Latency and Ormandy (KEVIN AUSTIN )

Subject: Latency and Ormandy
Date:    Sat, 14 Sep 2002 08:06:39 -0400

As I recall, Eugene Ormandy used to conduct about 1/2 beat ahead of the orchestra (on the occasions I saw him with the Philadelphia in Saratoga in the mid-70s). Anyone who played 'with the downbeat' was ahead. In most cases of non-Ormandy conductors, they adjusted and played on the (given) beat. On one occasion, the orchestra was playing the Verdi Four Sacred Pieces with a conductor they _did not_ like. In a slow movement the choir sang 'on the beat', and the orchestra played 1/2 beat behind for the entire movement, 'as a lesson to the conductor' (I was later told by members of the orchestra). From what I could tell, few in the audience noticed (!) that the choir and orchestra were half a beat apart. Ormandy was _not_ amused and informed the orchestra the following day. IME, the concept of 'chronometric synchronicity' is often loose in many musicians, exceptions being the likes of Glenn Gould. It seems to me (as a non-scientist) that three parts involved are: auditory (can one hear the delay), physical (can one get any closer), psychoacoustic (does the listener care). Sychronization in the blues may not even place the 'beat' in the same 'bar'. (But I also played in a band that couldn't play together and it never worked (the same place twice).) Best Kevin kaustin(at) In support of psychoacoustics for the real world.

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