Bertolozzi’s Bridge Music

After you’ve strolled over Walkway Over The Hudson, drive or walk to Haviland Road’s abrupt end at the Mid Hudson Bridge. There, be prepared for Bertolozzi’s percussive serenade, known simply as “Bridge Music.”

Mid Hudson Bridge

Partial image is from an engraved, hand-colored invitation sent to Jack Wadlin, Supervisor of the Town of Lloyd, requesting his attendance at the ribbon cutting for the opening of the Mid-Hudson Bridge, August 1930. See entire image below.

Composer Bertolozzi’s amazing offering uses only the sounds he produced by striking different structural parts, cables, railings, beams, of the Mid Hudson Bridge. Composing music is difficult enough. Composing music and producing it this way was potentially dangerous.

According to the Wall Street Journal, July 18, 2006, when Bertolozzi began the project to be incorporated into the 2009 Hudson-Fulton quadricentennial celebration, he enlisted a sound engineer and four NYS Bridge Authority personnel to help place vibration-recording microphones on 16 of the 144 pairs of suspension cables. These special microphones would not pick up your car’s rattling muffler as you crossed the bridge. The team would return the next day “…with recording equipment and percussion instruments and climb 135 feet down ladders to a bridge pier. Using a drumstick made from a small log, Bertolozzi plans to strike the bridge’s frame and record the resulting sound.”

Mid Hudson Bridge

Complete image of the invitation to opening of the Mid Hudson Bridge. Aug 1930. The structure pictured at the bottom is “The First Design Fror a Hudson River Bridge.” The invitation is beautifully hand colored and engraved. The NYS Seal at the top is gold. Collection of Vivian Yess Wadlin.

Listening Stations on the pedestrian sidewalk of the Mid Hudson Bridge, open from dawn to dusk, are located at each of the bridge’s towers. From your car radio tuned to 95.3FM you can also enjoy the music.

Accessible from Haviland Rd. in Highland (or 40 Gerald Drive in Poughkeepsie), April 1 through October 31. Or you can hear the same music year-round, 24/7 in Waryas Park, Poughkeepsie and Johnson-Iorio Park, Highland. It is free.

Can’t make it just now to hear Bridge Music? No problem, turn on the speakers and visit I guaranteed you will not be able to keep your feet still!

The Mid Hudson Bridge was open on August 25th, 1930. I am sure the engineers never envisioned it as a musical instrument.