PART TWO: Classical music
- These days, it’s considered impolite to applaud while the music is still going. This wasn’t always the case, though. In the olden days, enthusiastic audiences would routinely clap or holler their approval during a stirring musical performance. Not so anymore. In fact…
- Don’t applaud between movements of a larger piece of music. Huh? A lot of classical piece are split into movements, which sound like separate pieces in themselves. As one movement ends, you might feel tempted to clap, but DON’T! If you do, you will draw sour glances and stink-eyes from your nearest seatmates. What those stinky-eyed people don’t know is that applauding between movements used to be standard practice for audiences before commercial recording. But once classical music was being recorded for sale, producers decided that multi-movement works should be heard unbroken by applause so as not to disrupt the “momentum” of the piece as a whole.
- Cough strategically. This one is for extra credit. If you’re familiar with the piece of music you’re listening to, you can try to time your cough/sneeze to coincide with a sudden sforzando, for example, or the hit of a snare drum, or at least a downbeat.
- Know how to “bravo!“ If you witness a performance of such incredible skill and emotion that a simple standing ovation is not enough to contain your enthusiasm, you may wish to shout “bravo!” You’ll get street-cred with the classical crowd if you use the right form of bravo. Say bravo if you’re applauding a male soloist or a group of people, like an orchestra. Say brava if you’re applauding a female soloist. Say bravi if you’re applauding a group of male performers (like the Three Tenors), and brave for a group of female performers.