18. March 2009 · Comments Off on The Hand · Categories: Conductors, Links, Ramble

Related to this is a hand gesture that some conductors use to alert musicians that they are playing too loud. It is known (somewhat antagonistically) in the business as “the Hand.”

Check out this blog entry. It’s interesting to hear what Bruce Hembd has to say about “the hand”.

It’s interesting to see his take on things. Mine? While “the hand” is telling us to be quiet, it sometimes causes us — me, in any case — to tighten my embouchure. And a tight embouchure isn’t good for a low note attack. Sometimes we get “the hand” prior to that low note, as the conductor is just sure we’ll be too loud. Sometimes it’s while we are playing a low note, and that isn’t always pleasant either. And sometimes we are getting “the hand” when we are actually playing as softly as we possibly can. (Shoot, one time I finally played “air oboe” and the conductor was finally happy with the volume. Go figure.) So I really have to fight “the reaction” to “the hand”.

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