chapter  16
4 Pages

Breaking Rules

When and Why It Is Acceptable
ByHarold Rosenbaum

This chapter presents different scenarios and specific situations, plus advice and solutions for dealing with the uncommon and the atypical. Composers like Beethoven, Debussy, and Schoenberg altered and shaped history by breaking rules, and a wise conductor also knows when rules are meant to be broken. However, one should not break them just for the sake of doing so. An experienced conductor knows when to execute everything that appears on the page, as well as when to modify, or add to, the printed score for dramatic or technical purposes. In Monteverdi's Vespers, the word "magnificat" is assigned to five notes and is presented that way four times, each one with increasing volume, orchestration, and grandeur. The final "fi-cat," normally the weaker portion of the word, should be presented with appropriate power and majesty. In Baroque music, there are times when a bit more vibrato than the norm would be appropriate.