Posted tagged ‘hand claps’


October 17, 2010

Audiences clap at the end of theatrical performances signifying appreciation. Supporters will clap the scoring of a goal, the winning serve on match point, the participants in women’s beach volleyball etc. Speeches, political or otherwise receive a hearty round of applause. Kittens rescued from trees are always given an ovation. The prevalence of clapping is everywhere. Now I have studied clapping and concluded there’s a lot of cheating going on in there.

Let me explain. Even the strongest of thunderers will fade out and struggle to keep rhythm. Only the most masochistic can maintain momentum to continue clapping forcefully throughout one long burst of sycophancy. By analysing people I have saw them change their clap technique. All begin by clapping with two hands a gusto like a seal then a wide variety of styles are employed to lessen the hurt inflicted on the palms and carry on the Champagne sham praise.

These non-traditional clapping methods include: One hand remains static while the other hammers out the beat, after awhile hands are changed. Both hands cupped rendering a tender fingertip clap. The one hand lower than the other approach where the fingers of one hand hit the palm of the other. As pain and boredom sets in participants will utilise every last bit of skin on their grasping appendage, some exceeding boundaries and slapping their thighs in appreciation.

Which brings us to the cheats: The mute clappers. These bogus bounders simulate clapping. They make no sound, if everyone stopped abruptly, they would be exposed as counterfeit clappers. There are many of these impostors about and I would love to see a room full of them. Imagine them at a concert in Las Vegas and Celine Dion has just belted out a cracker of a “My Heart will go on”. She bows to milk the acclaim and she sees a sea of hands imitating clapping. Poor Celine sticks a finger in her ear to clear the wax and still it’s all so quiet.

Maybe there’s cheats in the choir as well. When Beethoven’s Ode to Joy is performed, feeling lazy a few of the singers could mime their way through it. Then there’s the orchestra itself. It would be hard for the string section to dodge work but if there are four horn players in the ensemble, might one of them be tempted to pretend to blow? What if, without knowing of the others intentions, the four of them faked blowing? This would render the whole thing a farce. The musicians are not playing and the audience are not clapping.

Using these themes I gave a lecture last week at The Royal Albert Hall in front of the 1895 Last Night at the Proms backbench committee. My speech was going down well, there was constant clapping throughout. It was very slow clapping and I don’t have the foggiest what that means. But I’m sure it’s good, after all, they were genuinely clapping.