Monash University
6 files

The Long Now

Version 2 2022-09-13, 18:21
Version 1 2022-01-26, 04:02
posted on 2022-09-13, 18:21 authored by Cat HopeCat Hope

This is the score and related to materials for the compositions entitled 'The Long Now", a work for solo bass trombone and sub tone.

You will need the Decibel Score Player to read the score for this work, as it has the embedded audio for playback. The score file to use in the player (ending with .dsz) is downloadable here

The work is dedicated to James Littlewood, who performed the premiere in December 2021 and was key in shaping the work.


This piece is named after the ‘Long Now’ , a Foundation that aims to provide counterpoint to today's accelerating culture by encouraging long-term thinking, fostering responsibility in the framework of the next 10,000 years. A short piece of text that opens the work, spoken by the composer – is a typical ‘Long Now’ provocation: “How Long is Now?” But this text is inaudible, because the high frequency of the composers human voice is not reproducible in the very low ranges subwoofer speaker it plays through. Music provides complex answers to this question of “How Long is Now?”, and in this work, a slow descent into very low sound, where pitch is either uncontrollable or almost inaudible, reflects the limits of human action in and perception of sound as it passes through time, highlighting that there may be other ways to listen, and other ways to experience our passing through time.

Commissioned by the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) as part of The ANAM Set (2021). It was written for James Littlewood and the world premiere was on 21 September 2021 at the Abbotsford Convent, Melbourne. The ANAM Set was funded by the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund – an Australian Government Initiative.

The work is the first in a series of solos for low instrument and subtone, relating to the concept of the Long Now.


The score is proportional, with the highest point of the screen being the highest pitch reference, the bottom being the lowest pitch reference. Line thickness indicates dynamic (should be very soft as a starting point). The electronic play back is fixed and embedded in the score file. The score should be read in the Decibel ScorePlayer application on an iPad, or as a movie file, available on the composers’ website. The electronic play back should run out of the iPad minijack and into a sub woofer speaker. Do not use full range PA speakers.

Full instructions can be found in the instructions file able.


The premiere performance was made by James Littlewood at the Australian Institute of Music on December 4, 2021.


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