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date: 28 February 2021


The Oxford Companion to Music
Percy ScholesPercy Scholes, Denis ArnoldDenis Arnold, Alison LathamAlison Latham

The custom of showing one's pleasure at music by immediately following it with a noise, usually by clapping but sometimes also by the drumming of feet, is perhaps as old as the art of music itself. It springs partly from the desire of an audience to express excitement immediately. The volume of sound in the last quarter-minute of a performance largely governs the volume of applause that follows, a loud ending usually ‘bringing the house down’ whatever the merits or demerits of the composition or performance as a whole (a high note at the end of a vocal piece sometimes has the same effect).... ...

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