AskDefine | Define audience

Dictionary Definition



1 a gathering of spectators or listeners at a (usually public) performance; "the audience applauded"; "someone in the audience began to cough"
2 the part of the general public interested in a source of information or entertainment; "every artist needs an audience"; "the broadcast reached an audience of millions"
3 an opportunity to state your case and be heard; "they condemned him without a hearing"; "he saw that he had lost his audience" [syn: hearing]
4 a conference (usually with someone important); "he had a consultation with the judge"; "he requested an audience with the king" [syn: consultation, interview]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /ˈɔːdiəns/, /"O:di@ns/


From audience.


  1. A group of people seeing a performance.
    We joined the audience just as the lights went down.
  2. The readership of a written publication.
    "Private Eye" has a small but faithful audience.
  3. A following
    The opera singer expanded his audience by singing songs from the shows.
  4. A formal meeting with a state or religious dignitary.
    She managed to get an audience with the Pope.

Usage notes

In some dialects, audience is used as a plurale tantum.

Derived terms


a group of people seeing a performance
the readership of a written publication
a following
a formal meeting with a state or religious dignitary
  • Chineses traditional/simplified: 聽眾,听众 (tīng zhong)
  • German: Audienz
  • Greek: ακρόαση
  • Hungarian: kihallgatás
  • Italian: udienza
  • Russian: аудиенция
  • Slovene: avdienca
  • Spanish: audiencia
קהל-מעריצים (qhal-ma'aritzym) m (3); מפגש (mifgash) m (4)

External links



  • lang=fr|/ɔ.djɑ̃s/
  • SAMPA: /O.djA~s/


From audentia.


fr-noun f

Extensive Definition

An audience is a group of people who participate in an experience or encounter a work of art, literature, theatre, music or academics in any medium. Audience members participate in different ways in different kinds of art; some events invite overt audience participation and others allowing only modest clapping and criticism and reception.
Media audiences are studied by academics in media audience studies. Audience theory also offers scholarly insight into audiences in general.

Audience participation

One of the most well-known examples of popular audience participation is the motion picture The Rocky Horror Picture Show and its earlier stage incarnation The Rocky Horror Show. The audience participation elements are often seen as the most important part of the picture, to the extent that the audio options on the DVD version include the option of callbacks being included in the audio.
Another example is the theatrical adventure called Tamara, set in post-World War II Italy. In Tamara, audience members trailed cast members around many rooms in a Victorian house, seeing only a portion of the show each time they attended. Tamara launched a new level of audience participation.
In the musical, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee audience members are invited to be guest spellers onstage during the show.
One of the earliest and most famous examples of audience participation in music was Queen's "We Will Rock You" in 1977, when Freddie Mercury and Brian May thought it would be an interesting experiment to write songs with audience participation specifically in mind.
Now murder mysteries and interactive comedies like Tony and Tina's Wedding have extended audience participation even further. Members of the audience are cast as members of the fictional family or as suspects in the mystery. Audience members may engage in conversation with the cast, breaking the fourth wall entirely. They may be encouraged to dance with members of the cast, or to step into roles of missing performers. One purpose of this twist to such productions is to force the performers to improvise on the spot, which of course is part of the entertainment.
Another murder mystery is "The Mystery of Edwin Drood", a Broadway musical. In it, the audience must vote for who they think the murderer is, as well as the real identity of the detective and the couple who end up together.
The British panel game QI often allows the audience to try and answer questions. Currently, the audience have won one show, and have come last in another.

Modern classical music audience

By looking at an age ratio of people visiting Boston Symphony hall we can truly say that classical music audience is aging. The average age for the American Classical Music audience is the mid-30s, and the average age in Europe is even older; for instance, for Saint-Petersburg it is 53. (quoted from Saint-Petersburg newspaper Metro) This has been of some concern in recent years by performers and people in the Classical music industry. This decline in younger-generation attendance has been attributed to the vastness of the varieties of music available in these times as well as the distinct absence of Classical music education in the school curriculums. Many classical music audiences are even averse to the direction that composition has taken in modern and contemporary music, such as new tonal and atonal languages, rhythmic concepts, and other radical musical developments presented in serialism, polytonality, minimalism, aleatoric music, etc. even though Classical music has been developing in that direction for the past century, which shows how out of touch much of the public has become with the genre. This is partly a result of a decline in public sponsorship that has been replaced by institutional sponsorship, namely university sponsorship, connecting Classical music with the circles of higher education and academia and alienating those who may not have been exposed to such music through formal education.
“Proper concert etiquette” is another issue that is up for debate. While the current practice is to refrain from clapping between movements, saving applause until the end of an entire piece, many newer audience members who do so anyway because of unfamiliarity with the practice are met with scorn by more experienced audience members. Supporters of the practice consider it disruptive to the concert experience and coherence of a piece to interrupt the silence between movements, while others believe that the rule is too stringent and unnecessarily promotes a haughty, disdainful image of classical music that is unappealing to many potential new audiences. Historically, clapping between movements was not considered bad etiquette, and in many cases it was actually expected. This trend, of course, changed over time due to the dislike by musicians such as Arturo Toscanini and Igor Stravinsky of the unruly behavior of audiences; they worked at ensuring that audiences treated the concert with more reverence. Some people argue that such expectations for audience behavior is proper and should be upheld out of respect for the music, while others believe creates an impersonal concert atmosphere that distances audiences from the performers and disinterests them.
In order to reach out to a wider audience, many musicians and groups have tried different methods of outreach, including pre-concert lectures and lecture-concerts, educational outreach programs in schools, audience question-and-answer sessions, casual concert settings, and so on. Some groups have found that discussion of the music helps the audience to follow it better and appreciate it more, while other people believe that too much explanation is unnecessary and excessive and that it is better for the music to stand on its own so that audience members can enjoy it on their own terms.
audience in Bosnian: Publika
audience in Danish: Publikum
audience in German: Publikum
audience in Estonian: Publik
audience in Spanish: Espectador
audience in Korean: 관객
audience in Italian: Spettatore
audience in Hebrew: קהל
audience in Japanese: 観客
audience in Norwegian: Publikum
audience in Norwegian Nynorsk: Tilskodar
audience in Russian: Публика
audience in Simple English: Audience
audience in Slovak: Publikum
audience in Swedish: Publik
audience in Chinese: 閱聽人

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

accepter, acquirer, addressee, aficionado, attender, attention, audition, auditor, auditory, bargaining, bargaining session, beholder, buff, bugging, claqueur, clientage, clientele, conclave, confab, confabulation, conference, confrontation, congregation, congress, consideration, consignee, consultation, convention, council, council fire, council of war, deadhead, discussion, ear, eavesdropping, electronic surveillance, exchange of views, eyeball-to-eyeball encounter, fan, favorable attention, frequenter, gallery, getter, groundling, habitue, haunter, hearer, hearing, high-level talk, hired applauder, holder, house, huddle, interchange of views, interview, listener, listening, listening in, looker, meeting, moviegoer, negotiations, news conference, obtainer, orchestra, palaver, parley, pass holder, patron, payee, pit, playgoer, pourparler, powwow, press conference, procurer, public, receiver, recipient, seance, session, sitting, spectator, standee, summit, summit conference, summitry, taker, theater, theatergoer, trustee, tryout, viewer, visitor, wiretapping
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