What Are The Factors That Contribute To An Ensemble Sound?

There are many factors that contribute to an ensembles’ sound. Most of which we spend our musical lives practicing; things like tone, vowels, diction, ect. As we begin to make the transition from ensemble member to leader we are thrown yet another contributing factor to sound: conducting. The art of conducting is a continuously growing set of skills for an individual. Many of the greatest conductors have spent decades perfecting their craft and creating their style, while building their musicality. One element that sets apart the greatest of conductors is expressivity. Proper expressive gesture can influence not only audience perception of an ensemble, but also the ensemble sound. The notion that expression can influence ensemble sound …show more content…
Again I would like to refer back to our use of physiological and psychological variables, but this time link them to conducting factors by conjoining physiological factors to technical and psychological to expressive factors. Gumm’s (2012) article relays six basic functions of conducting and how these functions relate to either technical or expressive aspects of conducting.
For technical aspects Gumm (2012) dictates three functions: Mechanical precision, physical technique, and unrestrained tone. Mechanical precision is basic conducting elements such as beat, time keeping, and meter (Gumm, 2012). While these elements are not strictly expressive it is necessary for an ensemble to have a clear understanding of them in order to create sound at all, let alone expressive
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Many of these gestures are non-verbal and can even be done without actual conducting. The power of eye-contact and facial expression are very closely linked to motivational functions in that they communicate with members of the ensemble on a more individualized basis. Musicians will take their own understanding of these non-verbal cues and adapt them into their understanding of the music. However it is still important to create unity in these cues as Gumm notes the main purpose of motivational functions is to “draw musicians into an intense connection that is spiritual, emotional, or mystical, keeping musicians on the same wavelength," (Gumm, 2012). Conductors can prefect these cues by including them within score study, incorporating them in the practice of conducting the score, and recording their effectiveness on ensemble members via

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