The theory and practice of recording hand claps

I was desperate for a good excuse to link to this post from Tape Op magazine, which is a brilliant thing about how to record handclaps. Sample quote: "If you have four drumers clapping perfectly in time, it sucks. But when you get your neighbor to come over, who will always slightly lag behind because he's so nervous, that lag spreads out the clap and gives you that 80's drum machine type of clap that is SUPER fat".
So, I asked Kate from The Priscillas to for her top ten cool records with hand claps on them: This would make a great album...
1: The Angels: 'My Boyfriend's Back'
2: The Ramones: 'Do You Remember Rock'n'Roll Radio?'
3: Roxy Music: 'Do The Strand'
4: The Belle Stars: 'The Clapping Song' (Yes, sorry, that's the Aaron Carter version. Or here is the Baccara version, which I can highly recommend).
5: The Meters: 'Hand Clapping Song'
6: Santa Esmeralda: 'Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood'
7: Tony Basil 'Hey Mickey'
8: Thee Headcoats 'Davy Crockett' (Let me know if you find this on the web)
9: Belle & Sebastian: 'The Boy with the Arab Strap'
10: Kenickie - 'Come Out 2 Nite'
Bonus Track: The best clapping solo of all time: 'Greased Lightning' from Grease. Obviously.


Comments:
i've got the most convincing set of handclap samples in the world! they're for the S770! that's all i've got to say!
 
So post your samples on the web somewhere and let us link to them!
 
My favorite use of handclaps? Marion's "Strangers".
 
"Domino Dancing" by the Pet Shop Boys
 
It has to be mentioned that the 1176 is the best hand clap squasher of all time. Without out one they just sound like little ticks to me.
 
no way.. it has to be Parliament-Funkadelic ! they have lots of claps
 
Can't believe nobody mentioned "Car Wash" by Rose Royce.
 
Zapp !!! The biggest clap in the world... With G Clinton of course...
 
Best use of hands in a percussive role:- 'In The Navy' by the village people (so I'm told)
 
Pilot were fond of handclaps. Check out the singles "Magic" and "January".
 
sylvester 'over and over' (fantasy and some other labels) has some great sloppy live claps in the breakdowns.
 
To double your claps when recording, it is common to slap your thighs instead of your hands.

Stu
 
Good Selection!!
I would add this track: "Nina Simone - See Line Woman". I've talked about this song in my blog.
 
As I understand it, Bernie Worell of PFunk was the inovator behind the synthesized hand-clap, or maybe sampled? I don't know how he did it but they weren't "real," and were partially responsible for much of the 80's. But god bless him anyway.

Seems he should be included just for his contribution to the field.
 
I've just got to add Steve Reich's Clapping Music to the list of great clapping music.
 
Naw Best hand clap sound was from the Oberheim DMX as heard on so many early 80 synth pop records notably Heaven 17's "Penthouse and Pavement" and "Luxury Gap" LPs. That CLap is far and away the best a close second would be what ever Thomas Dolby used on "Europa and the Pirate Twins" again an early 80's claptastic tune
 
While maybe not the most famous hand claps ever, with out them this song wouldn't be much. John Cougar's (later on John Mellencamp)80's hit "Jack and Diane". I guess the 80's were big on hand claps and saxaphone solos...you don't hear many of either in todays music.
 
Damn, people. This article has been up for a year and a half and nobody has mentioned Papa Was A Rollin Stone? Damn. Seriously.
 
'Yield no to temptation" by Bobby "Blue Bland...
or any authentic flamenco
 
Gino Soccio's 'Dancer', anybody?
 
"The Ghetto" anyone? Bold use of clapping hands on the speed of the hi-hat, not the snare drum. Loud as hell too. Apalling.
 
Dude... My Best Friend's Girl by the Cars. ...Also "I've Got the Clap" by Alan Clapp and the Clappingtons.
 
One of my favorite handclap tracks is "Fahrenheit Fair Enough" by Telefon Tel Aviv. It breaks down to a handclap part in the second half of the song, and *one* of the claps is sent into this beautiful spring reverb-sounding verb....just gorgeous.
 
Yeah, that Telefon Tel Aviv track is pretty good for that. There's also a great Tortoise track with claps on it off Standards, I forget which one it is, I think it's either Seneca or Speakeasy...

My favourite clap is also the oberheim, it's so fake and great-sounding. Also, I still think the 808 clap is fun.

I've got a great clap sound in my my roland 6-pad drum thing.
 
"Time of the Season", natch
 
'Who Are You' - The Who
 
I got my dad a DVD of Queen at Wembley Stadium for his birthday. "Radio Gaga" has one of the most amazing instances of audience clapping involvement I've ever seen!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0jw0IPYRAM
 
Outkast "Rosa Parks"!!!!
 
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