A leader is a Musicien charged to coordinate the play of the symphonic instrumentalists Orchestre S , of jazz, of harmony or brass band. Its task consists, on the technical shutter, to make coherent the play of the whole of the musicians by his gestural, in particular in a their imposing common pulsation. On the artistic shutter, it is with him that returns the task to direct the interpretation works, a process which extends starting from the choice from the repertory, of the first repetition until the final representation.
Arturo Toscanini said in substance: " The leader is a prism, a kind of diamond, by which passes the beams of all individualities of the orchestre". In the same way, if the Director is with the theatrical text an intermediary with the service of the Dramaturge, the leader is with orchestral work an intermediary with the service of the Compositeur.
Function and work of the leader
The leader can be permanent or invited . In the first case, a contract binds it to the orchestra with which it must carry out a certain number of concerts or recordings in the year. It also takes part in the administration of the phalange, recruitments of the novel members and establishes his program. The chief invited is it only for one short period corresponding to the repetitions and the execution of one or some concerts.
The work itself of the leader is divided into three phases: the preparation, the repetition , and the performance .
Phase of preparation
During this phase, the leader acquires a great knowledge and a great comprehension of the work to be directed. One could say that it is the part “ structurante ” of its work.
The chief conscientiously analyzes the structure of the piece of music, his harmonic construction and his musical gasoline. He withdraws a kind of “  of it; center lecture ”, that one calls the “ interpretation ”. It is generally a personal vision, a manner of including the work of another. A good interpretation translates with more close the intentions Compositeur, by exploiting to the maximum the freedoms left to the interpreters, precisely.
From this comprehension, the leader then seeks to learn and integrate the gestures which will as well as possible communicate to the musicians of the orchestra the thought of the type-setter.
Phase of repetition
After this phase of preparation, the chief is ready to make work the work by the Musicien S. It is generally the organizer of the plan of repetition: timing , section of partition to be worked more particularly, research of the balance of the sound… It also can, for example, to convene the whole of the orchestra, or the separated desks, like winds on a side and cords of the other. If work to be interpreted comprises a Soliste, it generally makes work the orchestra alone before the arrival of the soloist in order to seek an overall sound and a musical coherence. At the end of the day, it must obtain the its desired, exact interpretation that it wished to reach.
This phase, like the following phase, requires as many musical qualities than of qualities of communication with the musicians who compose the orchestra: gestural communication and diplomacy, human good relationship in order to reduce any stress.
Phase in concertIn phase of concert , the leader has several tools to communicate with his musicians, the main thing being his gestures. Its arms indicate principalement :
- the principal Tempo (speed), and its variations;
- the measurement;
- startings of each Soloist S and Desk S;
- the nuance S;
- the harmonic progressions;
- and any other facet of communicable work in one way or another by the gesture.
The leader does not neglect therefore his facial expression, which will be able to indicate subtleties supplémentaires : character of the movement, moderates or general atmosphere of work.
In concert, the chief is thus capable of “ corriger ” the rough interpretation emitted by the musicians, on line and discreetly… since it generally turns the back on the public. The chief will be able to also catch up with a shift - rhythmic, or concerning the accuracy - at the time when this one intervenes.
The leaders are generally trained in conservatory: the formation includes/understands courses of Harmonie, of Solfège, Orchestration, practice in front of the orchestra and Pédagogie.
The stick of direction, used during the time baroque, left the place to the white rod, of which the use is not any more systematic.
An orchestra without chief?This situation is current in the small units (chamber orchestra) but is not conceivable for greater units. On the other hand, the role of leader can be cumulated with that of soloist (for a Concerto typically), to see, with the first instrumentalist of a desk (frequent case for the Baroque music).
Let us note that during several years, an orchestra without chief existed in the ex-U.S.S.R. of 1922 to 1932, the " Persimfans" (" Per viy Simf onicheskiy Ans paces Dirizhora" in Russian). Its provision was particular: the musicians met of kind to form a circle of musicians, some having to turn the back on the public. The largest musicians of the time collaborated with them, and this unit claimed repetitions enormously.
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