The New York Times presents this amazing experiment and interview created in collaboration with New York University Movement Lab.  In an attempt to connect the physicality of body movement with the invisibility of music,  Alan Gilbert — world renowned Conductor and Music Director of the New York Philharmonic — was connected with motion sensors in some key points of his body to capture the most significative movements necessary to conduct an orchestra.

The role of a music conductor is not something many people might get entirely, except for classical-music melomaniacs that understand it in a deeper lever with all its complexity and its richness. However, this short interview and experiment lets us, the ‘non-classical music freaks’, understand and visualize the beauty of the hidden shapes behind a note, a movement and a piece.

The way you let go of a note, the shape of the tail of the note, if you will, has to be managed and thought about and felt together.

When we hear a piece of music that appeals to us, it’s almost impossible to resist the urge to start moving to the beat. The same way with classical music, it’s easy to feel our body movements become more fluid as we listen. Music, whether it’s written for the body (dance music or not), always transports you to a place where you’re connected to yourself, and despite the beauty of this, it’s something that often goes overlooked. The role of a music conductor also suffers as something that goes overlooked in some way. They connect to the music in a deeper level than the musicians but it’s something so ethereal that it’s hard to give specific guidelines on how conducting becomes great or not.

There is no way to really put your finger on what makes conducting great, even what makes conducting work. Essentially what conducting is about is getting the players to play their best and to be able to use their energy and to access their point of view about the music. There is a connection between the gesture, the physical presence, the aura that a conductor can project, and what the musicians produce.

The experiment presented in this film is one of the most interesting and didactic approaches not only to music conducting, but also to classical music in general. So don’t be surprised if, after watching this, you find yourself dusting off your classical music CDs or making a ‘Best of Bach’ playlist on your Spotify.

[via The New York Times]