Ongoing History of New Music

Ongoing History Daily: The longest song in the world

What is the longest song ever written?  The answer is a piece entitled “As Slow As Possible” by avant-garde composer John Cage. 

A group in eastern Germany has taken Cage’s instructions to the limit.  They started playing “As Slow As Possible” on an organ in a small church on September 5, 2001.  If things go according to plan, this performance is scheduled to wrap up on September 5, 2640.  That means a running time of 639 years. 

There have been seventeen chord changes so far with the latest happening on February 5, 2022, when a G# that had been played since September 5, 2022, was released, leaving just its one-time-companion E. As one person wrote, this is an organ recital for the very, very patient. 

Six hundred and thirty-nine years.  And this is before anyone gets to the extended dance remix…

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37401 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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