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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world. To listen to KPAC 88.3 FM, simply open the player in the gray ribbon at the top of this page and choose KPAC: Classical Music.

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!