Friday, December 24, 2004

The hand that holds the baton rules the orchestra

A few nights ago, I watched the Three Tenors in concert at the Forbidden City. On Star World. And it was pretty awesome. I really don't know how they can manage to sing like that year after year at their age. (ages? whatever.)

But what struck me most about the show was the conductor. And before you think of sad jokes about bus conductors, I mean the guy who usually waves his hands about randomly while giving the audience a clear view of his butt. And takes most of the credit at the end of a piece. And always looks super-self-important.

I don't really know what it takes to be a conductor. I suppose it involves a whole lot of training. (Swing your arm... No, no, smoothly, don't bend the elbow. You shouldn't bend it more than 15 degrees). Googling for 'music conductor lessons' gave me 319,000 results. That's more than two and a half times the number of results for 'bus conductor lessons' (121,000). It's an unfair world.

The conductor at the Three Tenors concerts had weird hair. A top view (one of the few terms I remember from Engineering Drawing) of his head looks like this

Ok, I can't draw to save my life, but I hope you get the point. The squiggles represent hair, hard as that may be to believe. Pay careful attention the the squiggles at the front. These were wisps of hair that were apparently randomly placed and seemed to defy all known laws of physics. Even as the conductor threw himself about in what appeared to be particularly violent fits, these wisps jumped about merrily in the breeze, soaring and diving with gay abandon. With not a care in the world. With a life of their own. It was real fun. The hair seemed to be more in tune with the music than the conductor's arms were.

Found this nice cartoon...

Disclaimer: The cartoon above was taken from and I fully acknowledge Mark Parisi's copyright over the cartoon. And this post is not meant to be insulting to conductors. Really. (This is just so I don't get into any legal hassles.)


Nandan said...

hey that hair in the front looks like the symbols used to write music on paper.

Anonymous said...

That is just so appropriate...