Tuesday, November 16, 2010

When do you clap?

Several years ago, my dad met and befriended a guy named Tex.

Tex is his real name. He was named after his father's wet-nurse, a woman from another generation.
And, Tex is real person. Real in that he sticks in your mind for years to come. 

Tex retired to a home near my folks. Although he and my dad didn't hang out in the same circle of people, they did run into each other frequently. My dad, the consummate friendly guy, always acknowledge Tex as a long lost friend. The two of them would then disappear to wherever a coffee pot was stationed, and they would drink black coffee and talk for an hour.

One day, Dad told me that Tex was giving a lecture on 'modern worship.' Dad wanted me to join him - I think Dad believed I could interpret any lingo or ideas that he couldn't grasp. So, Dad and I went. 

Tex's lecture was awesome. He did speak on 'modern worship.' He did not preach. He did not have a sermon. He had videos. He had music. He had funny stories. And he had coffee for everyone. 

At that time, churches were going through the 'what do we do with contemporary services' phase. They were realizing a guitar service at 7 PM wasn't the answer if they wanted 'younger families' to join in. They needed rocking music, drums, upbeat movements, interaction. They needed LIFE in their worship.

So, Tex presented the Elvis song "Jail House Rock."
Listen to it. Do you clap along with the song? 
Do you clap on the downbeat? Or on the upbeat?
On the above video, the front row girls are clapping on the upbeat. The older adults, back in rows 4 and 5, clap on the downbeat.
My dad was a downbeat clapper. In fact, at Tex's presentation, everyone over 50 was a downbeat clapper.
I was an upbeat clapper. And, in fact, everyone under 50 was an upbeat clapper. 

For me, Tex's point was proven. 

For the doubting Thomas', Tex had dozens of other examples. I missed them - I was too busy clapping.

The downbeat/upbeat clapping works well on plenty of songs. Try it with John Denver's 'Thank God I'm a Country Boy". Or with any number of early Beatles' songs. 

I promise, you will be forever aware of when you clap.


giantspeckledchihuahua said...

Now you made me curious. I did a quick google search and found that, psychologically speaking, an upbeat clap is related to a positive attitude and a downbeat clap is related to a more negative attitude. Rock and Rollers tends to lean toward the upbeat clapping. I don't agree with this research. I think previous generations were way more positive than the current, believing wholeheartedly in possibilities and the American Dream.

What about those of us without any rhythm? Does this mean I don't have any attitude at all? Wouldn't that be nice!

Still researching...

Brenda's Arizona said...

Cyndi - the best compliment is making people think...

In Tex's crowd that day, the clapping was obviously 'generationally divided', as you describe too. Is it because of the times the generations grew up? The wars they fought? The daily hardships they endured? Did Boomers have it too easy in their childhood, thus they are upbeat? Are rock & rollers upbeat because they didn't have a 'downbeat' life?

Would John Steinbeck's 'family' the Joads clap at all?

Hmmm. No rhythm. Maybe the rhythemless are the ones making the coffee. YIKES!

Pasadena Adjacent said...

My favorite of the guitar strummer preacher men was Lonnie Frisbee not nearly as pretty as Elvis; whom I've been told by my Mississippi gay friends (whom I always trust when it comes to issues of style) was of Turkish origin. Makes you want to know more doesn't it?

clapping, yes, I will never look at it the same way. I want to be a down clapper just to be different

Pat Tillett said...

my mind is a blank chalkboard. Now all i can think about it clapping!

altadenahiker said...

I remember, in the movie Round Midnight starring Dexter Gordon, there's a line that the rhythm of a piece is found in the bass guitar and not the drum. I guess I try to clap on the counter beat, if I can hit it.

BANJO52 said...

Fun topic, but I don't up from down when it comes to beats. I do still like Elvis, however UNcool that may be.