Who coughs during classical concerts?

venosWe’ve all been there – enjoying one of our favourite pieces of classical music, played by some of the best musicians in the world in one of the most prestigious concert halls in existence when all of a sudden a quiet moment in the music comes and oh no! You’ve got an insane tickle in your throat and you can’t help but having a massive coughing fit.

How embarrassing! And you have to deal with the ferocious stares of your fellow concertgoers, who can’t believe you’d dare ruin the performance for them. Bit unfair, considering you can’t help yourself. Or can you? According to new research from the University of Hannover, people cough twice as much during classical music concerts and many may even be doing it on purpose!

Professor Andreas Wagener’s report, Why Do People (not) Cough in Concerts?, posits that concert coughing is excessive and not random and, what’s more, typically increases during quieter, slower movements or more complicated, unknown pieces.

“If coughing were purely accidental, it should occur evenly distributed over the concert, which is not the case,” he said.

Have you ever interrupted a classical concert, by mistake or otherwise?


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