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05 September 2020 22:46

Organ² / ASLSP John Cage Organ

Slow music: Chord is changed in 639-year-long organ piece

It's a big day for fans of experimental music and/or people with a lot of time on their hands, as the Associated Press reports that a chord just changed in a 639-year-long performance of an organ composition by John Cage for the first time in nearly seven years. Following a 1997 conference of musicians and philosophers, this performance of "ASLSP" began on September 5th, 2001, which would've been Cage's 89th birthday, at the St. Burchardi Church in Halberstadt, Germany. It's played on a special organ built specifically for this piece, with a compressor in the basement blowing air into the pipes to create a continuous sound. Soprano singer Johanna Vargas and organist Julian Lembke manually changed the chord on Saturday, drawing hundreds of fans to witness the event. Typically, thousands of visitors make the pilgrimage to Halberstadt to witness a chord change, but the number of guests allowed into the church was limited this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

© Provided by Associated Press Organist Julian Lembke, center, changes a pipe of the organ of the John Cage organ project during a 'chord change' at the partially ruined Burchardi Church in Halberstadt, Germany, Saturday, Sept. © Provided by Associated Press The organ of the John Cage organ project is illuminated prior to a 'sound change' at the partially ruined Buchardi Church in Halberstadt, Germany, Saturday, Sept. Since 2001 an interpretation of the music peace 'Organ/ASLSP', As Slow As Possible, by US composer John Cage is performed on the organ. © Provided by Associated Press Singer Johanna Vargas changes a pipe of the organ of the John Cage organ project during a 'chord change' at the partially ruined Burchardi Church in Halberstadt, Germany, Saturday, Sept. It was partially destroyed during the Thirty Years' War, later rebuilt, at some point secularized and over the centuries also served as a barn, a distillery and a pigsty, the John Cage Organ Project said on its website.

© Provided by Associated Press People, wearing face masks to protect against the coronavirus as they line up to attend a 'chord change' of the organ of the John Cage organ project at the partially ruined Burchardi Church in Halberstadt, Germany, Saturday, Sept. The performance of the "ORGAN/ASLSP," or As Slow As Possible, composition by John Cage began in September 2001 at the church in the eastern town of Halberstadt and is supposed to end in 2640. Fans have flocked to a church in Germany to hear a chord change in a song which lasts for 639 years. The song by avant-garde composer, John Cage, is the world's longest and slowest piece of music. Hundreds of fans have attended a special kind of musical happening at a church in Germany: a chord change in an organ piece that is supposed to last for an entirety of 639 years.

The performance of the Organ/ASLSP (As Slow As Possible) composition began in September 2001 at the St Burchardi church in the eastern town of Halberstadt and is supposed to end in 2640 — if all goes well. The last sound has been the same one for the last six years and 11 months, and therefore the chord change was a big event among fans of the John Cage Organ Project. Visitors queueing in front of the Burchardi church to experience the change of sound of the John Cage Organ Foundation on Saturday. It was only on 5 February 2003, the day of the first chord change, that the first organ pipe chords could actually be heard inside the church. It was partially destroyed during the Thirty Years' War, later rebuilt, at some point secularised and over the centuries also served as a barn, a distillery and a pigsty, the John Cage Organ Project said on its website.

HALBERSTADT, Germany — Hundreds of fans attended a special kind of musical happening Saturday at a church in Germany: a chord change in an organ piece that is supposed to last for an entirety of 639 years. The performance of the "ORGAN/ASLSP," or As Slow As Possible, composition began in September 2001 at the St. Burchardi Church in the eastern town of Halberstadt and is supposed to end in 2640 – if all goes well. The music piece by the American composer John Cage is played on a special organ inside the medieval church. The last sound has been the same one for the last six years and 11 months, and therefore the chord change Saturday was a big event among fans of the John Cage Organ Project. It was partially destroyed during the Thirty Years' War, later rebuilt, at some point secularized and over the centuries also served as a barn, a distillery and a pigsty, the John Cage Organ Project said on its website.

Chord changes usually draw several thousand visitors to Halberstadt, but because of the coronavirus pandemic, the number of guests allowed into the church was limited this year.