Longest Marathon Playing Accordion

Cover Letter

I performed the world record attempt ’Longest marathon accordion playing’ at Koljonvirta camping area, Iisalmi, Finland. The playing started 31 July 2010 at 8:01 AM and ended 1 August 2010 at 3:27 PM, and the official duration was 31 hours, 25 minutes and 56 seconds which, according to the rules, is equivalent to 1 day 7 h 25 min. The place of performance was a restaurant licenced to serve alcohol, converted to an all-night cafe for the period from 2 to 9 AM (due to the Finnish legislation), so the public had free access to the venue for the entire duration of the attempt. The continuous playing periods were as follows (00:00 is the starting time)

Start End Rest duration used
00:00 22:01 00:60
23:01 26:02 00:15
26:17 28:18 00:42
29:00 31:25
which shows that 28 minutes of resting breaks remained unused. I played throughout the event from memory without sheet music, only aided by a list of piece names my assistants struck out as I played. Each piece was only played once, so the ’four hour repetition ban’ was unquestionably complied with. The pieces lasted approximately 2 minutes 50 seconds and the breaks between pieces were about 26 to 27 seconds maximum. The total number of pieces played was 536 pcs.

Three camcorders were reserved for the event.

Camera 1: (Main camera)
Digital video camcorder saving directly to a computer hard disk drive
Camera 2: (Backup camera)
Mini DV tape camcorder with one hour cassettes
Camera 3: (General event recording / Backup camera (2) tape change overlapping)
Digital video camcorder saving to the internal disk
The camera 1 was supposed to record the whole event directly to a computer hard disk drive, but there was a system malfunction and the use of camera 1 was discontinued less than two hours after the start of the attempt (incident entry in the log book) (DVD: 1. Main). The camera 2 took therefore over as the main camera. The general video portion was limited to less than planned, because the camera 3 was almost entirely reserved for tape change overlapping recordings for the camera 2.

There is uninterrupted video material of the entire world record attempt excluding one exception: there was a malfunction in the tape change overlapping recording for the camera 2 that was only discovered afterwards: there is no video documentation at all for a duration of 43 seconds between 02:03:03 and 02:03:46. This concerns the overlapping camera (3) during the tape change of the tape camcorder (camera 2). The tune played at the time was piece number 1008: ’Viisitoista kesää’ (Living Next Door To Alice) (DVD: 3. The VCR problem).

The log books maintained by the witnesses contain some human recording errors concerning certain piece numbers and names. The contradictory sections are included in the video summary (DVD: 4. Witness lists).

Heikki Ylisipola was not able to manage his witness duties and Jari Ovaskainen moved on his place.

The pieces were a fair sample of international and Finnish music caught in my memory during my career as a musician.

While I played I swapped accordions ’on the fly’ during breaks between pieces, so the swap did not affect the regular performance. The fuse of the roof lamps blew during the performance but it was changed and the slight momentary dimness did not affect the documentation of the event. Natural light came in through the windows and flashlights were used to provide additional lighting.

For the first 22 hours I played without any resting breaks. Continuous playing was made possible by my skilled support team. They took care of my endurance by providing food and drink, massage, skin refreshment, moisture creams, bandages, etc. Although not required in the rules, the DVD contains a small video summary of the ’on-the-fly’ maintenance in practice (DVD: 5. Maintenance).

Attached are the following pieces of evidence for the world record attempt:

  1. Cover letter (THIS)
  2. Witnesses: the personal information of the witnesses
    • transcription of witness statements
    • witness statements (ORIGINAL)
    • translated statement of witness Heikki Ylisipola
    • the statement of witness Heikki Ylisipola (ORIGINAL)
  3. Steward book: the primary events
    • stewards on duty
    • translated log book
    • log book maintained by stewards (ORIGINAL)
  4. Endurance logbook: the player’s activity / rest periods, the supervision periods of the witnesses
    • witnesses on duty
    • endurance book maintained by witnesses (ORIGINAL)
  5. Selection list of songs
  6. Transcripted list of played songs
  7. Songlist maintained by witnesses A (ORIGINAL): the played pieces with durations and breaks
  8. Songlist maintained by witnesses B (ORIGINAL): the played pieces with durations and breaks
  9. Video evidence
    • DVD contents
    • main points (DVD title 1. Main)
    • contradictory sections (DVD title 4. Witness lists)
  10. Guinness schedules one, two and three, signed
  11. Still photographs
  12. Media coverage
    • Radio interview (CD included)
      • Radio Savo, 7 August 2010
    • Press clippings
      • Savon Sanomat, 2 August 2010
      • Iisalmen Sanomat, 2 August 2010
      • Iisalmen Kaupunkilehti, 7 August 2010

Kuopio 18 October 2010

Anssi K. Laitinen