A clap is the percussive sound made by striking together two flat surfaces, as in the body parts of humans or animals. Humans clap with the palms of their hands, often quickly and repeatedly to express appreciation or approval (see applause), but also in rhythm as a form of body percussion to match the sounds in music, dance, chants, hand games, and clapping games.
Some people slap the back of one hand into the palm of the other hand to signify urgency or enthusiasm. This act may be considered uncouth by others.
Clapping is used in many forms of music. One example is in gospel music. In flamenco and sevillanas, two Spanish musical genres, clapping is called palmas and often sets the rhythm and is an integral part of the songs. A sampled or synthesized clap is also a staple of electronic and pop music.
Clapping is often used to help people recognize the rhythm in sounds. It can be used to help musicians count out rhythms.
It is also used to teach phonological awareness to students learning the ways words are constructed. They often clap out syllables to learn to break words into their component sounds.
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