Joseph Bertolozzi

Tower Music/ Musique de la Tour

Innova 933


            [1]    A Thousand Feet of Sound / Trois cents mètres de son (5:11)

            [2]    The Harp That Pierced the Sky / La harpe qui a percé le ciel (3:11)

            [3]    Continuum / Continuum (3:19)

            [4]    Prelude / Prélude (0:49)

            [5]    Ironworks / Ferronnerie (4:05)

            [6]    The Elephant on the Tower / L'éléphant sur la Tour (3:29)

            [7]    Glass Floor Rhythms / Rythmes sur le parterre vitré (2:45)

            [8]    Evening Harmonies / Harmonies du Soir (4:31)

            [9]    Tower Music / Musique de la Tour (10:53)

            [10]  BONUS TRACK: Audio Tour of Eiffel Tower (11:25)

TOTAL: 49:41


A man…some mallets…microphones…

No other instruments…

No added sound effects...



Tower Music / Musique de la Tour uses only the sounds of the Eiffel Tower itself. No other instruments are heard on this album. For more info, photos, video and other media, go to


The idea of harvesting sounds from civic structures is not a new one. However, all known precedents to Tower Music are either ambient, electronically processed, inclusive of traditional instruments, or various combinations of those approaches. What makes the aesthetic premise of Tower Music unique is that it presents fixed musical compositions using no other tones than those of the Eiffel Tower itself and without added effects. It also remains playable by the requisite number of live musicians for which it was originally intended.


Ten thousand samples were recorded from the Eiffel Tower’s various surfaces. Then the samples were catalogued by tone and location, whittled down to 2,800 as a working set of sounds and then assembled into a virtual instrument from which Bertolozzi’s vision could be turned into sound. This album is the result.


A future goal for Tower Music is for it to be performed live. Inquiries regarding sponsorship of Tower Music (and its sister project Bridge Music) as a live event can be directed to [email protected]


To fully enjoy the sound world of Tower Music, employ a subwoofer and turn it up!



Tower Music is intricately composed, not improvised. With a limited set of melodic notes, simple structural forms develop through subtly shifting rhythmic patterns, accentuations and rhythmic lacework. Elements of foreground, background, contrast, color, counterpoint, momentum, even silence constantly refresh the auditory fabric.


But as you read these notes, remember they are just words…listen to the music! The intention is to create something recognizable as music to the casual listener before he or she thinks “what is that unusual sound?” Gustave Eiffel would be fascinated with this new purposing of his beloved Tower for the music of our own time.

[1] A Thousand Feet of Sound / Trois cents mètres de son (5:11)

This is the Eiffel Tower’s calling card, demonstrating its entire aural array. It mirrors the impact of seeing the Eiffel Tower in person for the first time: bold and commanding in its initial impression, elegant and austere upon reflection, and powerful once again as one steps back to consider the whole.


[2] The Harp That Pierced the Sky / La harpe qui a percé le ciel (3:11)

Contrasting highly to the preceding track, this movement forms a quiet, enveloping atmosphere. The listener is drawn into an intimate sound world suggesting a

hybrid harp/lute/steel pan sonority, surprising from so massive a structure.


[3] Continuum / Continuum (3:19)

At the 1889 World Exposition for which the Eiffel Tower was built, musicians from Java introduced the gamelan to Europe, profoundly influencing Western music. This piece combines stylized gamelan motifs with contemporary post-minimalist gestures, melding the ancient music of Indonesia with the modern age…a continuum.


[4] Prelude / Prélude (0:49)

A gentle re-casting of a melody derived from the next movement.


[5] Ironworks / Ferronnerie (4:05)

A series of powerful rhythmic cadences separated by a melodic refrain…a sister work to Bridge Music’s “Steel Works,” New York’s Mid-Hudson Bridge being made of steel and the Eiffel Tower being made of iron.


[6] The Elephant on the Tower / L'éléphant sur la Tour (3:29)

After the fierceness of “Ironworks,” a gentle waltz. Why not? The musical world encompasses everything from pulsating vigor to the elegant lilt. There are no boundaries…including keeping the oldest elephant in the world from ascending to the first level, a stunt organized by the BouglioneCircus in 1948.


[7] Glass Floor Rhythms / Rythmes sur le parterre vitré (2:45)

Some intrepidly approach the glass floors, others hesitate…each have their own rhythm.


[8] Evening Harmonies / Harmonies du Soir (4:31)
This work, spread over a dark canvas, is a deeply introspective exploration of the Eiffel Tower’s sounds by themselves, unshackled by any rhythmic or melodic imperative. Where most of the rest of Tower Music springs from existing percussive traditions and instruments, this one designs its own idiom. Upon its ending, it completely clears the palate for the tension that is about to explode with the final movement.


[9] Tower Music / Musique de la Tour (10:53)

Erupting with dramatic sweep and then launching into a series of concussive surges that draws one ever further in, a journey is begun. Vigorously muscular themes emerge trading blows with the underpinning rhythms. The listener is then delivered to a slow central section where a melody is played and then only suggested by cymbal-like hisses (actually fences and panels). When the previous themes return it’s as an introduction to an even faster section but interspersed with canonic cat-and-mouse chases. A huge climax brings the entire opus and a ten-year-long project to a close.



Joseph Bertolozzi forges a unique identity as a 21st century composer with works ranging from symphony orchestra to public sound-art installations. Many of his compositions can be heard at


Innova is the label of the American Composers Forum. Innova Director: Philip Blackburn • Operations Director: Chris Campbell • Publicist: Steve McPherson • Innova is supported by an endowment from the McKnight Foundation.


Tower Music / Musique de la Tour was composed and realized by Joseph Bertolozzi • Produced by Joseph Bertolozzi and Paul Kozel • Recording Engineers: Paul Kozel & Joe Popp • Mixing: Joseph Bertolozzi & Paul Kozel • Audio and MIDI Consultant: Jonathan Perl • Mastering: Scott Hull, Masterdisk • The “Audio Tour” narration recording and mixing of Tower Music was done at the Sonic Arts Center, The City College of New York


The Tower Music team: Joseph Bertolozzi • Peter Emminger • Paul Kozel • Joe Popp • Jeff Gertin • Kyle Griffin • Robert Bellach • Franc Palaia • Joseph Redwood-Martinez


All titles ©, P. Blue Wings Press, 2016. All rights reserved. All titles ASCAP. All the samples on this recording are from “Audio Library of the Eiffel Tower, Paris, France” © 2014, Blue Wings Press. All titles © 2015, Blue Wings Press. All rights reserved. Used with permission. Photo credits: Franc Palaia. Video stills: Joseph Redwood-Martinez Album design by Todd Poteet of Pen & Ink Creative.  Album cover art, "Tower Music", is a derivative of "Eiffel Tower" by Yoni Lerner, used under CC BY. "Tower Music" is licensed under CC BY by Todd Poteet.



Tower Music was created in partnership with The Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel (SETE). Special support came from The Sonic Arts Center at The City College of New York. Special thanks to D'Arcangelo & Co, LLP, Drake, Loeb, Heller, Kennedy, GogertyGaba and Rodd PLLC, and Congressman Maurice Hinchey (Retired).


Thanks go to the following for helping make Tower Music a reality: Doug & Karen Abramson; Cliff Albertson & Anne Jarema; Bridget & Gus Antalek; Ivan Balura; Carl & Sally Barnes; Robert Bellach; John Bellucci; John & Renee Bertolozzi; Sarah Bertolozzi; Adam Blood; Fred & Maria Blume; Gina Blume; Michael Blume; Cathy Bokor; Joseph & Pat Broun; Laurel & Mark Browne; Stephen Browne; Michael & Marie Carparelli; Steven Chickery; Rev. Fr. Paul Chovanec; Christ Church of Ramapo; Andree Christman; Robert G. Christman; Andrea & Paul Ciminello; Jack Cina; Gregory CitarellaDoi Cohen; Bob & Lynne Costello; Tom & Nancy Coughlin; Dale Cranston; Steve Crodelle; David & Anne Marie Dannenberg; Suzanne Daycock; Marlene Dispoto; Bill & Anne Downs; Franz Doaman & Judy Garland; Jeff & Kathleen Drake; Lori Dubord; Angela Elia; Barbara Euser; Anthony Feo; Vivian & Ed Garber; Conrad Gagnon & Constance Freer; Leila Garlock; Mike Gersh; Paul and Debbie Golomb; Gloria Goverman; Marge & Art Groten; Beth Guiffre; Alice Hall; Kathleen Hart; Eddie & Lisa Hartwell; Sean Hickey & Catherine Jhung; Lydia Higginson; Emily Himelstein; Cantor Gail Hirschenfang & Rabbi Daniel Polish; Mary K. Holdgraf; David & Marvel Hondorp; Tudor Hulubei; Thom Joyce; Danny Jussim & Stacey Luftig; Richard Kelley; William Kolb; Wendy Lou Lasnier King; Kathryn Lazar; Leslie Kamtman; Joel Kelson; Red Leary; Peter & Eileen Leonard; Elliot Z. Levine; Sue Lesser; Mary & Bill Loughlin; Richard & Marsha Lowry; Kathleen Lyons; Susan E. MacDonald; Monica Maher (in memory of Jeff Herles); Sandra Mamis; Kurt Mansperger; Peggy Mansperger; Eileen Maselli; Al Mauro; Daniel & Heather McElduff; Jerry & Mary McElduff; Dr. Jane McElduff; Lori McElduff; Mary Margaret McElduff; Mary Margaret McGrath McElduff; Michael & Laura McElduff; Sean McElduff; Mary McPhillips & Applebee-McPhillips Funeral Home; Bill Moreau; Toody & Bruce Merry; Stephen Minnig; Gene Moore; Charles Mosco; Cathy Norman; Ed Odell; Helen Parker; Cabot Parsons; Cathy Paul; Regina Peluse; Mark Pisanelli; Todd Poteet; Joanne Puccio; Eleanor PupkoAlida Ransom; Christine Reno; Bob & Mary Ritter; Karen Rivera; Kate Rivers; Ron & Marlyin Rosen; Theresa & Jeff Rosencrans; Alice Santiamagro; Meg Sawicki; Bonnie & Ken Scheer; Gary Schuster; Anne & Bill Schultz; Brian & Colleen Sewing; Bill Shaw; Brian & Helen Silverman; Mary & Murray Solomon; Eric Somers; Carol & Jim Steinberg; Shirl & Howard Susser; Natalie Swatz; Al Szajer; Amy & Jim Thrasher; Gwendolyn Tibbals; Andrew Tomasello; Joel Trocino; Gloria Turk; Steve & Shelley Turk; David, Patricia & Alan Turken; Brian Usifer; Maureen Vanackooy; Mary & Willie Vassalo; Melissa Wall; Lois & Harold Weber; Bob Weybright; Mary Winkler; Jay & Terry Wise; Dave & Fern Wolf; Susan and Gary T. Yates; Jean & Gary Zunda.


My special thanks go to Sheila and Sarah for their support and encouragement. I love you.