John Cage musical work changes chord for first time in seven years

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media captionIt is one of the world’s longest and slowest pieces of music

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Fans have flocked to a church in Germany to hear a chord change in a musical composition that lasts for 639 years.

It is the first change in the piece, As Slow As Possible, in seven years.

The work is by the avant-garde American composer, John Cage.

It began 19 years ago with a pause lasting nearly 18 months. The change of chord took place on the specially built organ on which the composition is being performed.

The Saint Burchardi Church in the city of Halberstadt started playing the music in 2001 and the last note change took place in 2013.

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Fans watch the chord change

image copyrightReuters

image captionThe music As Slow As Possible will end in 2640

Fans queue for the chord change

image copyrightReuters

image captionFans queue for the chord change

The score is made up of eight pages of music, to be played at the piano or organ – very slowly.

But the wait for the next scheduled chord change will be quick in comparison – with 5 February 2022 slated as the date.

The piece will end in 2640.

Cage, who died in 1992 at the age of 79, wrote the piece in the 1980s.

The composer is arguably most famous for 4’33”.

The three-movement composition from 1952 is for any combination of instruments, but instructs performers not to play them. Listeners instead hear the sound of the surrounding environment during the four minutes and 33 seconds the work lasts.

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