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Thread: To clap, or not to clap

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    Commodore con Forza Tûrwethiel's Avatar
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    To clap, or not to clap

    Here's an article that's making me think - http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/c...e#contentSwap1

    I was brought up to *know* that you don't applaud between movements in classical works, but it's OK to clap (and cheer and stamp feet) at the end of particularly thrilling arias at the opera or even after the curtain has just risen on a spectacular set.

    When I played in an orchestra I was secretly thrilled when people applauded enthusiastically between movements as I thought it meant we'd done our job really well. But I'd never do it when in the audience.

    What do you think?

    Cheers

    Vicki

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    It's an interesting question Turwethiel. I heard a tremendous performance of Beethoven's 'Fidelio' here in London some time ago. It was being recorded live for C.D. (now on release) and the packed audience went crazy at the end. Conducted by Sir Colin Davis, but hardly applauded at all during its performance.

    When I see a great live performance on, say, Youtube, I personally look forward to hearing the applause of that audience, since it puts the seal on the recording. But often editors cut it out or reduce it to a few seconds.

    Generally, if someone applauds others will follow. At other times it seems strange when audiences don't applaud between movements if it was well performed.

    I don't think there are any hard and fast rules. So people stay quiet. This can often be discomforting and may even explain (at least partly) why those visiting live performances of classical music prefer to hear recordings.

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    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    Aloha Vicki,

    As a performer and when I go to listen a work, I am somewhat distracted by the clapping in between movements. Yes, its nice to be acknowledged, and proper to show appreciation for the musician's hard work. But it heightens the enjoyment if the audience would know to wait to the end of a certain work.

    Since kids and adults are less and less aware about classical music, maybe a *quick and dirty* by the conductor, soloist, or MC who informs the audience about waiting to the end of the whole work before clapping, stamping, yelling *Bravo* and the like, that should help to rein in the exuberance until an appropriate time.

    Cheerio,

    CD
    Last edited by Corno Dolce; Jan-22-2009 at 15:46.
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    Speaking about audience reactions to great live performances, here is one of the best live performances of any aria I've heard in recent years. I know for a fact the applause which followed lasted for whole minutes. Quite rightly. It was given in Germany a few years ago and was a sensation. David Daniels (American) is of course one of the great voices on stage in our times. And Harry Bicket (conductor) brings amazing colours from this great German orchestra. This comes from a DVD made at the time.

    G.F. Handel
    Aria, 'Cara Sposa'
    Act 1, Scene 7
    Opera 'Rinaldo'
    Soloist - David Daniels
    Bayerisches Staatsorchester
    Harry Bicket (Conductor)

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=k3rqm9l3mw0
    Last edited by Robert Newman; Jan-22-2009 at 15:48.

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    Vice Admiral Virtuoso Mat's Avatar
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    Thanks for the article, Vicki.

    It is appropriate to clap after a spectular jazz solo as mentioned in the text and I agree completely with that. However, it's a huge distraction to the classical performer(s) when people clap between movements. People just simply don't know the *clapping rule*. And even if they do, they don't know when to use it. And why should they know? Musical education of a regular person leaves much to be desired and I am aware of that. But it is heading in the wrong direction. I mean, some conductors have begun to hold the baton in an unatural way at the and of spectacular movements and even turn slightly towards the audience, just to show them not to clap yet. It's a bit thick, don't you think?
    Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.
    -- Victor Hugo


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    Hi there Mat,

    In the 18th and 19th century it was common for individual movements of a symphony, a concerto or an aria to be applauded and even repeated. For example, at the time when 'Le Nozze di Figaro' was being premiered in Vienna (1786) there were several operas being staged elsewhere in Vienna which were so wildly applauded for their arias that a special notice had to be posted by the Imperial beaurocracy in those theatres that arias would not be repeated at length.

    So, it seems there are two sides to this. I personally like music to be applauded whenever the audience wish to applaud it. But others strongly disagree.

  7. #7
    Commodore con Forza
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    I'm pretty much neutral on this question - I'll take it either way. Some performances may well deserve the interruption. But it really irks me to have applause on recordings - CDs, etc. How does that sit with the rest of you? Are they out to prove the applause existed???

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    Captain of Water Music jvhldb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dll927 View Post
    I'm pretty much neutral on this question - I'll take it either way. Some performances may well deserve the interruption. But it really irks me to have applause on recordings - CDs, etc. How does that sit with the rest of you? Are they out to prove the applause existed???
    Applause at a live performance I welcome, but not on CD or DVD. After listening to the same clapping everytime you listen to a track can get more annoying than a ticking metronome. I also have an INTENSE dislike of the canned applause some producers insist on using during TV shows.
    Johan van Heerden

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    Admiral Maestoso marval's Avatar
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    Interesting article Vicki, somebody obviously thinks that clapping is OK.

    I think some people believe that it is impolite to clap in the middle. I always thought that you were not meant to clap until the end. But surely if you have enjoyed the first movement, let the conductor/orchestra know that you liked it. But I think there are some pieces of music where it requires you to wait to the end. If there is a break between movements then an appreciative clap is surely allowed.

    The end of the work will the most applause, I tend to be a sheep and follow the flock, if if other people were to clap then I would join in.


    Margaret

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    Vice Admiral Virtuoso Mat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marval View Post
    But I think there are some pieces of music where it requires you to wait to the end.
    Exactly. But some of the audience usually doesn't know where it's the end...
    Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.
    -- Victor Hugo


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    Admiral Maestoso marval's Avatar
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    You are right Mat, regular music goers are aware of concert protocol and the music. But people who don't know the music, clap when they hear a pause and think is over.

    I suppose if the conductor hates people clapping in the middle, he can always request that they wait until the end.


    Margaret

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    Commodore con Forza
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    The matter of knowing when it's the end could be a problem. I've seen people claim that the audience is made up of people who know every note in the score, so they know when to clap (or when NOT to sneeze), but that may be over-optimistic.

    It was said that Eleanor Roosevelt was so tone-deaf that she needed somebody to tell her when it was the end so she would know when to applaud. Apparently, she was too dense to notice those around her.

  13. #13
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso Mat's Avatar
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    Oh, all the sneezing, coughing, mobile phones' ringing, etc. - it just goes to show the audience seeks for something more than just music...
    Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.
    -- Victor Hugo


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    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
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    I'm quite partial to issuing a blood chilling "death stare" at anyone whispering near me in a concert hall during music being made.
    I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many different languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.
    —Albert Einstein.

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    Commodore con Forza Tûrwethiel's Avatar
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    And why do they sell potato crisps and lollies in rustling wrappers in the foyer?

    Here's how some of the newspaper's readers responded to a letter supporting applauding at will.

    Sit on your hands, you goose
    Shut up and wait until the piece is over (Letters, January 22). Enough is ruined already by fools who just want to clap. The finale of the Trout Quintet is regularly interrupted because there is a bar-and-a-half of silence after a loud passage, and some goose decides to applaud. The despairing opening to the finale of Tchaikovsky's Pathetique Symphony is amplified immeasurably by the raucous conclusion of the scherzo preceding it - at least it is when the audience refrains from inserting a two-minute clapping cadenza between the movements. What next? How about that big gap in the middle of Barber's Adagio For Strings - there's plenty of time for an ovation there.

    Perhaps applause freaks such as Manny Ax should put themselves at the service of the music instead of wanting things the other way around. Just because no one is playing, doesn't mean there is no music.

    ...

    David McKay (Letters, January 22), if you feel like clapping after a stirring moment in a piece of classical music, buy the CD or download it and don't attend the live concert. Then you can clap with impunity without disturbing other members of the audience, most of whom prefer to listen without your ad lib percussion solo.

    ...

    Those who are adamant about applauding between movements are more than welcome to do so, at the Andre Rieu concert of their choice.

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