Musicians following the baton!

Herbert von Karajan, Ievgueni Mravinski and George Szell have all distinguished themselves through their remarkable interpretations of musical works.

To obtain the tempo, sound and interpretation of a piece as notated in the musical score, a conductor must possess a profound understanding of the repertoire and an impeccable conducting technique.

This research is contributing to the emergence of a new generation of conductors.

Paolo Bellomia, research professor of Orchestral Conducting at Université de Montréal, conducted in-depth research on the gestures of orchestral conductors and their impact on the sound produced by the musicians.

To do this, orchestral conductors were filmed while conducting large orchestras, using several cameras in order to obtain a three-dimensional image of their movements. 

These 3D images permitted a close study of the irregular rhythms, speed, anatomy, geometrical quality and gravitational laws of each gesture, permitting a scientific analysis of orchestral conducting gestures. Bellomia's research confirms that the precision of the conductor's gestures determines the quality of the sound, a result that has become a world reference in orchestral conducting studies.

In addition, this research is contributing to the emergence of a new generation of conductors: extracts from films are now shown during master classes, providing concrete examples of possible solutions to certain difficulties encountered in orchestral conducting.

Paolo Bellomia is currently working on identifying the various methods of conducting without a baton by analysing the techniques of Pierre Boulez, one of the greatest composers and conductors of our time.