Percuotere o dirigere

Percuotere o dirigere

Have you ever wondered what the conductor is for if the musicians have the score in front of them? The answer is a question: how could 60 or 80 musicians attack the first note simultaneously? It depends solely and exclusively on the conductor's gesture.

The moments of absolute silence that precede the beginning of the sound serve him to focus on the progression or rather the metronomic speed of the piece about to be performed, and the musicians to tune in perfectly to his movement.

This gesturality made up of many nuances, an exclusive code between orchestra and conductor, continues for the entire duration of the piece, providing dynamic excursions dictated by the amplitude of the baton's movement, by the incalzare of the same in the accelerando, in the sospensioni, in the rallentando and so on until the finale.

The role of the drummer

When attending a jazz, rock or pop concert, it can happen that one is attracted to the drummer, that figure behind the cymbals and drums who beats the rhythm and who often performs a solo before the end of the concert.

What exactly is your role within a band or large orchestra? The same proponents of 'how I would have liked to play the drums when I was a boy' may never have asked themselves this question.

What strikes the layperson is the dexterity in beating drums and cymbals at speed, thus attracting attention. In reality, this is a secondary, albeit fascinating, aspect; the decisive role is that of marking time with fluidity and authority, giving precise references in tempo and dynamic changes, while at the same time adopting sonorities in keeping with the musical style.

Drumming also sticks to a musical score with exclusively rhythmic and not melodic references as it does not have drums that pruduce notes with a precise pitch. All seemingly easy when you watch a good drummer play.

Drummer and Conductor

The symphony orchestra has a percussion section generally equipped with symphonic timpani, which, unlike the drums of a drum kit, tune themselves by producing precise notes, xylophone, bass drum cymbals and various effects. But what happens when there are two 'conductors', as in the case of rhythm-symphony orchestras with drummers such as those often seen in festival concerts or on television?

After the beginning of the piece, the rhythmic development is entrusted to the drummer who has the task of supporting this large ensemble like a sort of pillar, playing in a regular manner and thus putting the whole orchestra at ease, always under the watchful eye of the conductor who with small gestures suggests certain interpretative nuances dictated at times by a contingent emotional fact.

Video of the Christmas Concert at the Vatican, year 2017, with Patti Smith.

On drums Salvatore Corazza with the big orchestra.


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