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conducting 2/4 or 6/8 is the most awkward conducting patterns i can ever do, even more so than 5/8. i'm just not good at doing it well.

i think it has a lot to do with the fact that the ichtus of both 1 and 2 are in the same spot and (at least the way i was taught choral conducting back in the day) to give proper weight and motion to 2, it should peak at a level that's lower than 1 but still high enough to be the most clear about where the plane is. Resultingly, the motion is so similar that it takes an effort to ensure that your 1 and 2 don't look too similar without sacrificing the clarity of each motion. That's why it's easier to do 5/8; since the motion of each beat is different, you have more margin for error to make up for poorer technique.

and in fact i know many conductors that cheat 2/4 or 6/8 by treating it with a similar sort of irregularity. Not one that distorts the beat, but one that distorts the level of gravity that's applied to each beat. the gravity of beat 2 is much lower and has more 'hang time' at the top of its beat, and sometimes also more sideways, an angle greater than 45 degrees from the initial ichtus drop.

subconsciously i'm aware that i do this too, and it bothers me just because i can be very anal about that sort of thing. I blame my conducting prof, who was very picky about what we did in the class. it makes me want to practice conducting in front of a mirror and make sure that i'm consistent in how i approach the weight of beat 2, because both the trained way and the untrained way feel right to me, so i don't even know what i'm doing when i'm the throes of conducting a piece and concentrating on everything else.

The other thing that i noticed when i was conducting earlier was that there were points during broad loud sections that i allowed my ichtus point to drop too low. my choral conductor would admonish me for doing that because of how he said it subconsciously affects the way that singers are approaching things with their throat. Whether i think that's true for instrumental stuff or not, it does potentially put that ichtus point below the sightline of some of the players, and that's something that i don't want to do. But neither do i want the whole "frame" to go too high because that also causes tone quality issues, creates too much distraction, &c.

The frame is really what it's about. I think i need to go back to understanding how to conduct different tempos within the defined plane that i started with, and then how to emphasize things still within that plane. Once i get reacquainted with that, i can start to vary it to the point where i can move the plane around a little and break the plane in a way that still keeps the communication of said plane clear enough to not detract from the musical thought.

we'll see how much time i have to do that. i may not be able to get it perfectly, but i bet i can find ways to improve.

just babbling out loud some of the stuff in my head based on my analysis of conducting this evening. good to put down so that i can come back to it for reference for when i'm trying to find ways to improve.

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March 2017