How Slow Can You Go?

Southern view of the bellows for John Cage’s  Organ²/ASLSP</a> in the St. Burchardi Church, Halberstadt, Germany.
John Cage's Organ Bellow, Southern View, Halberstadt, St. Burchardi. 1

John Cage’s piece Organ²/ASLSP (As SLow aS Possible), adapted from his original piano composition in 1985 for the organ in 1987, is currently the longest performance piece ever attempted: it is expected to take 639 years to finish, begun on Sept 5, 2001 (John Cage’s birthday) and running until the year 2640.

An organ was specifically built for the endeavor, which resides in the St. Buchardi Church in Halberstadt, Germany. The duration and location were chosen specifically, as “the first modern organ, the Blokwerk organ, was built for the Halberstadt Cathedral in 1361, 639 years before the turn of the millennium.” [ 2 ] Since the original remains operative, there is hope that the ASLSP organ will last just as long in order complete its performance.

How many notes have been played so far? On October 5th, 2013, at 4:00 p.m., the 13th note change took place. There won’t be another change in the hyperdurational sounding for seven more years.

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John Cage Organ²/ASLSP (As SLow aS Possible) in Halberstadt. 3

For more on John Cage, see A Vexing Composition.

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Page Sources

Hoger.  "Halberstadt, St. Burchardi: Southern View Bellow for John Cage’s  Organ²/ASLSP."  Photograph.  Commons Wikimedia.  Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 15 Sept. 2013.  Web.  30 Sept. 2015.  CC BY-SA 3.0.
"As Slow As Possible."  NPR.  NPR, 2003.  Web.  28 Aug. 2015.
sinedi art.  "5 Min 48 sek von 639 Jahren: John Cage Organ 2 / ASLSP in Halberstadt."  Online Video Clip.  YouTube.  YouTube, 30 July 2009.  Web.  17 Dec. 2015.  Standard YouTube License.
Additional References:
  • "Organ²/ASLSP – As Slow As Possible."  ASLP.  John Cage Organ Halberstadt Foundation, n.d.  Web.  28 Aug. 2015.
  • Judkis, Maura.  "World’s Largest Concert Will Last 639 Years."  Washington Post.  The Washington Post, 21 Nov. 2011.  Web.  28 Aug. 2015.
  • Burton, Louise.  "A Leisutitle="" rely Performance of John Cage’s 'ASLSP' Lasts for 12 Years…and Still Counting."  Classicalite.  The Classicalite Company LLC, 27 Sept. 2013.  Web.  28 Aug. 2015.
  • Kuhn, Laura.  "So Begins the Hiatus (Organ2/ASLSP in Halberstadt)."  JohnCageTrust.  John Cage Trust, 18 Oct. 2013.  Web.  17 Dec. 2015.
  • Wikipedia-ce. "Organ Playing Organ²/ASLSP in the Burchardi Church, Halberstadt, Germany."  Photograph. Commons Wikimedia.  Wikimedia foundation, Inc.,  6 Jan. 2006. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.  Public Domain.