There are many theories on why listening to music makes us feel so good and whilst evolutionary psychologists will link it to a whole lot of primitive instincts for most of us we just like the fact that it makes us feel good, full stop.
Different genres of music can arouse different feelings, emotions and responses and whilst many genres seem to come and go in popularity the great thing is that the music itself is always there for us.
One of our main passions at The hand clap movement, not surprisingly, is hand clap music and this genre of music it is pretty much self-explanatory. It is such a basic mode but is so incredibly demonstrative and engaging. We aim to answer questions like what is so special about hand clap, where did it come from and where is it going.
The history of hand clap music is not well documented and you have to look in depth at the early related and associated types of music such as African Music, Black Gospel Music and African American Sorrow Songs.
African music has a long history and a tradition that hasn’t changed much through the years. An integral part of West African music in particular is the use of bells, musical instruments that create sound by being struck without the use of membranes or strings, as well as the expressive use of handclapping. There are many examples of West African songs where handclapping is the sole accompanying instrument and it is an integral part of the piece. Musical presentations can last for house with energetic hand clapping taking on a fundamental role within the music and even forming part of the break between songs. The hand clapping can be a simple accompaniment but usually consists of a variety of rhythmic patterns that provide the listener with a unique musical experience.
Black Gospel is a musical style which displays a high spirited and energetic expression that is a fundamental part of the song itself and consists of stamping feet and infrequent vocal call-outs as well as the all-important rhythmic handclapping. It is often said that Black Gospel hand clapping is merely a result of a natural outpouring of happiness and joy but it is much more than that. It is normally a well-rehearsed and carefully orchestrated accompaniment to the song that requires timing, rhythm and dynamic control.
African American sorrow songs were created before the American Civil War by African American slaves working on the plantations, newly converted to Christianity, who adapted the hymns of the protestant missionaries and made them their own. This meant the introduction of African rhythms and the traditional African approach to music which included foot stomping, shouting and hand clapping. This music was later to become known as folk spirituals which is also referred to as Negro Spirituals and was established as a way for the African American slaves to identify and express themselves through song and dance that was a fundamental part of their own religious freedom. It provided an inclusive, collective and cohesive force that helped them overcome the extreme difficulties they experienced at that time. They music was used in a variety of ways, a significant one being the use of coded verses that informed of secret meetings and escape routes, which were freely sung without the plantation owners knowing their true meaning.
There are many artists who use and promote hand clap music either through the very basic mode of simple hand clapping or through a combination of idiophonic techniques which includes rhythmic hand clapping.
The composer Steve Reich has been a notable contributor to the hand clap movement with his now famous ‘Clapping Music’ piece which he wrote in 1972. This followed a visit to Africa in 1971 where he went to research and study local music and culture and experienced the music of West Africa.
Another popular and creative contributor is The Phenomenal Handclap Band who use a range of percussion based methods to accompany their rhythmic music with hand clapping and tambourines taking centre stage.
There are many well-known songs that have used handclapping to great effect such as I want to hold your hand by The Beatles, Stuck in the middle with you, by Stealers Wheel and We will rock you by Queen.
There are many instances of where clapping and music come together and we will explore these throughout our website. We simply love hand clap music and we aim to promote it to the wider world in every way we can.
We do also however love other genres of music and you will see this come through the postings, views and information we present.
The internet now offers new artists and bands the platform to get their music out there and heard. Audio production software, storage options and the ever increasing reach of social media has made it easier than ever to produce music and share it.
We have all seen the effects a viral video can have on exposure to a market and the opportunities it can offer emerging artists and new bands.
However even with all that said it is still extremely difficult to hit the bigger audiences unless you can get airtime on one of the big radio stations or TV. There are millions of music tracks posted and shared on the internet every year and hitting viral status only happens to the favoured few.
Even though new technologies in conjunction with the internet have helped bring music production and promotion costs down there is still a significant investment required for a new band to launch their career. Many make the investment and suffer the cost without the success and there are many instances where this has led to financial difficulties and debt problems. When a band incurs debt problems this normally becomes a personal debt problem for the individual members of the band and it is not uncommon in these cases for the need of formal debt management solutions such as a trust deed, an IVA or even bankruptcy.
Financial difficulties and debt problems are not confined to new bands trying to make their way. There has been many recent cases of bankruptcy cases concerning high profile musicians and bands who have been successful with their music but for a range of reasons suffer financial problems. This is not just a modern day problem as there have been many similar instances of the need for a formal debt arrangement scheme or a petition for bankruptcy throughout the history of the music industry.
So, best advice for new bands would seem to be that they need to be realistic in their aspirations and careful with the money they spend to launch their careers. Using the internet and social media to maximum effect is a sensible and potentially rewarding route to take as the costs are lower than traditional music production and promotion methods and with a bit of ingenuity and luck the results can be faster and possibly more sustainable. Alternative options include learning the technical aspects of how to produce music yourself.