Snapping (or clicking) one's fingers is the act of creating a snapping or clicking sound with one's fingers. Primarily this is done by building tension between the thumb and another (middle, index, or ring) finger and then moving the other finger forcefully downward so it hits the palm of the same hand at a high speed.
In Ancient Greece snapping of fingers was used by musicians and dancers as a way to keep the rhythm and it was known with the words "ἀποληκέω" (apolekeo), "ἀποκρότημα" (apokrotema) (from the verb "ἀποκροτέω" - apokroteo, "to snap the fingers") and "ἐπίπταισμα" (epiptaisma). Finger snapping is still common in modern Greece.
Finger snapping may be used as a substitute for hand clapping. The University of Michigan Men's Glee Club has a long tradition of doing this. The club's history states, "The reason behind this (as legend goes) is you can't clap and hold a beer [at the same time]! Another possible reason is that snapping is less disruptive than clapping during speeches and announcements." The practice of finger snapping is also popular within the poetry slam community, used by the audience as a spontaneous in-the-moment show of support or agreement with what is being shared by the poet. The practice has also infiltrated some conferences.
Snapping one's fingers abruptly and repetitively, often in conjunction with one or more spoken exclamations, is commonly employed in getting someone else's attention.
In many cultures, finger snapping is a form of body percussion.
Sounds of a fingersnap also are sampled and used in many disparate genres of music, used mostly as percussion; the works of Angelo Badalamenti exhibit this in the soundtracks to, e.g., Twin Peaks, Lost Highway, as does the theme song from the television series The Addams Family.
Beshkan (Persian: بشكن), also known as the "Persian snap", is a traditional Iranian finger snap requiring both hands. The snapper creates a crackling/clicking noise similar in mechanism to the normal snap but louder in practice.
There are two variations of the Persian snap. The most common of the two for a right-handed individual is as follows:
- Place hands together and rotate until the three right hand fingers are at the junction of the hand and fingers.
- Rest the right middle finger on the left hand securely.
- Then using the tension provided by the left thumb, snap the right index finger onto the gap between the junction and right middle finger.
- Martin Litchfield West, Ancient Greek music, Oxford University Press, 199
- ἀποληκέω, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library
- ἀποκρότημα, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library
- ἀποκροτέω, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library
- ἐπίπταισμα, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library
- "University of Michigan Men's Glee Club || About | History_html_5". Ummgc.org. Archived from the original on 2016-06-21. Retrieved 2011-12-28.
- Rosman, Katherine (2015-11-21). "Why Snapping Is the New Clapping (Published 2015)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
- "How To Beshkan, when you feel you beshkant". YouTube. 2009-04-15. Retrieved 2011-12-28.