What would Foucault’s pendulum sound like?

What would Foucault’s pendulum sound like?

Daily Comfort Zone

norman lebrecht

January 22, 2022

Something like this, perhaps.

Music from “The Book of Sounds” by Hans Otte (1926-2007), played by Ivan Ilic.


  • John Borstlap says:

    This Foucault was another one than the extremist philosopher Michel Foucault of the last century (who described all Western institutions who attempt to keep up the rule of law as instruments of suppression by the boozjwazee), it was physicist Léon Foucault who still had some doubts whether the earth was really rotating. His contraption demonstrated it was:


    Hans Otte was a minimal music composer, enamored by the American attempts to write music with a minimum of thought:


  • gareth says:

    My speakers are broken, so I can’t hear Foucault…

  • a colleague says:

    swish… swish… swish…

  • Ed in Texas says:

    Actually, no. The pendulums (pendulia?) I’ve seen here in the states don’t sound like that at all. They’re silent, more like John Cage’s 4’33” than like this, except when the pendulum bob knocks over a peg. Then there’s a slight clatter for a brief moment. Not like this, which captures the clatter, but not the silence.

  • Anonymous Bosch says:

    Has anyone else noted that it begins by robbing Bernard Herrmann’s main theme from “Vertigo”? But where horns should blast in, it just keeps doing the same thing.

    My favourite appearance of Foucault’s pendulum is its defining image of the first scene of Act II of Patrice Chéreau’s Bayreuth “Die Walküre” designed by Richard Peduzzi: during Wotan’s monologue which foresees “Götterdämmerung” by repeating the words “Das Ende”, he reaches out and stops the pendulum.

  • E says:

    Thanks for this. It is so well done. A year or two ago, Pascal Dusapin created a sound installation, which was inaugurated along with a work by Anselm Keifer. At the time, no visits were possible. Since then?