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Classical Notes

Hold your applause

Posted at 11:23 AM on June 24, 2009 by Alison Young

Sitting quietly throughout a multi-movement work and waiting until the end to applaud (or scream "bravo!") is a relatively recent phenomenon. Music was used more as an accompaniment to an event than the event itself, so clapping, talking, even milling about might have been commonplace before the Romantic era.

But not everyone knows the "rules" as Anne Midget points out in her final report to the Washington Post from the National Symphony Orchestra's tour in China. Even in Beijing, as it turns out, people need to be reminded to hold their applause until the end.