Gestural Analysis and Classification of a Conductor’s Movements

Guerino Mazzola, René Guitart, Jocelyn Ho, Alex Lubet, Maria Mannone, Matt Rahaim, Florian Thalmann

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Gestures can be studied as the connection of discrete points by continuous paths. In the gesture of the orchestral conductor, the points connected by the gestural path correspond to metric movements of time represented in space. Here, we will study the gestures of the conductor referring to some concept of homotopy theory. The basic metric gesture is a regular and symmetric spanning of the space between points. Musical interpretation modifies the form of these regular gestures, changing their time, velocity, energy, amplitude and directionality. Thus, the most important information for performance contained in the orchestral score can be described by gestures. The conductor can also, through his gesture, add elements not explicitly contained in the score. The conductor’s gestures anticipate and continuously prepare the gestures of each musician in the orchestra in a hierarchical structure that corresponds to the structure of the score: from the general form to the articulation of each single note. In the first part of this chapter, we will discuss a case of study. In the second part, we will give some mathematical hints for a precise description of conducting gestures. In the third part, we will see an example of technology applied to conducting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationComputational Music Science
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages9
StatePublished - 2017

Publication series

NameComputational Music Science
ISSN (Print)1868-0305
ISSN (Electronic)1868-0313

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature.


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