A Vexing Composition

Vexations was written in 1893 by French composer/pianist Erik Satie (1866 – 1925). It is considered the longest piece of music (certified by the Guinness Book of World Records), but only contains ½ page of sheet music, or 180-notes. On Satie’s guidelines, the work’s theme was to be performed 840 times.

...it would be advisable to prepare oneself beforehand, in the deepest silence, by serious immobilities.
Erik Satie on the Score of His Piece Vexations 1
This musical score for 'Vexations' by Erik Satie, only has 180-notes.
Vexations Score, composed by Erik Satie. 2

The piece was produced by American composer John Cage. (1912 – 1992), and made its first known début in 1963, with Cage playing in 20-minute intervals among eleven other pianists. The group, known as “The Pocket Theatre Piano Relay Team,” included John Cale of The Velvet Underground. It took them 18 hours and 40 minutes to complete, after which Cage slept for many, many hours. He is known to have said of the piece’s transformative effect on him, a notion echoed by some of the other performers on that day:

I had changed and the world had changed. 3
End of Article

Page Sources

Satie, Erik.  "Vexations Score."  1893.
Sonia y Natalia.  "'Vexations' Score by Erik Satie."  Scan.  Commons Wikimedia.  Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 24 Jan. 2013.  Web.  28 Sept. 2015.  CC BY-SA 3.0.
Satie, Erik. "Vexations Score." 1893.
Additional References:
  • Sweet Sam.  "A Dangerous and Evil Piano Piece."  New Yorker.  The New Yorker, 9 Sept. 2013.  Web.  27 Sept. 2015.
  • Portman, Eugene.  "Interesting, Humorous and Weird Facts About Music."  Eugene Portman.  Eugene Portman, n.d.  Web.  27 Aug. 2015.
  • Sonia y natalia. "Erik Satie."  Photograph.  Commons Wikimedia.  Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 29 July 2013.  Web.  20 Dec. 2015.  CC BY-SA 3.0