Body Percussion

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Clapping, snapping, or stomping — these are the most popular forms of body percussion, but the possibilities are endless. All these make a great part of a music game by being accessible, energizing and open to experimentation.

Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry Be Happy" might be the most famous piece with body percussion and it also shows the strong overlap with vocal extended techniques — hitting your body while singing will both produce a sound and alter your voice.

Body percussion has a strong connection with dance and also with theatre. Stomp show was based both on body percussion and found sound and gained an exceptional popularity. The activity is also the main focus of events like International Body Music Festival.


Hambone — A name for body percussion in African and American context.

The word "hambone" is often used in American and African music contexts (the name was used for a dance) and different flavours of body percussion can be found in different regions. For example in Carpathian areas (countries of Central and Eastern Europe) you can find a characteristic "favorite" move of slapping the shoes.


It's also explored in the world of contemporary classical music, for example in Anna Meredith's HandsFree:

Within the older classical music, an interesting usage is a tradition at New Years concerts in Vienna during the Radetzky March.

Clapping games

Children clapping games are by themselves at the crossroads of music and games. The progress of the game is most often fixed, but challenge is usually important. Here are chosen examples of children clapping games that showcase some music game features:

Mijn Vader is een Buschauffeur — stacking

La Makundu Kundu — freedom

Slide Baby — algorithm

For exploring the world of clapping games and other children street games, there is a resource of where videos above come from.

Published games with body percussion

3 links here (see all).

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