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Puzzles Podcast

Puzzle Time

Welcome to the Ether Game Weekly Podcast! This week, we're looking at riddles, tricks, ciphers, and cryptograms for a very enigmatic show we're calling "Puzzles"! To get you started (or for those of you who just cannot wait for Tuesday nights), you can sharpen your skills with our podcast selection. Remember to keep your ears out for a portion of Tuesday night's Teaser selection. And don't forget to tune into the full show on Tuesday, June 27th at 8:00pm for a chance to win a prize!

Dmitri Shostakovich (1906–1975): STRING QUARTET NO. 8 IN C MINOR: I. Largo

Emerson String Quartet. Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 8 In C Minor (Deutsche Grammophon)

Dmitri Shostakovich encoded a secret message into the notes of this piece. He uses what's called a musical cryptogram, a kind of musical puzzle, where the note names of a motive spell out something else. Here, the four-note motive that opens this work contain the notes D–E-flat–C–B-natural. Germans have slightly different note names, so if you translate those notes to their German names, you get D-Es-C-H. The letters D-S-C-H represent Dmitri Shostakovich's own name! (D for Dmitri, his first initial, and S-C-H as the first three letters of his last name, if you spell it in German, that is). D-S-C-H became Shostakovich's signature motto, and he inserted it throughout not only this movement, but the entire string quartet. In fact, he ended up using the D-S-C-H motive in about 10 pieces, an extra "signature" for anyone clever enough to solve the musical puzzle.

Music Heard On This Episode

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