Monday, April 19, 2010

clapping for the choir

I made an interesting observation recently.

I was at a concert of sacred music in a church. The first piece was chant, sung from the choir loft. At the end of the piece, there was no applause. Then, the next performer came out on "stage," in front of the audience, and everyone clapped as she came out. And they clapped when she was done.

This got me thinking about and wondering "why" people didn't clap for the chant singers in the choir loft.

It could be, possibly, that chant is just a style of music that does not encourage clapping. While that is true, try to imagine the same group of singers, walking out onto stage, and singing the chant, and walking off again. Of course people would clap when they walked onstage, and when they were finished.

People don't clap for things in the choir loft, or really, for things they can't see.

Leading me to conclude... (as I already knew before typing this...) that musicians during Mass should be *unseen* and in a choir loft if available, and not up front where it *looks* like they are performing, and people may even want to clap!


Aaron said...

I found clapping at St. Thomas's very awkward... the space just speaks against any notions of 'entertainment', and the music was essentially sacred and transcendent.

But then again, the Tallis Scholars has a live recording of their concert in St. Peter's Basilica, and there was applause after each motet/Mass setting... =/

Robert said...


My name is Rev Robert Wright, Editor for, a social network made specifically for Christians, by Christians. We embarked on this endeavor to offer the entire Christian community an outlet to join together and better spread the good word of Christianity. has many great features like Christian TV, prayer requests, finding a church, receiving church updates and advice. We have emailed you to collaborate with you and your blog to help spread the good word of Christianity. I look forward to your response regarding this matter. Thanks!

Rev. Robert Wright

Paul said...

Conversely, at the third Mass yesterday, after communion, our parish choir sang a long piece from the right transept, and did receive a round of applause.

Presumably this singing was in advertisement of that choir's concert, next Sunday.