The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music notes: Knitting during a live concert is rude, very rude

February 4, 2010

By Jacob Stockinger

Last Friday, I attended to the weekly free Noon Musicale at the First Unitarian Society in Madison.

It was a fine performance of rarely heard string trios by Schubert and Beethoven by three members of the quartet Quartessence.

The performers dug into the music, and the audience was big and enthusiastic.

But there was a problem.

The knitters.

As soon as the three string players – a violinist, a violist and a cellist – started playing, one woman in the front row and another in the second row start to knit.

Maybe there were other knitters behind me, but I couldn’t see them.

Sure, the knitters were quiet. No loud click-clicking of needles or turning book pages to follow a pattern.

And true, the atmosphere at the musicales is more casual and relaxed than at a full-length evening concert.


Does anyone else find it just rude and unacceptable to knit during a live musical performance?

To me, it seems like the older person’s equivalent of texting during the show.

It shows a lack of courtesy and etiquette.

If knitting is what you want to do or have to do, then stay home, put on a CD and knit to your heart’s content.

But you have no business distracting the performers or the other audiences member with your knitting. Either pay attention to the music or don’t go or else leave.

But don’t turn the music into Muzak.

Disturbing others, those playing or those listening, is just plain rude.

In fact, in some ways it is worse than coughing because coughing is usually involuntary.

Before a concert begins, to we really need to announce there should be no knitting along with no texting, no cell phoning and no wristwatch alarms?

Am I being a fuddy-duddy?

Does anyone think knitting during a live musical performance is OK?

The Ear wants to hear.

Posted in Classical music

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