This chapter examines a common tendency to assign the status of musical gestures to conventional musical motives. Considerable scepticism has been expressed in recent scholarship about the mapping from structure to performance that was once considered to be ideal in the musicological literature. Clearly the interpretative practice of performers of Western art music involves a good deal more than translating notated symbols, theoretical constructs and analytical findings into sound, just as listening is not simply a matter of the 'structural hearing' valorized by certain authors. The dynamic structures underlying and generated within performed music potentially operate at numerous hierarchical levels. Both shape and shaping are key concepts in this chapter and of signal importance to musicians more generally. One of the ways in which performers give music a sense of shape in time is by devising a hierarchy of temporally defined musical gestures from the small to the large scale.