If classical music is boring...

I stumbled upon a most interesting musical work, 9 Beet Stretch, by Leif Inge. It is quite simple, yet ingenious: The 9th Symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven slowed down so that it lasts for 24 hours. The music is not simply slowed down so that the pitch lowers and the music sounds like "vööööyyyyyyy", but there is some advanced mathematics involved and the tonality is retained original; only the timing is altered. The work is available for download here.

About half a year ago I wrote about the experience of listening to band called Esoteric. Listening to 9 Beet Stretch feels surprisingly similar, but when you think about it, the similarity makes sense.

All the primary information - the instantly audible melodies - of the original piece has disappeared. The music is composed entirely of long chords one after another. They are way too long to form a memorable melody, but the structure - secondary information - can be percieved. In fact, the details are more audible than in the original version. Data-wise, and according to my understanding, classical music adheres to very strict rules of structure: the art of composing classical music is to create melodies while still retaining the structure and tonality, so I'm quite sure Beethoven meant to include every bit of information.

So, could you achieve the same effect by slowing down anything, like Mikä sulla on by the revered Antti Tuisku? Most certainly not. Pop music is, almost without exceptions, just about melody and rhythm (and sounds): the primary information. When Risto Asikainen composes a fugue for at least five melodies, I might change my opinion. Of course, the division between classical and pop music is not obvious; there are plenty of simple classical music (such as the works of Johann Strauss, if I remember correctly).

Yes, the title of this entry is ironic. There will be concerts of 9 Beet Stretch - how could I arrange 24 hours of free time?

Categories: Art, Information, Music
Posted by Matias at 27.02.2005 22.27 (12 years ago) | 237 comments


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