How to Write about Conducting
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How to Write about Conducting book
This chapter explores some of the metalanguages that are available to write about conductor gesture and choral sound, and assesses their respective advantages and disadvantages. These metalanguages have been developed both within musicology and further afield, particularly in the study of nonverbal communication. The two primary criteria for assessment are their user-friendliness in presentational terms, and their completeness and accuracy; that is, their value to readers and scholars respectively. A variant on ethnotheory is the work of conductor-scholars, that is, researchers who position their studies within an academic context, but who are themselves also practitioners. A more generalist approach to ethnotheory would use interpretive musical vocabulary to describe gestures, for example, 'a sweeping, legato gesture'. The idea of an 'objective' descriptive notation for conducting echoes in its aspiration for completeness and accuracy the notional Labanotation, but would use anatomical descriptions rather than analytical/interpretive categories.