In Tuesday’s (1/29) Telegraph (London), Rosa Silverman writes, “It may come as no surprise to anyone whose enjoyment of the music has been ruined by a chorus of coughs, but it now appears they are not just exaggerating the nuisance. Professor Andreas Wagner, a German economist, said there were few statistics on the subject but all the existing research did indicate a strange increase in coughing among classical concert audiences. He said the finding held true even when the demographic make-up of the average classical concert audience was accounted for. ‘They might be older (but) there still remains a substantial amount of excess coughing that has to be explained somehow,’ he said. What may be more surprising to the disgruntled concert-goer whose outings have been plagued by the coughs of others is that certain types of music appear to attract more coughs. ‘It is the more modern pieces of 20th century classical music, it is the more quiet and slow movements that are interrupted by coughs,’ Prof Wagner said. ‘It is also non-random, in that coughing sometimes appears to occur in sort of avalanches or cascades through the audience so there are some patterns.’ ”

Posted January 30, 2013