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Apr 30

FRIENDS DON’T LET FRIENDS CLAP ON BEAT 1 AND 3

FRIENDS DON’T LET FRIENDS CLAP ON BEAT 1 AND 3

Recently I blogged about guest singers. However there is something that is even more irritating to a musician than a Karaoke musician wanting to sing with you. That is having a CLAPPER in the audience. Someone who insists on clapping along to every song, who has absolutely no idea where the beat is and who claps incredibly loud.

Most performing musicians know the dilemma of the audience clapping along. Black audiences know instinctively that the music grooves when you clap on beat 2 and 4. But boy oh boy white audiences just dont get it, that if you clap on beat 1 and 3 the feel of the song just dies. You are really happy when your audience is engaging and interacting, but not at the cost of the groove. Even when you, the performer instigates the clap along and clap on beat 2 and 4, how often do they just revert to clapping on 1 and 3 and you wish you hadn’t tried to get them to clap along at all.

While we are on the subject of groove, how many of you have experienced the tambourine as THE DEVILS INSTRUMENT? People just don’t get it, that the tambourine is an instrument that should be played only by professional percussionists. The frequency of the tambourine will cut through the loudest metal band, and if you are slightly out of time it stands out like a sore thumb. And then when they don’t accentuate beat 2 and 4 its a disaster. There are more arguments in church music bands caused by tambourines than anything else.
A few months ago I had a woman bring her tambourine on holiday with her, and insist on playing along with me in the hotel. Yes cringe with me. I had no choice but ask her as tactfully as possible not to play.

For the music teachers here is a fun song to teach the concept of clapping 2 and 4, and also explains in a lot more detail the theory.

Harry Connick Jr. deals with the problem in a way that demonstrates his musical genius. Watch him here playing a R+B groove that screams out beat 2 and 4. His very conservative audience passionately claps along on beats 1 and 3. He very subtly slides the beat ,so that without the audience knowing, he gets them to clap on 2 and 4. Have a look out at second 43. You can just see the drummer over the top of his piano. Watch him cheer and celebrate Harry’s musical triumph.

Category. Hand claps

Tags. Clapping, hand claps, groove, performing musician, tambourine, music theory,music teachers,audience interaction.

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