To Applaud or Not to Applaud?

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Recently President Obama brought classical music to the White House. His only problem: he claimed not to know when to applaud.

I have done a bit of research on why classical audiences don’t applaud after movements and you get a variety of thoughts. First, I’m told, that in Mozart and Beethoven’s time, the audiences would often applaud DURING and after movements, similar to current Jazz concerts. Movements would often be repeated if the audience went wild enough. So our current practice is not echoing some historical behavior. Some think the “Golden Age of Recording” in the 1950’s solidified the practice of applauding at the end of a multi-movement work, because audiences were told to ‘be quiet, we’re recording.’

For me, I like it when audiences are so moved they applaud after movements! There is also a sense of elitism about this, in that, you ‘have to know the rules’ to be a part of a classical concert.

I’m ready to abandon this ‘sit on your hands’ practice.

What do you think?