Anyone understand orchestral music why do they need a conductor

Dave7

Legendary Member
Location
Cheshire
I was just watching the BBC orchestra playing Holts Planet Suite.
The conductor looked like he was having a fit.......he was going crazy with his baton.
BUT.....I couldn't see any member of the orchestra actually looking at him.
So.......is he really needed ?
what does he really do ?
 

HMS_Dave

Grand Old Lady
Location
Midlands
They are actually balloon men. Here is a few caught practicing before a big gig

tenor.gif
 

MntnMan62

Über Member
Location
Northern NJ
I think the primary reason is to be able to set the tempo and keep everyone right on beat. Also, along the same vein, the conductor has to cue pauses or stops and starts in the music to keep the entire orchestra together. That's my view as someone who played in high school concert band. There may be other reasons as well.
 

MontyVeda

a short-tempered ill-controlled small-minded troll
a few years back there was a series on R4 about conductors... some are so flamboyant in their conducting style that the orchestra mostly ignores them and just follows the sheet music :laugh: However some pieces, such as Ravel's Bolero with its ever increasing tempo, the conductor is essential to ensure the entire ensemble speed up in unison.
 

Ian H

I am an ancient randonneur, & I stop often for tea
Location
East Devon
Most of the conductor's work is in rehearsals.
 
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Seevio

Veteran
Location
South Glos
However some pieces, such as Ravel's Bolero with its ever increasing tempo, the conductor is essential to ensure the entire ensemble speed up in unison.
While the general point holds, Ravel's Bolero is supposed to be a steady tempo all the way through. If it gets faster, the conductor is not doing their job.
 

Profpointy

Legendary Member
While the general point holds, Ravel's Bolero is supposed to be a steady tempo all the way through. If it gets faster, the conductor is not doing their job.
Whilst I've never played it, regardless of the conductor, surely the snare drum is the tempo and everyone else better keep with that
 
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