble rehearsal.
Any serious mental work requires concentration and
concentration in a large group requires discipline, preferably
The conductor who is not able to maintain
good discipline will hardly be able to do as good musical
work as could be done under more favorable circumstances•
The ensemble in which everyone is busy producing music which
they enjoy will at least have-a basis for maintaining disci-
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Those members who seem to enjoy creating distractions
more than creating music might well be better off in seme
other activity.
When the conductor steps on the podium, he
should demand attention and get it.
Discipline is a means to
an end, the end being the rendition of music to the best of
the ability of the ensemble.
Actions which do not directly
or indirectly affect the efficiency of the rehearsal need not
be considered a breach of discipline.
An unnatural discipline,
approaching the military type, is neither desirable musically
nor educationally under normal conditions.
Rehearsal Plans
Prescott and Chidester
advise that the band rehearsal
be divided into three parts, devoting 5 to 15 minutes on en­
semble drill, 30 to 50 minutes on concert preparation, and 3
to 5 minutes on inspiration and motivation.
Each conductor
will have his own ideas as to the division of time, but it is
important that some plan be adopted and followed.
A long range plan of attack on each number being re­
hearsed is also advisable.
If a plan book is kept, it is easy
to see in just what stage of development each number is.
method of rehearsing each number will be determined by the pre2
vious study given to it. Henry Coward lists three methods
of rehearsal:
the Conventional Generalizing; the Critical
Getting Results with School Bands, p. 100.
Choral Technique and 'Unterpr'etaVfcm, p. 9.
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Particularizing; and the Compartmenta1 Specializing.
The Conventional Generalizing method is used with new
The plan is to go over the entire number several
times to become acquainted with the general spirit and idea.
No attempt is made in this rehearsal to stop for corrections.
This might be considered the "whole” method of learning as
opposed to the "part” method and is backed up by latest psy­
chological findings.
It is useless during early rehearsals of a number to
be continually stopping because of wrong notes or other me­
chanical errors.
Many of these errors are due to lack of
control and the performer will eliminate them on his own initia­
tive if given a chance.
over-use of this method.
There is, of course, a danger in the
If continued too long, faults will
become habits and will not be easy to eliminate.
The Particularizing Method consists In striving for
perfection in all details of musical performance.
This will
follow the use of the Conventional Generalizing method and
presupposes that the student has been given time to make the
corrections of whieh he is capable.
This type of rehearsal
requires many stoppages to make corrections.
Because of this
it can easily become very tiresome and should be used only
during part of the rehearsal period.
The ability to "polish"
a number in this manner is necessary if the work of the en­
semble is to be lifted out of the comnonplace.
The ability
to concentrate on small details has often toeen called the
characteristic of a genius.
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The Ccmpartmental Specializing method consists in
concentrating all attention on one special point to the ex­
clusion of everything else.
The special point might be dic­
tion in which case all other mistakes would be ignored.
a method of rehearsing would be used only when the ensemble
seemed particularly slow in achieving the desired results in
some particular elements such as tone or intonation and serves
to make the ensemble particularly conscious of the fault.
is not recommended for use in every rehearsal.
A good rehearsal plan will certainly call for the use
of the first two methods of procedure.
variety as well as systematic progress.
This will make for
No plan must become
so rigid that it cannot be varied.
The plan for each rehearsal must of necessity be par­
tially based on the results of the previous one.
The conductor
will notice errors, all of which cannot be corrected at once,
and will check the sections in which the errors fall so that
they can be remedied in the following rehearsal.
Wanning Up
Playing or singing requires mental and physical co­
In preparing to participate in an ensemble re­
hearsal, an individual must warm-up his instrument and concen­
trate his attention on the job to be done.
The necessity of
mental preparation is not often stressed but the lack of it
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may nullify correct physical preparations.
Three ways of
warming up for ensemble participation are:
Warm up the ensemble by performing a piece of
This offers the advantage of using every spare mo­
ment of the rehearsal period in work on actual concert ma­
The danger to guard against, however, is that the
piece used is not such as to unduly strain and tire the par­
The practice of using a march to warm up a band
is not recommended because it stresses fast, loud playing,
quite the opposite of what is needed for opening material.
It is safe to say that when an actual piece of music is used
for warming up, it should have a medium range, a slow tempo
and sustained notes for all performers,
Warming up may be made an individual responsi­
bility so that actual work on concert material can be started
as soon as the conductor steps on the podium.
Certainly every
musician should know how to warn up and should be able to take
this responsibility on himself.
Nevertheless, intelligent use
of warming up procedures by high s chool performers is not
The usual result is that, when left to their own de­
vices, the singer does nothing or shouts, the trumpet player
picks up his instrument and tries to blow the top note on
his instrument and the reeds and strings show equaL lack of
Therefore, if warming up Is made an individual
responsibility, the conductor will find it necessary to be on
hflTiri to see that it is done intelligently.
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Playing beforehand may be entirely prohibited
and all warming up done in the ensemble, using exercises
especially written for the purpose.
Unison scales and sus­
tained chords are among the best of these for instrument
groups while the vocal ensemble may use special vocalizes
which give special attention to bringing the head voice into
This usually requires starting in a medium register
and vocalizing downwards.
Each of the above methods of warning up is used by
successful high school musical groups and it would be foolish
to try to prove one superior to the other.
The conductor
must experiment with each method to see which best suits the
ensemble under his direction.
What obtains best results with
one, will not always do so with another; but whatever method
is used, close attention to the job at hand must be demanded.
The wanaing up period is used to gain control of tone and
intonation, and to loosen muscles of the tongue, fingers and
All of these things require the keenest of mental ef­
The Sectional Rehearsal
The conductor viho is able to schedule frequent
separate rehearsals for each section of his ensemble is
indeed fortunate.
This might almost be called a necessity
for fine performance.
In a large ensemble, very little at­
tention can be given each individual and only a little more
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to each section since both require the rest of the ensemble
to remain idle.
Some of this is necessary, but when one par­
ticular section:needs a great deal of attention, it is far
more efficient to meet that section alone.
It is often more
advantageous to have two or three full ensemble rehearsals a
week with sectional rehearsals the other days than to hold a
full rehearsal daily but no sectionals.
The aims of the sectional rehearsal will be the same
as those for the full rehearsal but much more can be accom­
plished since the individual is better able to hear what he
is doing and receives more help from the conductor.
The sec­
tional rehearsal is particularly valuable for working out
difficult technical passages but the important items of tone,
intonation, balance, and interpretation must always be in the
Psychological Factors
There is a certain amount of similarity between the
procedures of a doctor and those of a teacher.
A doctor ?rill
advise preventative practices which will keep the patient
well, but when trouble occurs, he will diagnose the case and
prescribe a remedy.
The teacher, by using correct procedures,
will attempt to keep the pupil from falling into bad habits,
but when difficulties are encountered, the teacher will also
diagnose the case, decide on the cause and then prescribe a
But from here on the similarity disappears, because
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the patient is -usually forced to take a doctor’s prescrip­
tion while the teacher must awaken interest in the pupil so
that he will make intelligent use of the prescription.
is just the reason why many musicians with a fine musical
background fail as conductors of high school ensemble music.
Here is where psychological factors enter.
considerations: music and the student.
is essential.
There are now two
A knowledge of both
The subject is much too large to enter into
thoroughly in a few pages, but let us indicate three psy­
chological factors which are of paramount importance in any
group music work.
to learn.
Interest is the chief factor in developing a will
Without interest, learning is so difficult that it
is next to impossible.
The first job of the conductor must be, then, to
arouse interest.
This means that rehearsals must be enjoyable;
they must have serious moments and humorous moments; they
must be inspiring and create enthusiasm.
Above all, the
music itself must hold the interest and attention of the
to learn.
Proper motivation is needed to develop this will
This motivation originates with the conductor and
may take many original forms.
Three sources of motivation
which should receive consideration are:
The attitude of the conductor.
for a student to desire the approbation of the conductor.
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It is natu
Approbation must, however, be used intelligently if it is to
have any motivating force.
Praise should be sincere and
should be given only when the student has really achieved
Uncritical praise passed out freely on all occa­
sions will hardly inspire a student to better performance.
It may easily have the opposite effect.
The presence of a group.
The conductor who
has worked as a private teacher often finds it difficult to
capitalize on the psychological opportunities presented by
the group and the natural desires set up by group work.
The desire to excel Is very strong.
This is particu­
larly true in group work where it is easy to compare Individual
The system of try-outs used by so many instru­
mental groups, in which each person plays a selected passage
and is seated according to the comparative proficiency with
which he plays it, utilizes this desire to excel to good ad­
Whatever the method, superior work must be recog­
nized in a tangible manner if the desire to excel is to be
used to good advantage.
The desire to cooperate is natural to most students
and can be used freely in group work.
Thestudent must be
made to feel that he is workhag on a cooperative venture and
that he is expected to make a real contribution to that ven­
ture, preferably by his musical accomplishments, although
there are other ways in -viiich he can be made to feel as
though he is a cooperating member of a group.
These include
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acting as librarian, stage manager, publicity director, or in
any other capacity in which his efforts are Tasking a distinct
contribution to the
welfare of the group.
The desire for group approval is a very powerful mo­
tivating factor which the conductor should use.
The student
who can sing or play his part well should be given an oppor­
tunity to do so alone so that he can obtain group approval for
his efforts and inspire others to do likewise.
Group disap­
proval is also a powerful factor and will often obtain a
beneficial reaction from a certain type of student,
A different kind of group approval is that which
makes public appearance such a powerful motivating factor.
Here it is the approval of the audience which is sought, not
for the individual, but for the entire ensemble.
A student
whose interest has really been aroused will have a feeling of
pride in the work of his organization and a sense of loyalty
which will demand that he do his part in making the public
appearances of his group a real success.
Anyone who has di­
rected a high school musical group will attest to the tremen­
dous motivating power of a public appearance.
The conductor
must insist that the group do everything within its power to
put oh a performance which will obtain group approval from
the audience.
With this as its objective, any group will do
better work.
The one danger to guard against is making pub­
lic appearances when not adequately prepared.
After a few of
these, the conductor will find the ensemble becoming accustomed
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to lower standards of performance and much of the motivation
for tetter work inspired by the public appearance will be
ing mastery.
The price which comes from a sense of incr
According to Mursell and Glenn:
It has been conclusively shown that learners
always do better if they have before them an ob­
jective record of their own progress.... In other
types of school work this Is one of the great argu­
ments for frequent testing. In music, however, it
is a good deal harder to apply the principle. Here
we see the great danger of mere amiability on the
part of the teacher. It is very important for her
to take a positive and appreciative attitude, and
to avoid scolding and fault finding. But it is
quite equally important for her to remain effec­
tively and wisely critical.
And again:
That is to say, we want a positive tendency, a
tendency to look for and appreciate good work,
rather than a tendency to look for and blame
poor work. Part of the art of teaching lies in
taking this point of view without at the same time
sacrificing standards, and relapsing into a totally
uncritical geniality. When this tendency emerges,
the value of a helpful attitude is eliminated, for
then the pupils have no real idea whether they are
doing well or badly, and the will to learn is
lulled to sleep by indiscriminate praise. In gen­
eral, we would suggest that the teacher should look
for and appreciate effort and willingness rather
than pay somewhat insincere compliments to a musi­
cal result which in and of itself may be rather
mediocre. 2
J. Mursell and M. Glenn, The Psychology of School Music
Teaching, p. 95.
Ibid.. p. 95.
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The conductor is responsible for seeing that each
student is proceeding according to a plan which will enable
increasing mastery to be obtained*
This will obviously re­
quire that weak points are pointed out as well as strong
points for it is only by recognizing weaknesses that they can
be overcome.
When a weakness is pointedout, a remedy must be
Then as increasing mastery is developed, the con­
ductor should comment on it as recognition of work well done.
It is quite important also, that the increased ability be felt
and recognized by the student himself and by other members
of the ensemble.
In such a situation we have the three moti­
vating factors of approval of the conductor, approval of the
group, and sense of increasing mastery all being utilized at
the same time*
Long practice periods are less effective than
more numerous shorter periods.
This is an important psy­
chological guide in scheduling rehearsals.
Many instrumental
groups and some vocal groups hold long, tiring rehearsals,
the later part of which becomes a struggle between the con­
ductor and the members of the ensemble.
Very often more can
be done in a shorter rehearsal with more concentrated effort.
Every conductor is responsible for giving his students
suggestions about practicing.
One of the most Important of
these is that two thirty-minute practice periods a day will
usually be more beneficial than one period an hour in length.
However, periods must not be-so short that hard, concentrated
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work is Impossible.
Draw up a set of suggestions for maintaining discipline
in a high sciiool musical organization.
Draw up a plan for a rehearsal, indicating the time to be
spent on each number and the type of rehearsal procedure
to be used on each.
Which of the three methods of warming up do you prefer?
Give your experiences in their use*
If you had a total weekly rehearsal time of five hours
for one ensemble, how would you divide the time between
full and sectional rehearsals?
Analyze some of the more successful high school conductors
you know. What are some of their practices in regard to
the use of praise? Did they emphasize only the things
done well or did they emphasize the things done poorly?
About how long would you advise a high school ensemble
to rehearse at one time?
Suggestions for Further Study
N. Gain, Choral Music and Its Practice.
Witmark and Sons, 19327 Chapter K .
New York: M.
H. Coward, Choral Techniques and Interpretat ion. London:
Norello and Company,EEd., pp. 8-18 , 249-257.
W. E. Hendricks, Send Them Away Singing.
Journal, XXIII (May, 1937).
M. Hindsley, School Band aid Orchestra Administration.
New York: feoosey and Sawkes, Inc., 1940. Chapters
J. Mursell and M. Glenn, The Psychology of School Music
Teaching. New York: Silver, Burdett and Company,
l'93l. chapters III, IV.
G. Prescott and L. Chides-ter, Setting Results with School
Bands. New York: Carl Fischer, 1938. Chapters Vil,VlII.
Music Educators’
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The natural outcome of weeks and months of rehearsals
is the appearance of the ensemble before some public gather­
This may be considered to be of secondary importance
to the educational benefits derived from the training, but
is of tremendous importance, and plans for it should receive
as much of the conductor's attention as do his rehearsals.
The music groups must understand that they are unlike most
other activities in the school in that they are expected to
give freely of their time by singing and plying for the pub­
lic which is furnishing the opportunity for participation in
music work.
The music teacher often has to "sell" music to
the public, something not required of other departments*
means that results must be produced which will be heard and
appreciated by the community, and also requires that the
school music groups be exhibited to the public when community
activities call for them.
All public appearances are important, even though the
audience be extremely small*
All engagements must be care­
fully thought out and fulfilled in the most efficient manner.
The musical effect of the group is of extreme importance since
it is here that the greatest educational benefits are derived,
but there are non-musical details which must be attended to
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If the best complete impression is to be made*
The engagements which will have to be met vary in each
community, but they are sure to include appearance in parades,
at patriotic ceremonies, before clubs, societies and church
groups, at athletic games, and they will involve complete en­
sembles, small groups and soloists*
Each of these will pre­
sent special problems in the proper selection of music, stag­
ing, transportation, and many other details.
In addition to
this, the music department of the school will present fulllength concerts of its own and the problems met in planning
such a concert are so comprehensive that many of their solu­
tions can be adapted for use in the minor engagements already
Such plans will vary to a certain extent in each
situation, but there are enough problems common to all situa­
tions to make it worthwhile to consider them here.
This is
not presented as a complete set of plans to be followed ex­
clusively, but rather as a skeleton plan around which the
conductor can "think through" a complete and efficient plan
to fit any situation which may arise,
Pre liminary Plans
Probably the majority of high school concerts are
given jointly by all of the school music groups.
As the
music work progresses, it may be desirable for one group to
give an entire concert.
Plans for such a concert are much
easier to formulate since it. eliminates stage shifts and the
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necessity of dividing attention between several groups.
gardless of the type of concert being given, the following
details must receive consideration.
The appearance of the concert hall should be con­
Whenever the public is invited into a school build­
ing, it beeojoes the responsibility of the whole school to put
its best foot forward.
When the music department is putting
on a program, the quality of the musical performance is pre­
dominantly important but the appearance of the whole school
will be scrutinized and remarked on.
The auditorium in which
the concert is to be given should be emptied of all nonessentials which would detract from the appearance.
be meticulously clean as well.
It should
Simple decorations such as
flowers or Ivy and ferns can add greatly to the general at­
This may serve as a project which will fit into the
work of the art department or it may be done by members of the
musical group under the supervision of a cooperative faculty
A little ingenuity in the use of decorations can
create a favorable sfcmosphere for any school performance.
Lighting facilities on the stage should be carefully
Groups which rehearse during the day rarely use
lights and may neglect to experiment in order to find the most
effective lighting.
A stage which is too dark will detract
from the general appearance of a group and will be particularly
regret able when uniforms or rcbes are used which require a
particular kind of lighting in order to bring out the colors.
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When more than one group is used, It may he necessary to
switch the lighting for each group.
Temporary spot-lights
may need to he erected to eliminate shadows*
Appearance is
a major factor in a successful public performance of any kind
and lighting is a major factor in appearance.
Pianos in the auditorium should be carefully tuned
before a concert*
When an instrumental soloist is used, he
should tune to the piano before the concert so as to avoid
the embarrassment of getting up before the audience and find­
ing that the instrument cannot be tuned to the piano*
A group of students and faculty members should
be on hand to assist the conductor who should be free to give
all his attention to musical details*
The students may be used as ushers to whom specific
instructions will be given as to how to do their job.
should be responsible for closing doors before a number begins
and not admitting anyone unti^ the number is finished.
conductor would do well to mark a program for each usher, show­
ing where a pause will be made to admit late comers.
ing while people are walking up and down the aisles can be
eliminated in this way.
Ushers, with the assistance of a few
faculty members, can be made responsible for checking whis­
pering among the audience.
When the concert is being given by more than one en­
semble, it means that the conductor will need assistance from
the faculty members in supervising the group* not on the stage.
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A faculty member should be assigned to each group, remaining
with it up to the time they go on the stage and meeting them
as soon as they finish.
Any groups assigned to a section of
the auditorium after performing, must be supervised by a
faculty member.
The matter of dress presents a major problem un­
less the ensemble is uniformed or robed.
Since appearance is
so trsnendously important, every possible effort should be
made to obtain uniformity.
The glee clubs present the easiest
problem because satisfactory robes can be made by the members
at a very low cost.
In the spring, an all-white ensemble can
usually be provided by each individual member, but it is
usually unwise to insist upon wearing a costume which will
require new purchases.
If this is done, the conductor may
find some very valuable members missing at the concert, only
to find out later that they could not buy the necessary clothes
and were ashamed to show up without them.
When uniformity cannot be obtained and the student
may wear what he chooses, warning should be issued about avoid­
ing loud colors, red ties and hair ribbons, white socks, un­
shined shoes and other such common articles of wear seen in
every high school.
Ensemble work requires subordination of
the individual in performance and in appearance.
When uniforms are used there may still be difficulties
because some student lacks a complete uniform or do not have
the uniform pressed and clean.
Such troubles can be largely
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eliminated by having a uniform inspection the day of the
concert and then leaving them hung carefully in the school*
This will eliminate having them forgotten or ruined by rain
the night of the concert*
The final rehearsal is the last contact the con­
ductor has with his group and he should draw up a list of final
directions which may be mimeographed and handed out to each
member at the start of the rehearsal.
The group can then go
over this list and ask any necessary questions*
Included in
this list will be:
(a) Tine and place to meet; where to leave instru­
ments, cases, music, and clothes at all times.
(b) Directions for warming up and tuning.
If the
orchestra is appearing, the help of a good string player
should be obtained for tuning.
If this is not possible, it
is well to have the orchestra open the program so they can be
tuned by the conductor before the concert starts.
which are tuned and then wait an hour before playing will be
badly out of tune again.
(c) Entrances and exits should be reviewed.
several groups are participating this must be worked out very
carefully beforehand so as to eliminate any unnecessarily
long waits between groups.
(d) If the group is to be seated in the auditorium
after performing, the exact location must be given and seats
roped off.
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(e) Stage managers must know just how many chairs and
music racks are needed and must have made plans for setting
up the stage for each group.
(f) Librarians must have plans made for passing out
and collecting music in the quickest possible way and should
announce their plans to the group.
Librarians should check
all music t-he afternoon of the concert to be sure none is
Music should be placed in the order in which it will
be played.
(g) instructions for acknowledging applause should be
If the entire group is to rise they should understand
this and any other method to be used.
Soloists in particular
must be taught to bow, gracefully and calmly.
The entire concert should be carefully timed so
that it is over within an hour and fifteen minutes to an
hour and thirty minutes after it begins.
This is usually
quite long enough for an amateur program of even the highest
It is far better to have a concert too short than
too long.
When several groups are joining to give a concert,
much of the time may be wasted by entrances and exits.
waits are very tiring to the audience and must be countered
into the total length of the program.
The acoustics of a concert hall should be given
special study by the conductor.
This means that each group
appearing in the concert must hold rehearsals in the audi­
torium so that the students will become accustomed to the con-
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ditions and so tbs conductor can make necessary adjustments.
The conductor who never bears bis groups from the vantage
point of the audience is courting disaster.
Some halls have
brilliant acoustics and volume must be cut down.
may magnify certain sections such as the bass drum and it
may reduce the sound of the back row.
It is often possible to correct some of these de­
fects b y covering hard walls with curtains or b y raising
front curtains and increasing the height of the stage.
Choral organizations may increase the effectiveness
in any auditorium by using raised platforms, each row being
at least six inches higher than the one in front of it.
In closing this section on Planning the Concert, the
conductor should be warned again that the non-musical details
of planning can add to or detract from the musical program,
and so require meticulous attention.
The Program
When any school group appears in public, it is ex­
hibiting what has been done in the rehearsal.
The primary
aim of any school organization must of necessity be educa­
The music which is used in rehearsals should be chosen
with this in mind rather than with the aim of public enter­
It is possible, however, by exercising a great deal
of care, to realize both aims.
Music can be found which is
so worthwhile as to deserve Inclusion in an educational program
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and still be extremely entertaining for the audience.
A well-
rounded program demands variety and do does a well-rounded
There must be light moments in the rehearsal when
music of an amusing character is used which will later add
much zest to the program.
A complete concert of this type of
music would be just as unsatisfying as would a complete
serious program.
Suggestions relative to the building of a complete
band, orchestra, or choral program will be found in the Sug­
gestions for Reading found at the close of the chapter.
concert in which several groups must be programmed presents
additional problems and there are others which are peculiar
to the average high school group which will be given atten­
tion from here on.
When more than one group is appearing, the num­
bers to be rendered by each group must have the same unity
and variety as does an entire program.
Each unit must be
complete in itself.
When more than one group is appearing, considera­
tion should be given to the order of appearance.
This must
be decided by the ability of each group and its appeal to
the audience.
Having a weak group appear after a strong group
is not recommended for obvious reasons.
a brilliant ending are essentials.
A good opening and
Programming a vocal group
between two instrumental groups provides variety and a rest
for the instrumentalists.
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In arranging any school program, consideration
must be given to the endurance of the participants.
The com­
plete contemplated program should be gone through at one re­
hearsal to test the reaction of the group.
The conductor will
n6t ?wsni? to approach a difficult number near the end of a long
program only to discover that his group has become overtired
and is likely to break down.
This can easily happen with
immature vocalists and brass players.
It will usually be
found that the audience tires along with the players and so
It Is advisable to include the heaviest numbers in the first
half of the program and the lighter numbers in the final por­
This also implies that the final numbers should be less
lengthy than the initial numbers.
Numbers which tax the ensemble to the utmost in
rehearsals are usually dangerous to use in public appearances.
If they are used, a few easier numbers should precede them
to allow time for nervousness to disappear.
The use of any
easy opening number is highly recommended in any case for
just this reason.
Careful thought should be given to the selection
of a brilliant closing number.
Such a closing erases, to a
certain extent at least, memories of previous mishaps.
several groups are appearing, a joint number probably provides
the most thrilling climax.
When two groups are giving the concert, it is wise
to program an intermission between the two, allowing time for
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When three or more groups are participating, the time
needed for making shifts will provide intermission time, but
these had best not be programmed since they are too numerous.
If a program is carefully planned as a complete
unit, the use of encores will disrupt the unity and may best
be placed at the end of the regular program.
An excessive
number cf encores delivered on the slightest pretext detracts
from, rather than adds to, the total effect of the program,
The placing of high school soloists in the program
must receive thoughtful consideration.
A brass or vocal soloist
in particular should not be scheduled after a particularly
taxing ensemble number nor before a difficult number in which
the ensemble needs his support.
The question of endurance
also makes it advisable to schedule all soloists at a time
before fatigue has begun to set in.
The soloist often appre­
ciates being allowed to refrain from much participation in
the ensemble number directly preceding his appearance.
To thoroughly test his endurance, the program as
planned should be played through in a rehearsal and the soloist
permitted to appear before the ensemble.
This will also help
to develop confidence, especially if the ensemble members are
kind enough to lend encouragement.
Variety, unity, and effective arrangement are prime
essentials for any musical program.
Experience and study is
needed in order to become a good program builder.
There are many types of programs which can be used,
from the single sheet, mimeographed program, to the expensive
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covered program with cuts of the musical groups appearing
and program notes*
Financial restrictions will probably play
a part in the final selection, but an ingenious conductor can
make any program look effective if he can get the cooperation
of a good printer*
If at all possible, the personnel of each
participating group should be included, as the students like
this arrangement.
Information which should appear on all programs, in
addition to the musical numbers, include:
the school and or­
ganizations giving the concert, the city, the state and build­
ing in which the concert is being given, the date and time
of commencement, and the name of the conductor or conductors.
Attend a high school concert and report on the details
of planning which are noticeable to you as a member of
the audience. Make suggestions for improvements.
Draw up plans for decorating any high school auditorium
with which you are familiar. Give the exact cost of
your decorations.
Draw up a list of instruct ions for ushers.
Design a simple choral robe and figure its cost, giving
exact figures.
Draw up a list of final concert instructions to be given
to members of a high school organization with which you
are acquainted. Distinguish between the directions made
for that particular group and those which would apply to
any group giving a concert.
Collect a variety of high school concert programs and
study them. Then make suggestions for improvement. Es­
timate the cost of materials and cost of printing per
1,000 of several different types, consulting a printer
when possible.
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Suggestions for Study
N. Cain, Choral Music and It3 Practice. New York: M.
Witmark and Sons, I932• Chapter XIII.
K. W. Gehrkens, Essentials in Conducting.
Ditson Company, 1919. CEapter XTV*
E. F. Goldman, Band Betterment.
Inc., 1934. EEapter xtl.
H. P. Greene, InterpretatIon in Song. London: The Mac­
millan Company, Ltd., 193T7 Part V.
G. Prescott and L. Chidester, Getting Results with School
Bands. New York: Carl Fischer, Inc., 19^8"! Shapter
Boston: Oliver
New York: Carl Fischer,
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The major portion of the high school conductor’s job
has now been briefly covered.
There will be, however, a large
number of other duties stemming out directly from the main
job of conducting choral and instrumental groups.
duties may at times assume major importance and may consume
even more time than do the main rehearsals.
The mere fact
that a person can wield a baton will, at times, invite duties
which many conductors would be glad to be relieved of.
the most important and common of these miscellaneous duties
will be considered here and then very briefly, since they are
of such a comprehensive nature that much more space would
need to be assigned to them than can be afforded here.
conductor who finds himself faced with any of these duties
would do well to consult the bibliography at the end of this
Assembly Programs
The importance assigned to the assembly period varies
according to the school administrator.
To many it is the most
vital period of the school week while others think so little
of its value as to eliminate it entirely or to hold only a few
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during an entire school year.
Should the conductor obtain a position in a school
where the assembly is of major importance he should im­
mediately confer with the administrator and attempt to absorb
the aims of the period.
It is extremely important, for ex­
ample, to know whether the assembly period is conceived to
be primarily a recreational period with the emphasis on en­
tertainment, whether it is educational in the sense that the
emphasis is on giving Instruction, or whet lier it is a combina­
tion of both.
When there is no clear-cut philosophy formu­
lated by the school administrator, the conductor must of
necessity formulate his own.
It is certainly safe to say that
when assembly periods are scheduled, regardless of their aim,
the conductor will be called upon to perform certain duties.
The most important of these duties will be to lead
assembly singing.
This may call for one or two songs or it
may call for an entire period devoted to singing.
It is ob­
vious that in this type of work, problems are met which dif­
fer from those met in the smaller ensemble rehearsals.
one who has seen a good community song leader at work will
immediately be struck by the difference in attitude between
him and the usual choir conductor.
His sole aim seems to be
to create enthusiasm, to encourage a breaking down of reserve,
to getting everyone so happy and spirited that even the offkey singer forgets his self-consciousness and joins in the
Such must necessarily be his aim since he is working
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with a group, many of whom very rarely sing and so have small
or no interest in music.
The formal manner of the rehearsal
room would be utterly futile in creating an atmosphere con­
ducive to a successful assembly sing.
It is quite possible
for a person to be a very fine assembly sing conductor and
a weak conductor of the more refined specialized music groups
and even more possible that the successful specialized group
conductor may be a mediocre or poor assembly sing leader be­
cause of the personalities required for each.
When any extensive singing is done in the assembly,
music of some sort must be provided.
This is usually done
in the following three ways:
Using mimeographed copies of words only.
Projecting the music on a screen.
Furbishing complete song books.
The first method is only a makeshift because it implies that
melodies are already known or will be learned by rote and will
make part singing impossible, something which should be en­
couraged in even the most informal singing.
The accompaniment for assembly singing is of great
importance as a powerful accompaniment is usually needed in
order to promote full participation.
Students will often
join in when they find that the accompaniment is strong
enough to make their voices less conspicuous.
It is then
possible to tone down the accompaniment once the ice has
been broken.
The school orchestra would usually be the most
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satisfying accompaniment medium but lacking this, some of the
players can be used along with a competent pianist.
to say, rehearsals with the accompanying body must be held
before the assembly sing in order to set tempi, determine the
amount of introduction to be played for each number, the verses
to be sung, and other such details.
All groups, musical and non-musical, seem tc like to
follow a conductor.
The assembly sing should be conducted,
using enlarged motions, so definitely made that the group is
held together perfectly.
Variations in tempo and dynamics
should be used and their observance by the assembly obtained,
The Operetta
This is still cnae of the most popular types of musical
entertainment and in many schools it is a yearly event which
is the most important school activity of the year.
Much can
be said both for and against putting on an operetta, but when
the tradition has been established over a period of years,
there is nothing to do but follow along.
It is quite well
agreed that the operetta is a splendid tonic for putting life
into a music department which has been dormant.
It creates
tremendous enthusiasm among the students and parents and does
not depend on long-range development for its production as
do the specialized vocal and instrumental groups.
The conducting problems created are not new, only
slightly different.
It is necessary to synchronize the
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chorus, soloists, and accompaniment and when this is fur­
nished by the inexperienced school orchestra, the conductor
will have his hands full*
Great care should be used in selecting an operetta*
The music and text of the majority of operettas suitable for
school use are quite inferior.
Such operettas are hardly
worthy of the great amount of time and energy which must be
spent on them in order to give a satisfactory public per­
The conductor who must present an operetta should
study with great care the books on the subject listed at the
close of this chapter.
The lurching Band
The band conductor will, in almost all instances, be
responsible for developing a marching band of varying degrees
of proficiency.
There are rare instances when another instruc­
tor in the school who has a knowledge of military routine will
take over the drilling of the band, making the conductor res­
ponsible only for selecting and working out music to fit each
special occasion.
Obviously there is no connection between
conducting and marching drill,
3eeause of this, the conductor
who is in charge of this work must have special training,
either obtained by experience in a marching band, or by study­
ing what has been said by inarching band authorities.
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Student Conductors
High school students enjoy conducting and can he taught
to do quite a satisfactory job, at least in respect to the de­
velopment of baton technique.
The conductor should offer
help to those whose talent and interest warrant it.
enough skill has been developed, opportunities for public
appearances should be provided.
Many minor appearances of
the school ensembles can be handled efficiently by a student
Every public concert might well feature at least
one or two of the easier numbers conducted by a student.
One of the most valuable contributions which the stu­
dent conductor can make comes before the important public
The conductor himself should at several rehearsals
before the concert, listen to his groups from a seat in the
This cannot be recommended too strongly as it
is only in thiw way that a clear concept of how the groups
sound to the audience can be formed.
The student conductor
can be put in charge of the group while the conductor is
doing the listening.
The conductor will soon realize Shat he
has been amply repaid for the time spent in training the stu­
dent by just this service alone.
Pre-High School Music
This may not be a direct responsibility of the high
school conductor but it bears such an important relationship
to his work that some mention of it should be made.
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The ultimate success of the high school music program
depends not only upon the ability of the conductor but also
upon the background in music established by the students be­
fore entering high school.
This is true of all phases of both
vocal and instrumental music.
It is the pre-high school train­
ing •which develops understanding, skills and interest, or
their opposites.
The high school conductor must therefore in­
terest himself not only in seeing that there is some musical
instruction in the earlier years, but that it be of the type
to lead to desirable outcomes.
A poor program leading to the
formation of bad habits and negative interest will do more
harm than good.
A strong program of grade school vocal music would
probably be the first step in developing a background condu­
cive to a more successful high school music program.
Such a
program is of immeasurable value for both the instrumental
and vocal programs.
The instrumentalists who have gained a
knowledge of the musical score and have learned to express
their musical feelings In singing will have laid a fine foun­
dation for good instrumental performance.
When there is a good pre-high school music program,
the high school conductor should be acquainted with the teach­
ing approaches used and the kind and amount of work covered.
It is only in this way that he can intelligently build on what
has already been done and it is only through such correlated
effort that the most satisfactory results can be realized in
the high school music program.
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Problems for Discussion
Make a list of ideas to be used in planning a musical
assembly program,
Draw up a list of scngs to be used in an assembly sing.
Indicate which ones are to be used primarily for their
educational value and those which are used primarily
for their entertainment value. Criticize each list from
the standpoints of variety and interest, and each song
with regard to range and text,
What uses would you make of a public address system and
a movie projector in the assembly program?
What departments in the school should cooperate in pre­
senting an operetta? Why?
7/hat are the educational values of a marching band? Are
these values more closely related to the music department
or the physical education department? Is the marching
band largely justified by the training it affords its
members or by its "spectator appeal?"
If you were in charge of a high school instrumental program
and found that there had been no pre-high school music,
would you attempt to establish vocal or instrumental work
first? Why? Is your training as an instrumentalist such
that you could help set up a grade vocal music program?
Suggestions for Further Study
Assembly Programs
Beattie, McConathy, and Morgan, Music in the Junior High
School, New York: Silver, Burdett and Company, 1§50.
BISpler XIV.
K.V/, Gehrkens, Music in the Junior High School. Boston:
G. C, Birchard and- Company, Y9&6. Chapter V,
T, P. Giddings and E. L, Baker, High School Music Teaching.
Appleton, Y/isccnsin: E. ij. Baker, 1928. Chapter II.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Operetta Production
F. Beach, Preparation and Presentation of the Operetta.
Boston: Oliver Ditsom Company, 1930.
Jones and Wilson, Musico-Dramatic Production.
Gamble-Hinged Music Company.
W. J. Watkins, Producing a School Operetta, Music Educa­
tor's Journal. XXIV, (September, 1937), p. 43.
The Marching Band
R. F. Dvorak, The Band on Parade.
Inc., 3-957. life pp.
New York: Carl Fischer,
M. Hindsley, The Marching Band.
nal, XVII (December, 1930).
M. Hindsley, Band Attention. Chicago:
Music Company, 1§32. Sf3 pp.
Music Supervisors' Jour­
Pre-High School Music
See references 1 and 2 under Assembly Programs.
K. W. Gehrkens, Ku3ic in the Grade Schools.
Birchard and Company, 193Tl 233 pp.
T. P. Giddings, Grade School Music Teaching.
C. H. Conzdon, 1919^ 2fe7 pp.
Boston: C. C.
New York:
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