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Clapping: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Two men clapping.

A clap is the sound made by striking together two flat surfaces, as in the body parts of humans or animals. Humans clap with the palms of their hands, often in a constant drone to express appreciation or approval (see applause), but also in rhythm to match sounds in music and dance. Seals are among the animals that clap.

Some people slap the back of one hand into the palm of the other hand to signify urgency or enthusiasm; others consider it uncouth.

Perhaps the best-known koan involves (at least superficially) consideration of the act of clapping: "What is the sound of one hand clapping?"

Clapping is used as a percussion element in many forms of music, for example in Gospel music. In flamenco and sevillanas, two Spanish musical genres, clapping often sets the rhythm and is an integral part of the songs. A sampled or synthesized clap is also a staple of electronic and pop music.


Musical works that include clapping

Classical works performed entirely by clapping

Classical works which include clapping

The clapping patterns known as keplok are important in Javanese gamelan. A type of synthesized clap is popular in many rap and hip hop songs as well. This is derived from and mimics the technique used in older popular music, eg disco and funk of the 1970s, in which multiple instances of real handclaps were recorded (or a single recording was made of a group of performers clapping in unison), usually for the purpose of reinforcing the snare drum beat on the 2nd and 4th beats of the bar. Modern r&b, hip hop and rap often omits the snare drum, making the claps a more obvious and central feature of the beat.

Acoustics applications

Clapping can be used in acoustics to check the reverberation time of a room. The clap's decay time measures this.

World record

The world record for the most claps in sixty seconds is 793, which is held by Tim Ahlstrom of Oconomowoc, WI.

Pedagogical applications

Music students often clap the rhythm of written music to help learn the value of different notes and to get accustomed to the rhythm of new pieces.

See also

External reference

  • Kent French (a.k.a. "Toast"), world's fastest clapper: (video) (site)
  • T. Pierce Brown, Is Clapping Hands in Worship Appropriate? ([5])

Simple English

A clap is hitting your hands together that makes a sound. The harder you hit, the louder the sound, the softer you hit, less the sound. If hitting by means of hand to hand contact it will make a different sound then if you were to clap against another object, say, your leg.


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