The Longest Songs Ever

Just a few days ago, Oklahoma City-based psychedelic rockers The Flaming Lips released a 24 hour long song entitled “7 Skies H3”. You can attempt to stream it here, but as only 999 people can listen at a time, your chances are slim. The only way to purchase a physical copy is by shelling out $5,000 for a hard drive with the song on it encased inside a real human skull (with chrome hair); really.

Strap that to your arm at the gym.

As ridiculously over-the-top as a 24 hour long piece of music may be, “7 Skies H3” is nowhere near the longest song ever written. That honor is currently bestowed upon a piece of music written by Jem Finer called “Longplayer”. This computer processed song began on January 1st, 2000 and is scheduled to continue without repetition until December 31st, 2999. You can listen in here.

If you’re the type that doesn’t really think looped computer-generated music should count, how about pipe organ? Right now, an organ performance is taking place inside St. Burchardi church in Halberstadt, Germany that began on September 5th, 2001 and will not end until 2640.

The St. Burchardi organ.

The organ is performing a piece called “Organ2/ASLSP (As Slow aS Possible). Originally composed by John Cage in 1985, the piece is typically performed in 20 to 70 minutes. However, Cage never specified how slow the piece should be played, so musicians and philosophers decided to reduce the tempo so much that the duration of the performance would last 639 years.

The organ's mechanically-filled bellows.

A mechanical blower fills the organ’s bellows, allowing the pipes to hold notes virtually indefinitely, and it only requires a human presence during note changes. The organ’s current note has been played since August 5th, 2011, with the next note change scheduled for July 5th, 2012. An acrylic glass hood is placed around the pipes at all other times to hold down the constant droning noise, which has been likened to the sound of an air raid siren.

You can attempt to endure a recording of the most recent note change below.

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