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Why do people do the Happy Claps?

29 Jan 05 - 07:51 PM (#1392760)
Subject: Why do people do the Happy Claps?
From: JWB

Reading the thread on Wild Rover, someone said they remember it being sung by audiences who included the clapping/banging/grunting in the chorus as early as the 1970s. Got me to thinking, why is it that some songs get clap happy that way?

I've seen it happening to Rolling Down to Old Maui. When this song first became known, in the 80s, there was no clapping whatsoever (except at the end of a performance of it). But in the last half-decade or so I've noticed that folks are putting in a couple of claps after the first verse of each stanza.

Do you think that some performer started this, or was it spontaneous combustion by an audience? What do y'all think?

Jerry


29 Jan 05 - 07:59 PM (#1392766)
Subject: RE: Why do people do the Happy Claps?
From: Clinton Hammond

"I've seen it happening to Rolling Down to Old Maui. I've noticed that folks are putting in a couple of claps after the first verse of each stanza."

Ya... -I- started that...   It's more fun that way...

:-)


29 Jan 05 - 08:19 PM (#1392791)
Subject: RE: Why do people do the Happy Claps?
From: Teresa

I think Stan Rogers' recording, which is live, has folk clapping to the rhythm.

some songs are just irresistible, especially sea chanteys.

Teresa


29 Jan 05 - 08:28 PM (#1392801)
Subject: RE: Why do people do the Happy Claps?
From: Teresa

Just remember that in summer camp twenty years ago, we used to do a riotous version of a song about the Titanic, clapping furiously all the way through: "O it was sad, so sad! It was saaaaad when the greaeaeat ship went down! ..." It left me cracking up and feeling a little unsettled at the same time. :)

Teresa


29 Jan 05 - 08:38 PM (#1392807)
Subject: RE: Why do people do the Happy Claps?
From: Teresa

Oh, well, of course I found Titanic: Husbands and Wives in the digitrad. :)

Teresa


29 Jan 05 - 09:05 PM (#1392827)
Subject: RE: Why do people do the Happy Claps?
From: Barbara

I sing in a pub with the same group of people, have been doing it for most of 10 years now. And these charming, otherwise fairly restrained people, put a bumpity-bump (tiddly-pom to you Brits) sound on the end of the first (and other)lines of practically anything upbeat and 6/8 (and maybe 3/4 too). The sound is made with silverware on the glasses, hands on the table, salt shakers smacked together or practically anything else that comes to hand. Sometimes it gets rowdy enough that the servers come in and clear our table of breakables.
I have no idea who started this, or why it happens. It's like, punctuation.
I suspect that the thumping of the mugs or pints in "the Wild Rover" grew out of either rowdy audience involvement, or band members encouraging that. I can recall singing it in the Starry Plough in Berkeley in the '70s and encouraging the drinkers to slap their mugs on the table tops. Spills quite a bit of beer, that way. So perhaps the mug pounding deteriorated (?) into mere clapping.
Go figure.
Perhaps it's just one of those cultural group phenomena (like the wave) prompted by the urge to be drunk and silly together in a demonstrable way.
Blessings,
Barbara


29 Jan 05 - 10:55 PM (#1392888)
Subject: RE: Why do people do the Happy Claps?
From: Sorcha

Co fiddler and I put down the fiddles and lead the clapping to Dueling Banjos...one of us on each player and half the audience, they ALWAYS want to clap to this one.


29 Jan 05 - 10:59 PM (#1392892)
Subject: RE: Why do people do the Happy Claps?
From: LadyJean

Some years ago I went to the Moscow State Circus. We were encouraged to clap to an assortment of tunes, as people galloped around on horses, and bears did things bears don't usually do.


29 Jan 05 - 11:31 PM (#1392916)
Subject: RE: Why do people do the Happy Claps?
From: JWB

Barbara, I think you're on to something. My guess is that good music makes folks want to participate, and if they don't know the words, or hold themselves back from singing by telling themselves they can't sing, then clapping, banging, tapping is a way to participate.

There is an inate love of rhythm and movement build into homo sapiens, IMHO, and since our "civilized" society doesn't smile on people getting jiggy with it in public (there seem to be pretty strict norms about public displays of dancing in pubs, etc.), it may be that the tapping of objects is a way to let out that movement impulse.

Or, it could be just a commercial ploy by pub owners to sell more beer -- "bang those pint glasses and slosh away, me buckos: we've got plenty more ale where that came from!"

Jerry


30 Jan 05 - 02:33 AM (#1392954)
Subject: RE: Why do people do the Happy Claps?
From: Manitas_at_home

Banging mugs on the table is the thin end of the wedge. Next, people start *quaffing* their beer and before you know it they're singing about gold and throwing each other through the windows. Still, the landlord sells more beer that way.


30 Jan 05 - 03:42 AM (#1392977)
Subject: RE: Why do people do the Happy Claps?
From: Hamish

Clapping's good in principle: it's the pedestrian down-beat clapping prevalent in folk circles that bugs me. Stuff just grooves better with a back beat (one-TWO-three-FOUR) and half-beats and suchlike. But it's too hard for most folk (sic) cos it's hard to be spontaneous en masse. My tuppence worth.

I remember a certain jazzer (George Melly) threatening to walk out if the audience continued to clap on the down beat.


30 Jan 05 - 05:14 AM (#1393007)
Subject: RE: Why do people do the Happy Claps?
From: Liz the Squeak

*quaffing* ~ like drinking but you spill more.

The clapping in 'Rolling down to old Maui' could be an incentive to keep the speed up.. in the UK in some song circles, it's affectionately known and has been parodies as 'Slowing down to old Maui'...

I clap on the off beats, but that's because I never like to follow the herd, and I like to be noticed. It's a bugger during Mass....

LTS


30 Jan 05 - 05:15 AM (#1393008)
Subject: RE: Why do people do the Happy Claps?
From: Liz the Squeak

And to answer the question logically... because they are happy?

LTS


30 Jan 05 - 12:01 PM (#1393311)
Subject: RE: Why do people do the Happy Claps?
From: Bernard

Poverty Knock(s?!) is another example...

From a performer's point of view, it's an easy way to get an otherwise retiscent audience to join in! I find it 'breaks the ice' - they find it easier than learning a chorus!


31 Jan 05 - 09:11 AM (#1394194)
Subject: RE: Why do people do the Happy Claps?
From: Bunnahabhain

In our group of folk dancers (scottish country dance), there are certain tunes that pick up clapping. It's all in time to the music, but with several different rythms going at once. On beat, off beat, double claps etc.
But the same group of people don't clap to songs. at all.

Bunnahabhain


31 Jan 05 - 10:03 AM (#1394246)
Subject: RE: Why do people do the Happy Claps?
From: Bee-dubya-ell

I have a live recording of a sacred steel band that includes an interlude where the band quits playing for several seconds while the audience continues clapping. It's definitely not your typical on-the-downbeat clapping. It's highly polyrhytmic with a very strong backbeat emphasis.

I guess that says a little about the rhytmic sophistication of the largely black sacred steel audience versus your typical white pub crowd?


31 Jan 05 - 03:52 PM (#1394665)
Subject: RE: Why do people do the Happy Claps?
From: EagleWing

Some years ago I wrote a "country dance [square or quadrille]" (traditional of course) in which there is an "into the centre and out twice" figure. Within a year that particular figure had picked up a "Yeehah" which certainly adds interest. It wasn't designed. Just happened. Perhaps the equivalent of a happy clap (which sounds terribly "pentecostal").


31 Jan 05 - 03:58 PM (#1394670)
Subject: RE: Why do people do the Happy Claps?
From: just john

LtS: Not only are they happy, they KNOW it!

And so ...


31 Jan 05 - 04:04 PM (#1394675)
Subject: RE: Why do people do the Happy Claps?
From: Liz the Squeak

They really want to show it?

Thanks.. now Limpit is singing it in my ear....

LTS


31 Jan 05 - 04:08 PM (#1394679)
Subject: RE: Why do people do the Happy Claps?
From: just john

I always wanted to do this verse:

If you are uncertain about the state of your happiness,
Shrug your shoulders.
If you have doubts pertaining to the state of your happiness,
Shrug your shoulders.
If your happiness is in doubt,
But not so much you pout,
If you are uncertain concerning the state of your happiness,
Shrug your shoulders.


31 Jan 05 - 04:18 PM (#1394690)
Subject: RE: Why do people do the Happy Claps?
From: McGrath of Harlow

I wouldn't call them "Happy". I don't mean clapping as such, it can be fine - but when people start doing stuff with The Wild Rover or The Titanic, I think it's a signal to head for the bar.


31 Jan 05 - 06:58 PM (#1394924)
Subject: RE: Why do people do the Happy Claps?
From: Joybell

And who put the Yah de yah de yah de yah in "Bare foot days"? I've always wondered. Cheers, Joy