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Encyclopedia > Concert etiquette

Concert etiquette refers to standards of behavior at concerts such as opera or ballet. A classical music concert in the Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne 2005 A concert is a live performance, usually of music, before an audience. ... For other uses, see Ballet (disambiguation). ...


Concert etiquette is a set of social norms of people who attend musical performances, and is particularly strong at concerts with an unamplified orchestra. Such audiences have come to expect quiet, and disapprove of fellow members making any kind of noise louder than light breathing. Unavoidable noise such as coughs or sneezes should be delayed until a loud passage if possible, and muffled with a handkerchief, which is most effective placed at the inner elbow joint with the entire arm then pressed over the mouth. Hats are not tolerated as they block the view of the stage. It has been suggested that Convention (norm) be merged into this article or section. ... A classical music concert in the Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne 2005 A concert is a live performance, usually of music, before an audience. ...

Audience members who are too eager to applaud at the end of piece are sometimes resented, particularly in the case of a quiet finale such as Tchaikovsky's Path├ętique symphony. The conductor always signals the end of the performance by lowering his or her hands to his or her side. Sometimes this is prolonged past the cutoff of the orchestra, with hands held in the air or slowly lowered over several seconds, in the hope of allowing the audience to stay joined with the artistic creation even for just a brief moment after its sounds have ceased. Applause (Latin applaudere, to strike upon, clap) is primarily the expression of approval by the act of clapping, or striking the palms of the hands together, in order to create noise; generally any expression of approval. ... Tchaikovsky redirects here. ... Excerpt from the fourth movement of Tchaikovskys Pathetique Symphony. ...

The convention of silence developed late in the 19th century. Mozart expected that people would eat and talk over his music, particularly at dinner, and was delighted when his audience would clap during his symphonies. [1] Mahler clamped down on claques paid to applaud a particular performer, and specified in the score of his Kindertotenlieder that its movements should not be punctuated by applause.[2] Wagner discouraged what he considered distracting noises from his audience at Bayreuth in 1882. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (baptized as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart; January 27, 1756 – December 5, 1791) was a prolific and highly influential composer of Classical music. ... This article cites its sources but does not provide page references. ... A report in The Etude of July 1931 on the Vienna Opera House banning claquing Claque (French for clapping) is, in its origin, a term which refers to an organized body of professional applauders in French theatres. ... Kindertotenlieder (Songs on the Death of Children) is a song cycle for voice and orchestra by Gustav Mahler. ... Richard Wagner Wilhelm Richard Wagner (May 22, 1813 – February 13, 1883) was an influential German composer, conductor, music theorist, and essayist, primarily known for his operas (or music dramas as he later came to call them). ... The Bayreuth Festspielhaus (Bayreuth Festival Theatre) is an opera house built to the north of the town of Bayreuth in Germany, dedicated to the performance of Richard Wagners operas. ...

During the 20th century applause even between movements of a symphony became regarded as a distraction from its momentum and unity, and is now considered a gaffe, though usually tolerated as a well-meaning one; most audiences applaud after the second-last movement of the Tchaikovsky Sixth and conductors seem resigned to this fact. Still, in opera a particularly impressive aria will often be applauded, even if the music is continuing. A gaffe is a verbal mistake made by a company or individual, usually in a social environment. ... Tchaikovsky redirects here. ... Excerpt from the fourth movement of Tchaikovskys Pathetique Symphony. ... The Teatro alla Scala in Milan. ...

In Kabuki an expert audience member is frequently heard loudly yelling the name of an actor at a high point in his performance (kakegoe); this is widely appreciated when judiciously timed. In western opera shouting is generally acceptable only during applause; almost always the word bravo (or brava in the case of a female singer, though this distinction is not always made outside Italy). Both words have original senses of great and skillful but bravo has come to mean well done and is used even at the symphony. Shouting the French word encore (again) at the end of a concert is understood as request for more, but the French bis and Italian da capo (from the start) are obscure in English. Sometimes at rock concerts, lighters are held in the air to signal an encore. With the decline of smokers and increase of cell phones in the early 21st century, cell phones are used in place of lighters. The audience waiting for a concert or opera to begin may talk freely until the end of the applause greeting the entrance of the conductor (or the concertmaster if the orchestra tunes on stage). At performances of Noh in Tokyo however, talking at any time inside the theatre is tacitly disapproved, but in rural Japan audiences "rather like those in Southeast Asia, talk, eat, or doze throughout the plays, or even throw money at actors they admire." [3] The Kabukiza in Ginza is one of Tokyos leading kabuki theaters. ... Kakegoe (掛け声) are shouts of cheer. ... The Teatro alla Scala in Milan. ... The encore is an additional extra performance of a musical piece at the end of the regular concert, which is not listed in the event setlist. ... A conductor conducting a band at a ceremony A conductors score and batons Conducting is the act of directing a musical performance by way of visible gestures. ... Concert-master. ... Noh performance at Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima, Hiroshima Noh or Nō (Japanese: 能) is a major form of classical Japanese musical drama that has been performed since the 14th century. ... For other uses, see Tokyo (disambiguation). ...

Concerts of popular music with amplification typically maintain more liberal norms. Singing along may not be disapproved; fans may scream wildly or even remove articles of clothing and throw them towards the stage. Dancing to electronic music expands to moshing in certain genres. This does not cite its references or sources. ...

Perhaps the most famous collapse of concert etiquette occurred at the premiere of Stravinsky's ballet The Rite of Spring in 1913. The music and violent dance steps depicting fertility rites drew catcalls and whistles from the crowd, soon followed by shouts and fistfights in the aisles. The unrest in the audience eventually degenerated into a riot. The Paris police arrived by intermission, but they restored only limited order. Chaos reigned for the remainder of the performance, and Stravinsky was so upset at the reception of his work that he fled the theater in mid-scene. Igor Fyodorovitch Stravinsky () (June 17, 1882 – April 6, 1971) was a composer of modern classical music. ... The Rite of Spring (French: Le Sacre du printemps; Russian: Весна священная, Vesna svjaščennaja) is a ballet with music by the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. ...

See also

Etiquette, also known as decorum, is the code that governs the expectations of social behavior, the conventional norm. ... It has been suggested that Convention (norm) be merged into this article or section. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Tact is a careful consideration of the feelings and values of another so as to create harmonious relationships with a reduced potential for conflict or offense. ... A strategy is a long term plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal, as differentiated from tactics or immediate actions with resources at hand. ... An order of precedence is a sequential hierarchy of nominal importance of people; it is used by many organizations and governments. ... In international politics, protocol is the etiquette of diplomacy and affairs of state. ...


  1. ^ Robert Spaethling, Mozart's Letters, Mozart's Life, p. 160.
  2. ^ Alex Ross, The Rest Is Noise: Applause, at http://www.therestisnoise.com/2005/02/applause_a_rest.html
  3. ^ Donald Keene, The Pleasures of Japanese Literature, Columbia University Press, 1988 (p.105)



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