When an orchestra plays, the musicians seem to have their undivided attention on the music in front of them. Why do they need a conductor? A conductor is similar to the director of a play. His or her role is enormous, but much of it is carried out before the performance. The conductor is responsible for interpreting the intentions of the composer along with shaping the entire work, including the quality of the sound (mellow, moody, bright, etc.), the volume, timing and tone of the instruments, the energy of the work and coordinating all the various elements into a coherent whole.
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