Claps for Music

Suman Chattapaddhyaya (Later known as Kabir Suman) came to Dhaka, Bangladesh in 1996 for his music performance. The audience of the program, held in the indoor stadium at Mirpur, was not inspiring enough for the artiste as Suman was not receiving claps on perfect beats. He then sang another song on easy beats and asked the audience to clap in rhythm. The result was not satisfactory again and seemingly expected. Yesterday (December 27, 2017) Aditi Mangaldas and her troupe asked the audience of the Bengal Classical Music Festival to clap on beat. Satisfactorily it was nearly perfect. It was much better than the experience in 1996. Did the Bengali people become rhythmic in last 21 years? The answer is not that straight. This is partly because of the qualitative difference in the mass gathered in two programs.

The so-called quality listeners of classical music programs in Dhaka (at least in 2017) do not know when and how to clap in a program. Everyone will be in accord that, claps are for praising the performers. It comes spontaneously from the audience when a musical performer shows a very fine skill or a touchy melody or a subtle creation or a striking combination or something that was never seen before. This is perfectly alright. Performers have actually been preparing and practising for years for such appreciations. But, it does not inspire the performers when thousands of claps come all together in the middle of a fine piece of music. Rather it slaps the performer on straight to the face that eventually tells them to stop and get off the stage. The audience need to be educated about where to correctly applaud in a musical performance. Will it take 21 years more? Even if it happens, that is, audience will generally be able to appreciate by clapping a music performance at the right time, it will be too late. I am personally not very hopeful on this.

Why? Bengali people of Dhaka in 2017 relates to the following points.

(1) They do not love to listen others.

(2) They are emotional people and always try to react quick.

(3) They like to confirm our existence by doing anything; why not by clapping.

(4) They are not willing to get into a holistic event; not even a full felling of a musical piece.

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