Title

THE CHORAL CONDUCTOR'S COMMUNICATION OF MUSICAL INTERPRETATION

Date of Completion

January 1984

Keywords

Music

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

Choral conducting rehearsal methods provide a means of assisting choirs in communicating musical interpretation to listeners. The ability of listeners to recognize intended differences in interpretive performance is used as evidence that communication of interpretive nuance occurs between conductor and performer. The purpose of this study was to develop a method for evaluating the choral conductor's effect on the interpretation of performance in a rehearsal situation, and to test the reliability of the method in an experimental setting.^ A rehearsal and performances were conducted under each experimental condition. Three musical interpretations of the notated musical score of a Bach chorale melody were recorded on magnetic tape for each experimental condition, with each interpretation recorded twice. Tests of a multiple choice design were then constructed using these recordings. The tests required listener-subjects to match a model recording to the one in a set of three recordings which had the same intended interpretation.^ Six experimental conditions were developed, utilizing all combinations of three conducting rehearsal methods (full, non-verbal, and non-verbal with masked facial expression) and two levels of choir experience (non-auditioned high school and auditioned university singers). A 54-item interpretive matching test with nine test items for each experimental condition was administered to forty-eight high school musicians with performing experience.^ Statistical techniques used were two way-within-subjects analysis of variance, item analysis for discrimination and difficulty, Kuder-Richardson reliability test, and the Tukey (a) post hoc test.^ Results of the formal study indicated that rehearsal conducting method was a statistically significant main factor beyond the 0.01 level, with the full rehearsal method being most effective and no difference appearing between the non-verbal and masked methods.^ It was concluded that communication of interpretive nuance does occur between conductor and choir, that choral conducting rehearsal techniques affect the degree of communication, and that the degree of such communication can be measured. Suggestions for further research call for tests of similar design to include as experimental conditions four-part music, additional conductors, longer rehearsal intervals, alternative conducting rehearsal methods, and music from other periods. ^