Page:Essentials in Conducting.djvu/83
and it is only through rhythm that they become vital- ized. In order to have interesting performances of choral and orchestral music the conductor must see to it that the performers play or sing all rhythmic figures correctly, that long tones are sustained for their correct duration, and that in general the musical performance be permeated by that steady throb of regular pulsation which is the foundation of all rhythmic coherence.
Modern musical rhythm is so complex in its frequent employment of syncopations, "cross accents," el cetera, that the prospective conductor must study indefatigably if he is to unravel its apparently inextricably snarled-up threads. We assume, however, that detailed study of rhythm has constituted a part of the student's work in piano, singing, et cetera, and shall therefore not attempt to treat the matter further. Let us advise the would-be conductor, however, to continue his study of rhythm and phrasing unceasingly and never to allow himself to be deluded into believing that an accurate knowledge of these things is less necessary now than formerly. It has seemed to us that some public performers of the present day were cloaking their inability to play or sing with rhythmic accuracy under a pretense of being highly artistic and flexible in their rhythmic feeling. Needless to say, the existence of such a state of affairs is to be greatly deplored and the student is admonished to make sure that he is able to perform every detail of his music with metronomic accuracy before he attempts rubato effects.
MELODY, HARMONY, The second, third, and fourth of the elements of expression as cited in our list on page 46 belong almost wholly to the composer since he is able to indicate them pre- cisely, and the conductor's chief concern in dealing with melody, harmony, and pitch registers will be to make certain that the composer's wishes are carried out to