Techniques of Orchestral Conducting by Ilia Musin

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The best English translation of the conducting methodology of Professor Ilia Musin, the creator of the “Leningrad/St. Petersburg school of conducting. Musin was an internationally known innovator in advanced conducting techniques. This book makes available, for the first time, to English-speaking conducting students, pedagogues, and professional conductors, access to Ilia Musin’s legacy. It is a paragon in the fundamental analyses of the advanced techniques of the art of conducting. A must have book for anyone in this specialized field.


Ilya Aleksandrovich Musin Musin, Ilya [Ilia] Aleksandrovich (6 January 1904 [old style: 24 December 1903] Kostroma – St. Petersburg 6 June 1999). Soviet/Russian conductor and pedagogue. He studied conducting under Nicolai Malko and Aleksandr Gauk. In 1934, Ilya Musin became an assistant of Fritz Stiedry, Music Director of the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1932, Ilya Musin was invited to teach orchestral conducting at the Leningrad Conservatory, a post which he retained until his death in 1999. Ilya Musin was the creator of the school of conducting known as the “Leningrad/St. Petersburg school of conducting.” “Although praised for innovations in conducting technique, Musin considered himself tied to 19th-century Russian musical principles. By all account, he was a rigorous but beloved teacher with enormous respect for music and its inherent integrity.” (Sadie, New Grove, 2nd ed., (2001), vol. 17, 541.) Ilya Musin students included Rudolf Barshai, Semyon Bychkov, Martyn Brabbins, Sian Edwards, Valery Gergiev, Arnold Katz, Leonid Korchmar, Vassily Sinaisky, and Yuri Temirkanov.

Table of Contents

Translator’s Foreword
Chapter 1: Body Posture

The Functions of the Parts of the Arm
The Baton
Chapter 2: The Conductor’s Basic Movements (Preliminary Exercises)
Exercises for the Development of Wrist Movements
Exercises for Forearm Movements
Exercises for the Development of Shoulder Movements
Development of Legato Gestures
Chapter 3: Patterns of Conducting
Patterns of Conducting of Mixed Meters
Mixed Meters and Choosing of the Patterns
Conducting of Complex Asymmetrical Measures
Using Reduced Conducting Pattern
Chapter 4: The Upbeat
The Complete Preparatory Upbeat
Preparation for Performance of the Upbeat
and Characteristic of Its Movement
One-Pattern Tripled Upbeat
Upbeats for Beats of an Incomplete Measure
Definition of Tempo
Designation of the Sound’s Strength by the Upbeat
Suspended Upbeat
The Upbeat and the “Texture” of Sound
The Incomplete Upbeat (An Upbeat to a Partial Beat)
Types of Beginnings with Partial Beats
The Role of the Rebound in the Indication of a Partial Beat
Errors Occurring During the Indication of a Partial Beat
Chapter 5: The Intermediary Upbeat
The Definition of the Initial Moment of a Beat within a Measure
The Converted Upbeat
The Definition of Tempo and Inner Flow of the Rhythm
The Execution of Deceleration
Changes in Dynamics
The Incomplete Upbeat within the Measure
The Syncopated Beat
Chapter 6: The Preparatory Upbeat within the Measure
New Intermediary Upbeat
The Emphasized Upbeat
Special Instances of the Emphasized Upbeat’s Application
The Emphasized Upbeat to a Partial Beat
Chapter 7: The Projection of the Rhythmical Structure of the Beat
Doubled Suspended Rhythmically Contingent Rebound
Non-suspended Rhythmically Contingent Rebound (Doubled)
Tripled Rhythmically Contingent Rebound
Tripled Non-Suspended Rhythmically Contingent Rebound
Transitioning from Various Rhythms
Chapter 8: The Recitative and Accompaniment at the Opera
Indication of Pauses
The Termination of Sound
Accompaniment at the Opera
Chapter 9: The Fermata
Classification of Fermatas
1st Category – Fermata before a Complete Beat
2nd Category – Fermata before an Incomplete Beat
Combination of Various Fermatas
Fermata Locating on One Part of the Beat
Pauses after Fermata
Fermata Located on a Pause
Caesura over the Bar Line
Chapter 10: The Projection of Rhythmical and Textural Correlations Between Sounds

Semantic Correlations between Staccato Notes
The Expressiveness of Gestures
Chapter 11: About the Left Hand
Functions of the Left Hand
Technical Functions of the Left Hand
Expressive Functions of the Left Hand
Expressive Attributes of the Left Hand
The Development of Left Hand Technique
Raising and Lowering of the Left Hand (Vertical Movement)
Movements of Hands in the Horizontal Plane
Arch-like Motions
Circular Movements
‘The Eight’
Poly-metric Movements of Both Hands
Chapter 12: Expressive Motions
Chapter 13: The Rehearsal
Chapter 14: The Suggested Plan of Beginning Studies
Afterword: About a Mundane Approach towards Technique of Conducting
Translated Terminology of Ilia Musin

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