I’m really curious, when a conductor is conducting a piece on what line is he reading and analysing the music from? It would make sense for him to read the violins as they form the heart of the orchestra. It could be possible, however, that they are reading all the lines of the music although this does seem highly unlikely. No one can multitask like that they can they?

Sure, some parts are beating on their own, where he may well switch his focus on the manuscript. When the orchestra performs at one, which is frequently, what line is read?

1 Answer 1


A conductor often takes months to prepare a piece and in some cases they might know every single note of every instrument from memory. They might have the score on the stand purely as a 'safety-net'.
If a conductor doesn't have that much time to prepare they will all least go through the score and mark every important line or entry. It's not unusual to see a score literally covered in pencil markings.
Even in the rare cases where they have to conduct a piece at sight an experienced conductor will be able to look at a score and instantly see which lines are most important. In a solo piece this will mostly be the soloist, but otherwise often the first violins are leading, or maybe the brass. One of the things conductors learn during their college training is the ability to sight-read a full score on the piano playing at least the musically important parts.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.