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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world.

And Now, Applause For The 'Clapping Music' App


In 1972, composer Steve Reich wrote a piece that — theoretically — anyone can play. No instruments are required for “Clapping Music” other than the human body. The music is produced by two performers, each clapping the same rhythm in 12/8 time. After repeating the phrase eight times, one performer shifts his or her rhythm by one beat. This same process is repeated 12 times, creating an interlocking series of patterns that tickle the ear with polyrhythmic delight. It sounds simple, but it’s hard to pull off.

This summer, the London Sinfonietta and Touchpress released an app that allows anyone to practice and perform the piece on their iPhone or iPad. I just downloaded it this week, and can safely say it’s the most addictive ‘tapping’ game I’ve found online since Rock Band. I’ve found myself spending idle moments vainly attempting to master shifting the pattern every eight bars without losing my place.

Try it for yourself by downloading the free app today, which features a “practice mode” as well as three difficulty levels that score you based on accuracy. The app developers and London Sinfonietta are really behind this thing, by the way. They're even hosting "Clapping Music" competitions around the world.

Plug in your headphones and go mad!

Nathan has been with TPR since 1995, when he began working on classical music station KPAC 88.3 FM, as host of “Tuesday Night at the Opera.” He soon learned the ropes on KSTX 89.1 FM, and volunteered to work practically any shift that came his way, on either station. He worked in nearly every capacity on the radio before moving into Community Engagement, Marketing, and Digital Media. His reporting and criticism has been honored by the Houston Press Club and Texas Associated Press.