Audience comes from the latin audire: to hear; therefore it is completely appropriate to descibe those attending and listening to a musical performance. Of course it is also used for film, theatre and performance. What the word audience does do is make all those attending to a performance, with whatever senses, a collective, a crowd, with the collective, shared feelings that crowds have. In performance the audience, although usually outside the performance itself (extradiegetic) has an effect on the performance. This is particularly clear in music performances, where the ‘dialogue’ set up between the performers and the audience is a key part of the concert’s energy. The term is also used in a wider, more loose sense, to describe an artiste’s public “my audience”.

Stuart Jones

edited 19 March, 2016 by Patricia Austin

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