Classical Lines Of Defense
During a performance,
the director's authority is nil.
One could argue that the person with the weakest
position in the orchestra is the director, in spite of being --
theoretically -- the one in charge.
Why yes, he does have the authority to direct his classically-minded
minions, but that authority is mostly based on mutual trust.
"I shake my baton and you sing a high C, mellow into an
Adagio or make the horn play a tremolo". This authority can
and will be enforced in rehearsal and after a concert.
But even if the director decides to shove the baton up the wazoo
of any member in the string section who has had a slip of the
bow during the last movement of Beethoven's Fifth, he will only
be able to only do so well after the fact.
Definitely missing are ways for the director to enforce his authority
during a concert.
Throwing a stick at a sax player for hitting the same wrong note
three times in a row during a rousing performance must be considered
bad form, no matter how justified it might be in principle.
Thus, the director's method of retribution must be quick, subtle
and effective. It must not impact the performance adversively
or at least not too noticeably.
Considering these limitations, the best implementation would
be one involving strong electrical impulses. To this end, each
player in the orchestra will have to wear an invisible, light-weight
harness for the length of the concert.
The director will receive a small switch box on his pulpit with
as many buttons as there are orchestra members. Ideally, the buttons
would be placed in such a way that they reflect the seating or
standing order of the orchestra.
If a musician hits the cymbal out of rhythm or, heaven forbid,
if he or she should have been pizzicating when he should have
legatoed, the director may either just stare at him disapprovingly
or, if he cannot make eye contact, press a button on his Box Of
Due to the box on the pulpit, he is sure to have the full attention
of most of the orchestra at any time. However, for performers
who are the Dennis Rodhams of their craft, stronger measures have
to be taken.
At the press of a button, an electrical shock will course through
the perpetrator's harness, reminding him or her of who is in charge.
Since the button will simultaneously support both a press and
a turn function, subsequent irritations from the performer can
be responded with more volts.
Since there is no safety / maximum setting for the voltage turn
knob, the director should be made aware of the risk of deep-frying
Since Musicians are a dime a dozen these days, with orchestras
being closed all the time due to budget problems, replacements
shouldn't be that hard to find, though.
Maintaining The Vision
Now, at last, the concert-going public will be able to fully
appreciate the music as the director wants it to be heard.
Musical cognoscenti might end up flocking into the concert halls
by the hundreds, hoping to see their least favorite musician fry
in the orchestra pit.
But just in case the director gets too carried away, the theater's
impressario should have a little box, too, with the director's
name on it: Directors will be a dime a dozen by the time the Box
Of Justice has caught on.