Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Saturday 1 September 2007

Famous for fifteen minutes

According to Martin Handley on the Radio 3 breakfast programme this morning, a conference on minimalist music is to feature a piece in which two keys on an organ are to be anchored down: for fifteen minutes.

I laughed (as who would not) at Handley's comment - are they going to anchor down the audience?

The quiet one-note hum of an organ pump or a heating system in a particularly atmospheric church, say, can no doubt aid contemplation; and I can imagine there's a considerable human interest in studying the audience's reactions while desperately trying not to make it obvious that that's what you're doing (though I suspect a lot of people will come away with far too detailed a knowledge of the ceiling).

Can it count as "music" if there's no human intervention? Perhaps there'll be some particularly interesting way of varying the volume from time to time.

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