What was this musical cups game I played in the 80s?
May 9, 2009 3:14 PM   Subscribe

When I was little (think 80s), a neighborhood friend taught us a musical co-op game that was played with one plastic cup per person (maybe?), and at least 4 people (though it could go up much higher as long as the number were equal).

Basically, it went like this:

You'd sit in a circle, so that there was always someone opposite you, and have a flat surface in front (a card table worked well for 4 people, picnic table for more) where the cups would lay, upside-down.

The first person would start with a *clap* *clap* of the hands, followed by three slaps on the table, one more *clap*, and then you'd pick the cup up with your left hand, slap it against your right hand, slap it on the table, pick it back up with your right, with maybe a few more claps or slaps in between, and pass it to the next person. The person on your left is doing this too, and pretty soon the entire table is clapping and slapping cups in unison to the beat.

There was no drinking involved.

Did anyone else play this? What was it called? Are there any videos online of this? Help!
posted by c:\awesome to Grab Bag (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: P.S. This was in Texas, if that helps.
posted by c:\awesome at 3:15 PM on May 9, 2009

Best answer: Yes, yes, yes. I loved Cup Clap when I was ... okay, I'd still love it if I had anyone to play it with.
posted by notquitemaryann at 3:25 PM on May 9, 2009

We played this in Girl Scouts, mid 90s, southern CA. I believe we just called it "Cups", and I remember it being extremely fun.
posted by crinklebat at 3:26 PM on May 9, 2009

I remember playing it. I think we called it "cups." That's all I remember.
posted by puckish at 3:27 PM on May 9, 2009

We called it "the cup game".
"clap-clap, 1-2-3, clap, move-cup, this-old-man-came-roll-ing-home"
is how I learned the rhythm. Ahh, summer camp.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 4:03 PM on May 9, 2009

I like this clip. It's just one cycle and it's done slowly, and it's done from the side and a little behind so you can copy their movements without having to reverse right-to-left. I found it here.
posted by marsha56 at 9:52 PM on May 9, 2009

Don't know if we had a name for it, but I played it at a summer camp called Teen Institute in the summer of 1999 at Glenville State College in West Virginia.

The one time I remember specifically was during a sort of dance/gathering that was held in a multipurpose room--which just happened to have a kitchen attached, complete with seemingly-infinite trays of plastic institutional cups. I think we got up around a hundred people, all circled around a huge, long table. It was great, and ever so noisy at that level of participation!

I had a good feeling that's what you were talking about when I read your question. For whatever it's worth, the vocal designation for the rhythm that we learned was, "Clap, clap, tap-tap-tap, clap, move RIGHT, clap, side, top, bottom, bottom, cross, down."

What great fun! Thanks for the reminder! :)
posted by miratime at 6:08 AM on May 10, 2009

I played something similar to that in summer camp. We learned it vocally as, "Clap, clap, tap-tap-tap, clap move-it-over. Clap pick-it-up and turn it over." Like they did in the third video, it was most fun if you had several people in a circle, and you picked up the person to your left's cup for the next round. We got really, really good. Don't try this with glasses you aren't willing to chip, as you can get really enthusiastic about it.
posted by Night_owl at 9:27 AM on May 10, 2009

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