Baton (Fr. baguette; Ger. Taktstock; It. bacchetta)
(Fr. baguette; Ger. Taktstock; It. bacchetta)
The stick with which the conductor of an orchestra or similar ensemble beats the time. An approximation of the modern baton, a thin, tapered stick, perhaps half a metre long, was evidently first used in the late 18th century, but the use of a roll of paper or violin bow for this purpose continued into the 19th century. A more distant predecessor of the baton was the precentor's staff mentioned by various writers from the 15th century to the 17th. For further historical information ...