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As Slow As Possible.
May 4, 2006 11:55 AM   Subscribe

E and E-sharp will end tomorrow. Only 631 and a half years to go.
posted by arse_hat (58 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Excellent, can anyone point me to a torrent for this piece?
posted by justkevin at 12:05 PM on May 4, 2006


oh shit, john cage. Should have known.
posted by puke & cry at 12:10 PM on May 4, 2006 [1 favorite]


The first year and a half of the concert consisted of silence, corresponding to the four minutes and 33 seconds of thin air that unceremoniously begins the composer’s “Organ2/ASLSP.”

That was great, I really enjoyed that part, honey.
posted by pithy comment at 12:12 PM on May 4, 2006


I can't wait for the dance remix.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:13 PM on May 4, 2006


I can't wait for the dance remix.

Indeed, you can't.

Unless you're some kind of freaky long-lived super-robot, in which case can I have your autograph?
posted by CheeseburgerBrown at 12:18 PM on May 4, 2006


oh, shit ... no one set up any microphones ... you'll have to start it over guys
posted by pyramid termite at 12:22 PM on May 4, 2006


They should create a live audio stream of the organ so you can listen to it online.
posted by driveler at 12:27 PM on May 4, 2006


If you play it backwards it sounds just like Organ7/ASLSP.
posted by brain_drain at 12:32 PM on May 4, 2006


I don't think I could take more of five minutes of a live audio stream of John Cage's organ.
posted by Plutor at 12:33 PM on May 4, 2006


Didn't La Monte Young do something like this in New York? One long drone or something? If that is correct, is it still playing?
posted by Falconetti at 12:43 PM on May 4, 2006


I argue that it's not really a 636-year concert if they lock the building at night and nobody is there. In that case it's just a song played in portions.
posted by rolypolyman at 12:56 PM on May 4, 2006


I hear if you play this and sync it up to the lightbulb cam it is almost as eerie as the Wizard of Oz/The Wall mash-up.
posted by Biblio at 12:58 PM on May 4, 2006


Needs a light bulb continuously burning over the organ.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:00 PM on May 4, 2006


Jinx
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:01 PM on May 4, 2006


Yeah, the whole thing is pretty stupid. I'd like to announce the beginning today of my two million year concert of silence. Take that, John Cage.
posted by reklaw at 1:02 PM on May 4, 2006


Oh, sure, reklaw. Easy for you when you're just copying the guy who did it first.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:05 PM on May 4, 2006


I have this as my ringtone.
posted by easternblot at 1:06 PM on May 4, 2006


"I argue that it's not really a 636-year concert if they lock the building at night and nobody is there."

But what if Schrodinger's Cat cat is there?
posted by arse_hat at 1:10 PM on May 4, 2006


"I argue that it's not really a 636-year concert if they lock the building at night and nobody is there."

But what if Schrodinger's Cat cat is there?
posted by arse_hat at 1:11 PM on May 4, 2006


Reklaw's concert is totally valid -- it's just some sort of Duchampian readymade/LHOOQ take on Cage. Or something. He's post-post-post-modern. *Pulls up chair, digs in for 2 million years of beautiful music*

Thanks for posting this, I'm totally going to check this out next time in europe, preferably on a day when it changes.
posted by jrb223 at 1:11 PM on May 4, 2006


Great post arse_hat. I love me some minimalism.
posted by bardic at 1:12 PM on May 4, 2006


The first review is in: "Shit sandwich."
posted by Shfishp at 1:14 PM on May 4, 2006


Falconetti: Theatre of Eternal Music?
posted by hototogisu at 1:14 PM on May 4, 2006


it's clear to me that john cage's organ is longer than anyone else's
posted by pyramid termite at 1:18 PM on May 4, 2006


Great, now I'm going to be humming this all day.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 1:18 PM on May 4, 2006 [1 favorite]


This will win the Eurovision contest. Mark my words.
posted by milquetoast at 1:22 PM on May 4, 2006


If you play it backwards it sez "John is dead" But its perky and fun to dance to, I'd give it an 80.
posted by sfts2 at 1:22 PM on May 4, 2006


E#?
posted by Khalad at 1:23 PM on May 4, 2006


Oh shit, brain_drain.
posted by sfts2 at 1:24 PM on May 4, 2006


Pitchfork gave it a 10.0 so now it's seeding like crazy on all the torrent sites.
posted by driveler at 1:25 PM on May 4, 2006


somewhere there's an old man with the most muscular index finger in the world going "I missed my chance!"
posted by shmegegge at 1:28 PM on May 4, 2006


if they lock the building at night and nobody is there

If an organ plays in a locked building and there's no one there to hear it, does it make a noise?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 1:28 PM on May 4, 2006


E#?

E# = F?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 1:29 PM on May 4, 2006


If they make a mistake, it's going to sound horrible.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:31 PM on May 4, 2006


I believe it's actually E and high E (denoted as E' in the article) as opposed to E# (which itself is perfectly valid within the realm of atonal music)
posted by TwoWordReview at 1:48 PM on May 4, 2006


Yeah, the whole thing is pretty stupid. I'd like to announce the beginning today of my two million year concert of silence. Take that, John Cage.

Does that mean you're going to shut up?
posted by speicus at 1:49 PM on May 4, 2006


I'm going to have my ears (they can hook them up anywhere, I don't care) frozen for 631 years or so.
posted by kozad at 2:02 PM on May 4, 2006


Great post. Thanks, arse_hat.
posted by sveskemus at 2:06 PM on May 4, 2006


Stupid/Indulgent/Pointless or not, as far as eulogies go, it certainly kicks the shit out of anything that I'm likely to recieve.
posted by Alex404 at 2:08 PM on May 4, 2006


Falconetti: Didn't La Monte Young do something like this in New York? One long drone or something? If that is correct, is it still playing?

Yes, its called the Dream House. Its really interesting to visit it with a few-year gap in between and hear how different it sounds than what you remembered, and then realize that its you that changed.

Its only open a couple of nights week. Bring some Q-tips because you'll want you ears open. I took my baby niece and it scared the shit out of her.
posted by StickyCarpet at 2:14 PM on May 4, 2006 [1 favorite]


E# and F are (according to those who know these things, are pedants and have sensitive ears) very slightly different, but on a keyboard instrument they are equivalent.

E' isn't E#, though. It's "an octave above E".
posted by Grangousier at 2:20 PM on May 4, 2006


Now do it as fast as possible!
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 2:48 PM on May 4, 2006


Excellent.
Great story.

If you time your visit with the 10.000 years clock and bring your slow food, you are all set for a great musical picnic.
posted by bru at 2:49 PM on May 4, 2006


I always mix up Dream House and Theater of Eternal Music. Damn.

Also, it appears Mefi doesn't much like the Cage...
posted by hototogisu at 2:59 PM on May 4, 2006


wow, a Dream Theater of Eternal House Music. my worst nightmare.
posted by shmegegge at 3:12 PM on May 4, 2006


"I believe it's actually E and high E (denoted as E' in the article) as opposed to E# (which itself is perfectly valid within the realm of atonal music)"

Um, E# is perfectly valid in Western tonal music too. It's the seventh note in the F# major scale, among other things.
posted by zoogleplex at 3:16 PM on May 4, 2006


the worlds slowest, unfolding newsfilter item
posted by elr at 3:20 PM on May 4, 2006


But just think how many times it will be reposted over the next 600 years.
posted by arse_hat at 3:25 PM on May 4, 2006


But just think how many times it will be reposted over the next 600 years.

lol
posted by bru at 3:31 PM on May 4, 2006


Um, E# is perfectly valid in Western tonal music too. It's the seventh note in the F# major scale, among other things.

Ah this is true, you've just re-awakened long-since repressed memories of having to practise the piano for hours in frustration because I could never get the c# and f# major scales right!
posted by TwoWordReview at 5:31 PM on May 4, 2006


E# and F are (according to those who know these things, are pedants and have sensitive ears) very slightly different, but on a keyboard instrument they are equivalent.

Not exactly. E sharp and F are sometimes slightly different, but E sharp and E sharp are also sometimes slightly different. It all has to with which enharmonically equivalent spellings are used with certain intervals.
Here's hoping someone who knows how to explain music theory in regular-people terms will enlighten us . . .
posted by Bizurke at 6:41 PM on May 4, 2006


E' isn't E#, though. It's "an octave above E".

Damn, I was going to say. That would have sounded fucking awful.
posted by Tlogmer at 7:17 PM on May 4, 2006


It's not actually music theory, it's mostly physics and human neural perception.

If you tune an instrument to be perfectly in tune in one particular key, let's say G major, if you transpose the notes or chords to another key and play the same set of intervals, it will sound out of tune, sometimes horribly so. It's a strange fact that if you tune using "proper" mathematical frequencies based on the calibrated note A at 440Hz, the human ear finds the sounds displeasing.

So, if you tune to F major, the F note will have a particular frequency, but if you tune to F# major, the E# would have a different frequency from the previous F - even though you're playing them on the same key or stop on the same instrument.

When you tune a piano (or any other stringed instrument), you actually have to tune it so it's juuuuust a bit off from note to note and octave to octave, in order to be able to play all the different musical keys (C, F, D etc) on it and have them all sound harmonious to the ear. This process, which has been developed and refined over centuries, is called "tempering;" thus we get Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier, which contains music in every Western musical key.

Layers of fractal complexity... or something like that. :)
posted by zoogleplex at 7:39 PM on May 4, 2006


I think this detuning thing might be related to something I read recently by Jack Endino, of all people, in his long piece about guitar tuning. Down near the bottom he starts getting really jiggy with the numbers and gives the best explanation I've heard yet (except for the 6 instruments I played badly as a kid, I'm not a musician). An excerpt:

Get out your old TI calculator and try multiplying anything by 1.05946, 12 times, and watch the number end up doubled. It happens that 1.05946 is the "twelfth root of two". This evil number, which we are stuck with, has caused tuning nightmares for entire civilizations.
...

In an ideal world, a "major third" is two notes (a "diad") whose frequencies are in a ratio of 5 to 4, or 1.25, while a "minor third" is in a ratio of 6 to 5, or 1.2. If those ratios are true, these diads (note pairs) sound wonderfully in tune and harmonious.
...
Here's where it gets hairy. In our 12-tone Western scale, where all the notes are equally spaced, no pair of them are exactly in a 1.2 or 1.25 ratio. If you pull out your calculator and multiply 1.05946 by itself a few times, you'll land on 1.189 and, next, 1.2599! The first one is actually 15 cents flat from where your ears will want a minor third to be, and the second is 14 cents sharp from where a major third should be! So if you tune a chord that includes a major third "by ear" until it sounds perfect, that same chord with a minor third substituted in it will be 29 cents out of tune... almost a third of a half-step.


Oh, and thanks for the post. All posts about John Cage welcome here, I say.
posted by intermod at 8:51 PM on May 4, 2006


intermod, thanks. Great link.
posted by arse_hat at 9:18 PM on May 4, 2006


I met him once, at a concert overseas with Merce Cunningham. As part of the instrumentation he'd miked up some textured objects and stroked them. He told me he had a cactus that sounded great when stroked, but they wouldn't let him bring it through customs (live plants, you know). Wonderful man who lived his credo.
posted by QuietDesperation at 10:01 PM on May 4, 2006


This is a terrific post.

In view of our fast moving age this plan is a way of trying to slow down; the ‘discovery of slowness’ ... can be understood as a symbol of confidence in the future.

It's nice to know somebody has some confidence in the future.
posted by LeLiLo at 5:56 AM on May 5, 2006


An Organ Recital for the Very, Very Patient (NYT link)
posted by the_bone at 11:18 AM on May 6, 2006


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