The Hess Report


Monday, April 26, 2004

Spontaneous Organization

I've noticed that in smaller audience groups (say 200 or fewer), applause can spontaneously organize into a discernible pattern. As I've been attending Joy's group's concerts over the last season, and they mostly perform in small venues, I've heard a lot of it. When the applause starts to phase together, it bothers me.

I'm concerned that the audible organization will remind the performers of the small size of the audience. It also puts more dead space in the sound, making the applause sound thinner.

I mentioned it to my MathCrazy!Dad at the Camerata's very cool concert in the Carnegie Museum of Art's Hall of Architecture, and we both agreed that we would henceforth attempt to counter the emerging patterns with deliberately off-beat and strangely percussive clapping. The trick is to make it random enough that it fills the dead space without drawing undue attention to yourself as a rogue clapper.

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