Etiquette for Concert of Classical Music

Oct 10, 2016 | Latest Posts, Stories

Attending a concert of classical music is a unique and very distinctive experience then concerts of popular (rock, pop etc.) or jazz music. Classical concerts benefit from a more formal atmosphere with rules of etiquette by which some audience members may be initially intimidated. These rules are easy to follow and very straightforward if you get used to them.

Curtain Calls and Encores
When the applause repeatedly continues after the competition of a composition the performers may return to the stage and resume performance positions, singling the audience that they will perform a bonus composition (encore). This may continue for several encores if the performers feel energetic and audience excited but usually no more than an extra half hour.

Eating, Drinking, Smoking

Any eating, drinking or smoking is strictly forbidden during classical concerts and usually in the venues they take place.


Dress Code
Elegant attire is recommendable for these events, as you will feel more comfortable if you dress in a respectful manner. This can be interpreted differently by different people but the strict rule is to avoid casual clothing like jeans, shorts, t-shirts or any clothing with holes, rips or tears in them.
The perfectly appropriate outfit for a female would be a nice dress and for male, nice suit or an elegant combination of trousers, shirt and blazer. Generally the tendency is that audiences of classical concerts in big metropolitan cities dress more formally than in smaller cities.


Protocol for Entering the Hall and Staying Seated

It is recommended that you arrive at least 5-10 minutes ahead of the scheduled concert, find your seat, take a program (so you can follow throughout the acts) and sit. It is polite to engage in a brief conversation with companions or audience members sitting nearby but as soon as the light dim, any discussion should cease. The concert should flow uninterrupted therefore turn off your electronic devices and watch alarms. Finally it is crucial to mention that regardless of any enthusiasm you may experience during a performance, standing up and dancing is not acceptable.

No Talking, Singing or Yelling

During each performances, it is absolutely strictly against the etiquette to talk, sing along, hum or yell (regardless of whether in a positive or negative light). If it is absolutely necessary you may share an infrequent discreet whisper with your companion and bring your attention back to the performance.

Clapping and Showing Appreciation

As the performances go forward, you will definitely enjoy several major compositions of music. These performances may include several movements as subcategories and clapping between  movements is not desirable. Notably it is not always possible to differentiate between movements and in such case follow the lead of the experienced audience members around you. It is not unusual for the audience to grant a slight pause after the end of a composition before the applause begins. This is a way of saving the magic of the music before breaking the spell. Upon competition of a performance it is acceptable to stand clapping (standing ovation) when it has been particularly extraordinary.

Note: Outdoor classical concerts have a slightly more relaxed mood and atmosphere which is less formal than indoor classical concert. Even so talking and making noise during any performance of classical concert is very inappropriate. These rules of etiquette are easy to follow once you experience the atmosphere and familiarise yourself with the protocol, then they become as second nature. Follow these simple rules and you will leave with greater enjoyment.



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