The Barber of Seville

Indeed in the Baroque period, before the invention of the conductors, harpsichordists (who were usually also the composer) would lead the orchestra, establishing the harmonic structure and ensuring the rhythmic steadiness by nodding their heads. As music became more harmonically complex, and harpsichordists had to focus exclusively on their playing, the conducting duties fell to the first violinist. This style of orchestral leading, split between the harpsichordists and the violinist, was soon abandoned due to an inherent clash in leadership.

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