Conductor James Gaffigan Explains Exactly What He Does During an Orchestra Performance

Right Hand Conducting

In a symphonious report from Vox, renowned conductor James Gaffigan explained the important role that the conductor plays during an orchestral performance. Pointing out the different styles of historically notable conductors, Gaffigan demonstrated what each hand does to help guide the musicians through the piece.

I’ve always found it strange to hold a baton and it’s a very strange thing… But the fact of the matter is it is an extension of your arm. …Your right hand is mainly for keeping rhythm…From the left hand has a much more complex, strange role in our physical world and it’s freer to do things that are out of the ordinary. It could be anything from showing where a phrase goes, it could show speed of a bow.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.