The World’s Longest Song

I think I speak for all of us when I say that people prefer songs to be of manageable length.  This is why the 3 ½ minute pop song rules the world.  But not everyone feels this way. 

A performance of a John Cage composition written for the organ entitled “As Slow As Possible” is now well underway in a church in Germany.  The piece began with–seriously–seventeen months of dead silence.  (Actually, according to the score, that was a seventeen month rest.)  

The first three notes were played on January 5, 2003. Each year, there’s at least one new note although it gets crazy in some years with two.  The next note change is scheduled for July 5, 2012.

If the piece is played through to its conclusion—if the church and the organ survives—this song it will end on September 5, 2640, exactly 639 years after it was begun.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ 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.

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