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What was the music played on the piano inside the vault in Doctor Who’s Knock Knock?

Name that tune!

Published: Saturday, 6th May 2017 at 7:03 pm

For weeks now we’ve been wondering what or who is being kept inside the mysterious Doctor Who ‘Vault’, under the watchful eye of the Doctor and his assistant, Nardole.


In episode four, Knock Knock, we learned that whoever (or whatever) is in there can play the piano, as they banged out two well-known tunes.

But what were those songs? And who was playing them?

What was the first song played on the piano inside the vault?

Ever hear a piece of classical music and know it’s really super famous, but have no idea what it’s actually called? That’s how quite a few people may well feel when they hear Beethoven’s Für Elise.

Thought to have been composed sometime around 1810, the piece wasn’t actually published until 1867, more than 40 years after the composer’s death. There’s quite the debate about who actually wrote the version that we know today (sound familiar?) because the original manuscript, discovered by Ludwig Nohl, is now lost.

Nohl transcribed one version of the composition while Beethoven scholar Barry Cooper translated a version taken from a later manuscript.

Talk about coincidental nods to the Doctor’s love of Beethoven’s 5th and his Bootstrap Paradox speech about who actually wrote that particular piece of music…

The identity of Beethoven's Elise was never confirmed but we're guessing this episode's 'Elise' was The Landlord's mother, Eliza. Nice nod there Doctor Who. Very nice nod indeed.

What was the second piece of music played in the vault?

The more upbeat piece of music we heard being played on the piano was Pop Goes the Weasel, a well known nursery rhyme or children’s song that’s thought to have begun life as an old English dance.

Where have I heard Für Elise and Pop Goes the Weasel before?

Fur Elise is easily one of Beethoven’s most famous pieces and has been played and sampled all over the world. On the cinema screen you may have come across the song in movies like Rosemary’s Baby, Patch Adams and even Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

Pop Goes the Weasel, meanwhile, has been sung by children across the world in numerous lyrical variations.

It’s also frequently used in Jack in the Box toys. Could there be a subliminal ‘JACK’S IN THE BOX’ message there? As in Jack Harkness?

Hah. Eh, most likely not. But it sure is fun to speculate, innit?

Speaking of speculation, could River Song be in the vault playing the piano?

We’ve come across numerous references to the Doctor’s wife throughout the series – her picture popped up on his desk, he recalled visiting their old pal Jim the Fish, and she once accompanied him to the Frost Fair just like Bill in episode 3 – but could we be about to witness her return?

Amy and Rory’s daughter is known for greeting the Time Lord with a “hello sweetie” and some theorise that the ‘Elise’ we encounter in the title of Beethoven’s composition isn’t actually one person. They argue that the term could have been used to refer to one’s sweetheart in the time of Beethoven.

Fur Elise = for sweetheart = for…. Sweetie?

It’s incredibly tenuous, but wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff often is.

Is is the Master playing the piano in the vault?

Episode three, Thin Ice, contained another hint as to who might be behind those doors. Whoever or whatever was concealed within began banging on the door accompanied by the familiar sound of drums.

This week we learn that whoever is behind those doors is also positively gleeful at the prospect of listening to a story about children being eaten. We know both Missy and the Master are set to return this series, so surely it must be one of them in there?


Unless Steven Moffat has hit us with a big fat red herring, of course...


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