Do you clap on the 1-3 or the 2-4?

[Theory 101 hijack]

In 4/4 timing, there are 4 equal beats per measure:

0 0 0 0 | 0 0 0 0 (two measures with each 0 representing a quarter note)

A whole note holds for the entire four beats. A half note holds for two beats. An eighth note is twice as fast as a quarter note:

oo oo oo oo| oo oo oo oo (eighth notes)

A 16th is four times faster

… … … …|… … … … (16th notes)

In the Queen song, the fourth beat is silent, giving the third beat the emphasis. The rhythm is in 8th notes

Stomp, Stomp, Clap, (pause).
Stomp, stomp, Clap, (pause).

We will we will | r u
o o o o o o o o | o o o o o o o o
----------------------| s s cla s s clap

It’s hard to do the visual here. Hope that makes some sense.
[/Theory hijack 101]

I’m not sure that’s what they SAY in the states, but is typically what they DO, at least in sports venues. Two stomps (feet on floor) followed by a clapping of hands. As far as illustrating the actual sound, the French version makes more sense!

It depends on the song, well actually it depends on how the song is being performed. Some songs punch 1 and 3, while others 2 & 4. A friend of mine once sung the opening theme to the Jeffersons (Well, we’re moving on up!) but instead of singing it in the black gospel style he sung it like a Protestant Hymn and it was very funny. But then again he and I are both trained musicains so we can clap either way.

A few years back the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying was revived on Broadway. At the end of the show there is a song called The Brotherhood of Man. The song starts with all the men singing. Later the secretaries join in lead by a gospel/bluesy singer, who also happens to be black. Anyway at one point of the song the men clap on 1 and 3 and she stops them and shows them how to clap on 2 and 4.

Of course the real answer is that you clap on 1 and 3 and you snap your fingers on 2 & 4.

The only reason I would clap along in the first place is if the performer starts it. Then I would clap the same way he claps.

Now do you tap your toes or beat time with your heel?

Maroon 5’s “This Love” is very heavy on the 1, with a slight accent on the4 and the & of 4. This would work well for you silly 1 3 clappers.


OOOOO-excellent song to work with!

For SURE I’m not clapping on this or love.


I (?) Got Rhythm

This one almost works both ways since each beat is SO punctuated, but it still seems a lot more square to clap on “This” and “has” (1 and 3) compared to clapping on “Love” and “taken”. (2 and 4)