The Eiffel Tower and …….

Music and the Eiffel Tower

In my previous post I talked about the Mechanical Age and the development of the Orchestrion.  This post continues in that strain.

In 1889, the Exposition Universelle was held in Paris. The Exposition introduced all sorts of technologies that were new at the time:

“It was at this fair that electricity was first used, including electric lights placed on the Eiffel Tower and various other electrical advances, steam devices, and photographic techniques featured in the Galérie des Machines. It was during this expo that Thomas Edison showed his first motion picture.” (

The centrepiece of the Exposition was the Eiffel Tower. Made of steel, and standing 1,063 feet, it was the tallest building in the world. (You can learn more about the Tower and how it was built here.)For Eiffel, [the engineer for whom it is named] the Tower

“symbolized ‘not only the art of the modern engineer, but also the century of Industry and Science in which we are living, and for which the way was prepared by the great scientific movement of the eighteenth century and by the Revolution of 1789, to which this monument will be built as an expression of France’s gratitude.’” (ibid.)

In the eyes of some, the Eiffel Tower was/is a ‘folly’ of the age of technology, the age of manufacturing, the age of imperialism.  For better or for worse, it continues to stand as a powerful symbol of The Mechanical Age.


In May 2013 the Eiffel Tower became a source of music, the basis of a new composition. American composer Joseph Bertolozzi  received permission to record the Musique de la Tour (‘Tower Music’), using sounds created by ‘playing’ the Tower. You can read more about the beginnings of this project here.

Here you can watch a video of him discussing the project.


bertolozzi3Now that he has finished recording the Tower, Bertolozzi is editing and composing. You can follow his progress here.

(By the way – Bertolozzi has done a similar project with a bridge in NYC. Here is a video about that project. )

And thus ends today’s post, looking at another example of how humans create music out of the world around us, be it natural or ‘man’ made.

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