Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Thurmond's "Note Grouping": Lessons for Conductors


Music & Dance


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Arts and Humanities


Note Grouping, by James Morgan Thurmond, has provided countless orchestra musicians with a method for achieving expression and style in musical performance. Published in 1982, the book is the result of Thurmond quest to determine what made the playing of the principal players of the Philadelphia Orchestra (Marcel Tabuteau, Anton Horner and William Kincaid) so memorable. This investigation led him back to the foundation of rhythm; an exploration of the arsis and thesis in Greek drama. When discussing music, poetry, and dance, the Greeks thought that the beautiful was realized in the state of movement or motion and not in the state of repose. Thurmond takes a critical look at how contemporary musicians are taught to stress the downbeat (thesis, originally the state of repose) as well as conceptualize music in terms of the barline and how this has created a most unmusical emphasis in performance.

Conference Name

College Orchestra Directors Association National Conference

Conference Location

Baldwin-Wallace College, Cleveland, OH

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