Effects of Conducting Plane on Band and Choral Musicians Perceptions of Conductor and Ensemble Expressivity


The purpose of this study was to examine whether one aspect of conducting technique, the conducting plane, would affect band and/or choral musicians perceptions of conductor and ensemble expressivity. A band and a choral conductor were each videotaped conducting 1-min excerpts from Morten Lauridsens O Magnum Mysterium while using a high, medium, and low conducting plane. These six videos then were synchronized with an appropriately corresponding identical high-quality band or choral audio excerpt. College ensemble members (N = 120; band, n = 60; choral, n = 60) viewed all six videos and rated the expressivity of both the conductor and the ensemble. Through the use of a forced-choice task, they also provided one brief comment about either the conductor or the ensemble. Results indicated that conducting plane significantly affected ratings of both conductor and ensemble expressivity. A significant interaction was found between conducting plane (high, medium, and low) and ensemble type (band or choir audio excerpt heard) with regard to conductor expressivity ratings. Participants found the choir conductor conducting at the medium plane to be slightly more expressive than the band conductor conducting at the same plane. Conversely, participants rated the expressivity of the band conductor slightly higher than the choir conductor at both the high and low conducting planes. Participants written comments were directed predominantly at the conductor rather than the ensemble, and the high-conducting-plane videos elicited the most negative comments.

Publication Title

Journal of Research in Music Education