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Dear Garrison, When your audience

July 21, 2005 |

Dear Garrison,
When your audience claps along with the music they don't stay with the beat. This annoys me. Since I don't think you can stop them, can you at least arrange for an audience conductor? Just like you sometimes teach your live audience the four-part harmony, couldn't you also teach them to follow a conductor as they clap?

Alternatively, put the broadcast mikes so close to the musicians and vocalists that we radio listeners don't have to hear the clapping.

Eliot Khuner
Berkeley, CA

I thought that our audiences did a pretty good job of keeping time to music, Eliot. Of course at an enormous outdoor venue such as Tanglewood or Wolf Trap or Ravinia, there's a time delay and the folks clapping 800 feet away are going to be behind the beat, given the speed of sound and all, but by and large, people do well — even manage to clap on the off-beat. Clapping is a spontaneous thing, and we don't encourage it — I would never ever ask an audience to clap along — but when the spirit moves people to do it, you feel charmed and buoyed by it — and correcting people's spontaneous clapping would seem — I don't know — churlish, or pusillanimous, on our part. No? Like correcting the grammar of someone's lavish compliment. I'm sure, though, that Scott Rivard, our intrepid technical director, who mans the mixing board, is doing everything he can do to exclude off-kilter audience clapping from the broadcast mix. And those broadcast mikes are as close to the musicians and vocalists as they possibly can be without doing surgical implants.

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