The decathlon is a sport that combines 10 different track and field events to determine the best all-around athlete. While these events are all physically demanding, we’ve put together a musical decathlon: 10 feats of musical athleticism that are way more impressive than the traditional decathlon.
Speed drumming (sticks): This event requires the use of a drumometer, a device that measures the number of strikes to a drum head in 60 seconds. Here, Matt Smith manages 1,132 strikes in a minute, which is pretty good. It’s not much to listen to, but it’s decent.
Speed drumming (sampler): An event that disproves anybody who thinks electronic music is made by computers. Competitors use lightning-fast fingers to create the fastest beat possible. Here, AraabMuzik demonstrates that he could have made an excellent court stenographer.
Singing/beatboxing: Not two separate events – contestants must sing while beatboxing. On this live audio recording, Rahzel demonstrates with his song “If Your Mother Only Knew.”
Ambi-guitar: This event requires competitors to play two guitars at the same time! There’s no right or wrong way to do it, as they are judged on technical prowess and artistic merit. Here, Michael Angelo Batio demonstrates how it’s done. Note the look of boredom and/or discomfort on his face.
Freestyle guitar: Competitors play the guitar in the least conventional ways possible and are awarded points for creativity, flexibility and poise. Here, a Botswanan guitarist uses an overhand grip, knuckles and wrists to play an instrumental number.
Solo dueling banjos: One banjo player enters the ring, one banjo player exits. It’s not that dramatic, actually. Competitors play “Dueling Banjos” as fast as possible. The loser squeals like a pig.
Long note: This one is pretty straightforward. Competitors sing a single note for as long as possible. Here, Japanese singer Kokia holds a note for 29.5 seconds, which is almost long enough to microwave a Pizza Pocket.
Footplay: This event requires competitors to play an instrument with their feet. Please, no harmonica. Here, armless guitarist George Dennehy peforms “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls.
Beethoven marathon: Competitors play all of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas in order, from start to finish. Stewart Goodyear accomplished this over the course of 10-and-a-half hours this past June at Toronto’s Luminato festival. You want proof? Well, you’re not going to watch 10-and-a-half hours of web video, but here’s a clip of the post-show applause.
Circular breathing: Competitors must play a wind instrument continuously for as long as possible without their lips leaving the playing surface. Here, Colin Stetson plays bass saxophone for over six minutes, while inhaling through his nose.
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on Aug 07, 2012