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Chattanooga Times Free Press - Parade - - ADVERTISEMENT - Send ques­tions to mar­i­lyn pa­rade.com By Mar­i­lyn vos Sa­vant

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?

—Den­nis Con­klin, Ch­ester­ton, Ind. 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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