Most of us classical music insiders know that you're "not supposed" to clap in between movements of a symphony, concerto or similar work with movements.
It's one of those unspoken rules that perhaps make us seem a little snobby and could be unnerving to the newcomer who innocently claps with enthusiasm --and then feels like a dummy for doing so. This has been a topic of debate on our discussion page this week.
Well, nobody wants to make people feel uncomfortable about showing their enthusiasm. At the same time, since we go to so much trouble to create these musical moments of acoustic perfection, a lot of people would like to savor them. When a middle movement in a symphony ends in a mesmerizing hush, and the following movement is meant to build on that quiet -- well it just seems weird to have a burst of applause interrupting it. Yes, it can even be annoying!
Of course, some movements end with such bombast, they seem to beg for an ovation. I'm not bothered in the least by applause at the end of the marathon first movement of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, for example.
So should we permit applause sometimes, and not other times? Should we give up and just permit it always? Or should we always plan to instruct an audience from the podium, "With this piece, we'd like to you not to applaud," or "It's okay, clap away"? Please share your opinion in the vote, and then tell us about your thoughts and experiences in the comments.
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