Request info about 'protocols' of a performance with instrumentalists

• Sep 22, 2022 - 20:06

My music degree was in Vocal/Choral K-12. As such, I have only marginal awareness of what happens WHEN, with instrumental ensembles. I'm creating a performance wherein music AND choreography (stage-business) is included. My impression is this:

1) the instrumentalists enter the stage, take their seats, perhaps warm up a bit
2) eventually the players taper-off their warm up, and somehow a time is given for all players to tune-up. Doesn't the oboe usually give the reference pitch?
3) the conductor enters, readies his music
4) when the conductor takes baton in hand or raises hand(s), all instrumentalists get their instruments ready to play
5) the conductor begins directing

Usually, the conductor steps onto a platform from which he is better seen by the players.

My project will have 'blocks' of music played, and between those blocks, there will be various silent interactions between the conductor & players. What I hope for is NO APPLAUSE at the end of each block. Meaning, do most audiences hold back applause until they see the conductor step off the platform?

My ensemble will be 10 players. This size group probably won't have any concert-master, or concert-mistress who shakes hands with the conductor, right?

If needed, I'll add questions based on feedback. Appreciated.


Interesting questions!

Your understanding seems basically in line with my experience. I'd add, the convention of using oboe to start tuning is mostly for orchestral settings, in others it could be the pianist or really just some random person with an electronic tuner.

As for audience reaction, well that depends more on the setting and what else is happening on stage. If it's other choreography / staging / dialogue, typically no applause until the end of show, or end of each act anyhow. But it's also not uncommon for spontaneous applause to happen if a particular piece is especially powerful. I'm not clear on what "various silent interactions between the conductor & players" might entail. If you mean, the actions of the conductor and players is the choreography, that's a kind of unusual thing, so hard to predict what to expect. In any case, a simple instruction to the audience at the beginning of the performance is not a bad idea.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

ALL feedback helps, Marc... So far, I've uploaded 4 "musician with choreography" pieces to my MS account.

My current project has a CONDUCTOR; all prior projects did not. As it is developing, there will be occasions where non-music actions happen between the conductor and the 5 members of "group 1", or the 5 members of "group 2", (they are physically divided on-stage). In all of these projects/performances, there is NO SPEAKING. All interactions are 'mime' or "stage-business".

Your comment of "simple instruction to audience at the beginning" is helpful. Because all these projects are about providing a "novel concert experience" for the audience, pre-music audience instructions may "spoil the fun, the unexpected" (there will be PLENTY of the unexpected). Now I see I need to add instructions into the documentation for the performers, how I want them to handle applause.

If you're bored, here's documentation for the 2nd of the 3 existing choreographed presentations: In brief summary, that performance is about 3 instrumentalists trying to impress the Pianist, so one of them will be picked for a performing 'honor'. What I hope makes this more fun, is the 3 players being MALE with FEMALE Pianist, or the reverse.

If these works never get found, or performed, que-sara... I created and released them to be, perhaps, refreshing, unusual.

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