I am wondering if there's a particular word for it. I think you can say "conduct", but it doesn't refer to the specific movement, but the whole thing. Is there a more specific word for the action?

  • Some conductors don't need wands. Nevertheless, it's still called "conducting" the orchestra :)
    – Andrew
    Jul 13, 2019 at 6:14

1 Answer 1


There are actually several different motions or signals that a conductor directing a classical orchestra makes, which have different purposes. The most common or regular one is to indicate the meter, and is usually called "keeping the beat" or "giving the time". The conductor can also raise his baton (not wand) to indicate a crescendo, or lower it to indicate a diminuendo. The first sharp motion at the start of the piece is called "giving the downbeat". A conductor may point at a particular section or at a soloist, to indicate the moment for that player or group to enter or re-enter the music. A group learns the particular signals that a particular conductor uses, and what they mean -- they are not universal. As far as I know there is no one term to cover all of them jointly, beyond simply "conducting"

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