News / Arts & Entertainment

Eiffel Tower Becomes Musical Tool for NY Composer

U.S. composer Joseph Bertolozzi makes sounds by striking the surface of the Eiffel Tower with a large log wrapped in lambswool for a musical project called 'Tower Music' in Paris, June 7, 2013.
U.S. composer Joseph Bertolozzi makes sounds by striking the surface of the Eiffel Tower with a large log wrapped in lambswool for a musical project called 'Tower Music' in Paris, June 7, 2013.
Reuters
Star of songs, sketches and the silver screen for over a hundred years, the Eiffel Tower is now taking the lead role in a musical composition which will see the landmark speak for itself.

The structure is an instrument for a piece to be entitled “Tower Music” - a project conceived by U.S. composer Joseph Bertolozzi.

With latex mallets, drumsticks and even a large log wrapped in lambs wool in his box of tricks, Bertolozzi moves all over the 324-meter tower, hitting its surfaces with varying intensity and recording the sounds produced.

The idea is to weave them together, creating chords and melodies over a percussion base.

Bertolozzi's team have collected since May 27 nearly 2,000 samples from the iron structure's railings, panels and girders.

The 54-year-old who lives in New York, told Reuters that the idea came from his wife.

“My wife was mimicking the way I play my percussion with my arms flailing and everything. She was near a poster of the Eiffel Tower, took a swing at it and she went 'Bong!',” he said.

Inspired to make music with the monument, Bertolozzi had to overcome practical difficulties, notably his lack of French and the fact he had few contacts in Paris.

He first decided to start small with a composition for New York state's Mid-Hudson suspension bridge. The resulting “Bridge Music” spawned a CD which reached number 18 on the Billboard Classical Crossover Music Chart in 2009.

For the organist and choirmaster whose day job sees him perform at weddings and bar mitzvahs, the tower is an instrument just like any other.

“A guitarist knows the character of each string, one string is wound with metal, another one is maybe gut string, they're thicker, they're thinner, they know how they respond. So when I look at the tower, now more than before, I know how the thing will respond as an instrument,” he said.

He says that he has a tendency to bash out rhythms on household objects, citing dinner glasses, doorknobs and dishes as regular targets.

The team
U.S. composer Joseph Bertolozzi (L) makes sounds by striking the surface of the Eiffel Tower for a musical project called 'Tower music' June 7, 2013. At right, sound engineer Paul Kozel.hrU.S. composer Joseph Bertolozzi (L) makes sounds by striking the surface of the Eiffel Tower for a musical project called 'Tower music' June 7, 2013. At right, sound engineer Paul Kozel.hr
x
U.S. composer Joseph Bertolozzi (L) makes sounds by striking the surface of the Eiffel Tower for a musical project called 'Tower music' June 7, 2013. At right, sound engineer Paul Kozel.hr
U.S. composer Joseph Bertolozzi (L) makes sounds by striking the surface of the Eiffel Tower for a musical project called 'Tower music' June 7, 2013. At right, sound engineer Paul Kozel.hr
spent nearly two weeks weaving in and out of the tens of thousands of tourists who climb the Eiffel Tower every day.

Most are bemused by Bertolozzi and his entourage of sound technicians and producers, but he had some support on Friday with one pair of visitors improvising a rap to the beat he drummed out on one of the structure's many staircases.

When the work is finished in nine months, Bertolozzi says he dreams of coming back to perform it live at the Eiffel Tower to celebrate its 125th birthday in 2014.

Organizers said the show would require over a hundred musicians with microphones installed all over the iron structure, relaying sounds to the public below.

The tower's managers are still to be convinced, citing possible security concerns.

You May Like

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

Iraqi Kurdish Leader: Protect Syrian City

Islamic State fighters are besieging Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, after seizing at least 21 surrounding villages in a major assault against city on Syria's northern border with Turkey More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

 

Hamilton Live: Etienne Charles

x
Hamilton Live: Etienne Charlesi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
September 18, 2014 7:11 PM
Trumpeter, percussionist and bandleader Etienne Charles was born in Trinidad and blends island rhythms with modern jazz. Etienne and his stellar band perform live at The Hamilton in Washington DC, a rich gumbo of jazz, calypso, reggae, and rock-steady that Etienne Charles calls “Creole Soul.”

Hamilton Live: Etienne Charles



Trumpeter, percussionist and bandleader Etienne Charles was born in Trinidad and blends island rhythms with modern jazz. Etienne and his stellar band perform live at The Hamilton in Washington DC, a rich gumbo of jazz, calypso, reggae, and rock-steady that Etienne Charles calls “Creole Soul.”