Gestural Analysis and Classification of a Conductor’s Movements
Gestures can be studied as the connection of discrete points by continuous paths. In the gesture of the orchestral conductor, the points connected by the gestural path correspond to metric movements of time represented in space. Here, we will study the gestures of the conductor referring to some concept of homotopy theory. The basic metric gesture is a regular and symmetric spanning of the space between points. Musical interpretation modifies the form of these regular gestures, changing their time, velocity, energy, amplitude and directionality. Thus, the most important information for performance contained in the orchestral score can be described by gestures. The conductor can also, through his gesture, add elements not explicitly contained in the score. The conductor’s gestures anticipate and continuously prepare the gestures of each musician in the orchestra in a hierarchical structure that corresponds to the structure of the score: from the general form to the articulation of each single note. In the first part of this chapter, we will discuss a case of study. In the second part, we will give some mathematical hints for a precise description of conducting gestures. In the third part, we will see an example of technology applied to conducting.
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