In the simplest terms, the 9 Beet Stretch is Ludwig van Beethoven’s 9th symphony stretched to 24 hours, with no pitch distortions. The original concept behind the 9 Beet Stretch as explained by Leif Inge, was not to make concerts. It didn’t even begin with Beethoven in mind but with some very simple questions: How would adjusting the speed of a well-known piece of music change its identity? How much change in speed would keep it identical? How much can it be changed before it becomes unrecognizable? How would adjusting the speed change the listening experience? Would a much longer duration be the only difference that would lead you to hear the music as minimal regardless of the source music?
Leif Inge explains that 9 Beet Stretch is a misnomer as it is not stretched at all. Since speed and pitch are the same things, any stretching of sound, that is, any slowing down of a recorded sound also means that the pitch will change. If sounds were stretched to very long durations, as in this case, the result will be a deep, low-pitched rumble. Very few human artifacts have been so adored, abused, hailed, and scorned as has Beethoven’s 9th symphony. Slavoj Žižek speaks about how Beethoven’s 9th has been favored music for leaders on any ideological spectrum: “…we can imagine a perverse scene of universal fraternity, in which opposites embrace, get together and sing Ode to Joy, it works and this is how every ideology has to work, it’s never just meaning, it also works as an empty container open to all possible meanings.” Surely, not everyone will think about 9 Beet Stretch as respectful and will place it somewhat closer to abuse than adoration. But any aesthetic and emotional impact it may have, it has from Beethoven and technology. The original recording was created by Leif Inge and programmed in 2002 at NOTAM (Norwegian network for Technology, Acoustics, and Music) by Anders Vinjar, Kjetil Matheussen, Leif Inge, and Bjarne Kvinnesland.