[Dixielandjazz] Keeping Time - Conductors - Band set-up

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Thu Mar 31 13:02:26 PST 2005

Gordon, GWW174 at aol.com wrote (polite snip)

> By Jove, I think F.R. MJ Mike has hit upon something I never thought
> about..... The conductor's roll of swinging his hands around evolved from the
> fact 
> that the orchestra was spread out with members more than 50 foot apart from
> each 
> other.  Who's beat was on the mark?  Who had the REAL time?  Musicians were
> taught from an early age to not depend on their ears but the VISUAL cue from
> the 
> conductor was THE BEAT..... imagine that... man figured out a solution to the
> problem before stage monitors and headphones and electronics!

Yessir, Gordon, how else would those 150 piece marching bands in the Rose
Bowl parade keep proper time if they were not in synch with the conductor?
Those of us who played in large High School or College Marching Bands
learned not to listen to the sounds coming from 100 feet away, but to play
on the time of the baton. Otherwise, complete audio chaos.

With the drummer being the baton in a small jazz band, this is why John
Petters (I think) and I prefer the drums in the middle between chord
instrument and bass, and why most of us in small bands prefer close,
acoustic, set-ups.

Steve Barbone

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