To beat or not to beat
Jean-Loup Gagnon
Maestro al Cembalo
March 15th, 2017
Teachers : Patrick Ayrton and Fabio Bonizzoni
Research supervisor(s) : Bert Mooiman and Peter van Heyghen 
Circle leader : Kathryn Cok
Tuesday 11th April 2017, Studio 3, 13:15
Royal Conservatory of the Hague

To beat or not to beat: 

Analysis and reflections on musical leadership practices in the 18th century 







Jean-Loup Gagnon







A Master Thesis





Presented to the

Royal Conservatory of the Hague


In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements

For the Degree of Master in Music 










Under the Supervision of Bert Mooiman and Peter Van Heyghen








The Hague, Netherlands


March 2017




Acknowledgments (see below)

Full text PDF


Sources and translations


Part I : The question of time-beating in the 18th century

Predecessors of time-beating practices
th and 17th century time-beating in theory and in practice
th century time-beating
Time-beating practices in France – a problem
Criticisms of Time-beating



Part II : Leading while playing

Birth of a new kind of entertainment in Italy
The dawn of the orchestra as an institution
The Composer/Performer
The tasks of the leader at the keyboard – Mattheson's point of view
Sharing leadership/violin leadership

Part III : Reflections  – critical analysis of the historical sources



Conclusion, Bibliography, Iconographies & Appendix






The author wishes to thank his supervisors Bert Mooiman and Peter Van Heyghen for their blind trust. They consistently allowed this paper to be my own work. He would also like to thank Patrick Ayrton and Fabio Bonizzoni for their inspiring teaching and the numerous discussions in regards to historical leadership practices and music in general. A special thank to Maryse Legault, words cannot express how grateful he is to her for her support, patience, motivation and enthusiasm. Last but not the least, he would like to thank his family for supporting him spiritually throughout his Master studies and his life in general.