Friday, November 11, 2016

Live Performance Rules

Last night Travalon and I went to see the Hillbenders, a bluegrass group, play The Who’s “Tommy.” They consisted of five guys: one on banjo, one on dobro, one on mandolin, and first cousins playing the guitar and bass. They were really good, and when one would play a particularly exciting solo, the audience would cheer. That got me thinking about how it is considered bad form NOT to applaud after someone’s improvisational solo section in jazz, but at a Baroque concert you would NEVER applaud right after an interesting passage. In fact, it is considered rude to applaud after each movement; you are supposed to wait until the entire piece is finished. But how do I know this? I’m not really sure. I don’t remember anyone ever telling me these rules, so maybe I just picked them up at all the live music shows I have attended over the years. Here in Madtown we have a particularly funny tradition where virtually everyone gets a standing ovation, so if performers are exceptionally good, sometimes they DON’T get a standing ovation, just a really long round of applause. There also seems to be some unwritten rule that people have to applaud long enough for the musicians to come out and bow a second time, and then they will play an encore. That seems to be true across genres. I can’t think of the last time I went to a show where they didn’t treat the audience to an encore, so maybe it’s just expected. Anyway, these unwritten rules kind of fascinate me, unless in fact they are written somewhere. Anyone know?

Famous Hat

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