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The Eiffel Tower As A Musical Instrument

By now, you know we love stories that expand our definition of music and musical instruments. We’ve previously discussed the music potential of plants and earthquakes and now we were excited to learn about bridges and monuments!

Composer Joseph Bertolozzi’s created 10 musical suites a few years ago based on the unique vibrations of the Hudson Bridge’s panels, spindles and cables.  From those sounds, he create a plainly, but aptly named, “Bridge Music”  in celebration of the New York state bridge and the Hudson River’s 400th anniversary. The compositions were so successful that its recordings rose as high as 18 on Billboard’s classical crossover charts. Even now, visitors can listen to Bertolozzi’s music at special kiosks at each side of the bridge.

Now, Bertolozzi has set his sights one of the most important metal monuments — the Eiffel Tower.

For four years, Bertolozzi has been collecting the Eiffel Tower’s sounds with the hope of creating a live performance during the monument’s 125th anniversary next year. It is a bold move for Bertolozzi who does not speak French and knew no one in the European country but he has been wanting to work on this monument for a decade.

In explaining his work, Bertolozzi told the New York Times:

“‘We see if the sounds have a pitch relation, like do re mi. The different dimensions of the Eiffel Tower give you different notes.’ For instance, ‘If you have a big panel, it will vibrate slower and longer, so you’ll produce a deeper pitch, usually.’ The vertical shape of the tower, he said, ‘gives you a great number of resources if you need high notes, middle notes, low notes.’”

 The company that operates the Eiffel Tower has yet to commit to a live performance but we’re hoping Bertolozzi’s dream comes true!

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