By Karen Burland, Stephanie Pitts

Coughing and Clapping: Investigating viewers event explores the tactics and reports of attending reside song occasions from the preliminary determination to wait via to viewers responses and stories of a functionality after it has occurred. The booklet brings jointly overseas researchers who reflect on the adventure of being an viewers member from a number theoretical and empirical views. no matter if having fun with a drink at a jazz gig, tweeting at a pop live performance or suppressing a cough at a classical recital, viewers event is plagued by motivation, functionality caliber, social surroundings and crew and private identification. Drawing at the implications of those studies and attitudes, the authors examine the query of what makes an viewers, and argue convincingly for the sensible and educational price of that question.

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Each of these case studies has been presented in detail elsewhere, but this is my first opportunity to compare the decision making and range of motivations that are to be found across the various audiences in their different musical contexts. 1 Audience studies 2003–2010 2003 Music in the Round (MitR): Audience experience of a chamber music festival Audience questionnaires distributed throughout the week-long festival (347 responses) Semi-structured interviews with a sample of questionnaire respondents (19 interviews) Diaries completed by 13 members of the audience during the festival 2006 MitR: Audience loyalty in a time of transition (with Chris Spencer) Audience questionnaires distributed through the Friends of MitR mailing list (78 responses) Semi-structured interviews with a sample of respondents (16 interviews) 2007 Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival: Audience experience in a range of venues (with Karen Burland) Audience questionnaires distributed at a range of gigs and venues (701 responses) Semi-structured telephone interviews with a sample of questionnaire respondents (36 interviews) 24 Coughing & Clapping: Investigating Audience Experience 2009 Spin Jazz, Oxford: Audience experience at a jazz club (with Karen Burland) Online questionnaire advertised through flyers at gigs and on the club’s website (91 responses) Semi-structured telephone interviews carried out with a representative sample of those who provided contact details at the end of the questionnaire (15 interviews) Online diaries completed by six respondents, fortnightly for two months 2009 MitR New audiences for classical music: Recruiting listeners aged 21–30 (with Melissa Dobson) Focus group study, involving six first-time attenders going to two concerts, and participating in group and individual interviews 2010 City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO): Investigating performer and audience loyalty in the symphony hall (with Melissa Dobson, Kate Gee and Chris Spencer) Online audience questionnaire distributed via mailing lists and through flyers given out at concerts (174 responses) Semi-structured interviews with a sample of audience respondents (20 interviews) Semi-structured interviews with CBSO players (6 interviews) This sequence of audience studies evolved to explore differences, initially between audience members and participating amateur musicians (Pitts, 2005a), then between audiences of different musical genres – chamber music, jazz, and orchestral – and in the different settings of an intimate ‘in the round’ concert venue, large formal halls and above-the-pub jazz clubs.

Among regular listeners in each context were those who attended more selectively, prioritizing repertoire or performers that they knew or, less often, seeking out rarely heard pieces to supplement their already extensive live listening experience. While audience members often viewed their own experience as distinctive, making reference to their level of knowledge or past attendance habits, they were also reassured to be among like-minded people, expectant of friendly conversation in the interval and being made welcome by venue staff and fellow listeners.

The theorization of the consumption of live arts performance, in particular, is very underdeveloped within marketing and consumption studies (Minor et al. g. Holbrook and Hirschman, 1982; Kozinets, 2002). An interesting and helpful paper by Joy and Sherry (2003, p. 280) on multisensory embodied arts consumption experiences, is, the authors argue, ‘a corrective to the producer’s perspective of consumption that dominates the discourse of experience’. Live music is a unique form of musical experience spontaneously co-created by musicians and their audience.

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