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Towards a semiotics of conducting.

Research output: Contribution to conference - Without ISBN/ISSN Conference paper

  • Edward Venn
Publication date29/08/2003
<mark>Original language</mark>English
EventFirst International Conference 'Music and Gesture' - University of East Anglia (Norwich)
Duration: 28/08/200331/08/2003


ConferenceFirst International Conference 'Music and Gesture'
CityUniversity of East Anglia (Norwich)


The semiotic status of conducting is one that is intuitively felt to be correct, but rarely subjected to scrutiny. The multitude of potential expressive gestures, including but not limited to the use of the hands, arms, body, head, facial expressions and eyes, present the would-be semiotic researcher with a veritable Gordian knot. The result of this is that too often, conductors are assessed solely on the performance that results from their gestures, rather than on the gestures themselves. Restricting the semiotic domain to the more readily classifiable use of the hands and arms, the paper examines the semiotics of conducting in terms of both codes and sign-production, in order to provide a theoretical framework for the syntactic and semantic analysis of conducting gestures. The paper concludes with some suggestions as to how this framework might be used in practical terms.