This week, Ether Game is exploring riddles, ciphers, and other head-scratchers. It’s a game designed to bemuse, confound, and flummox, a game we’re calling “Puzzles.”
Did you know…
- The Enigma Variations by Edward Elgar were pieces based on his friends and acquaintances. But the idea behind the “Enigma” theme remains a mystery to this day!
- “Musical Cryptograms”—words encoded into pieces by using the note names—were used by many composers, including Robert Schumann and Johann Sebastian Bach (who encoded his own name B-A-C-H, but using the notes B-flat, A, C, and B-natural!)
- Joseph Haydn’s “Minuet al Roverso” from his Symphony No. 47 is written as a palindrome: the music reads the same backwards and forwards!
- Josquin Des Prez was known for writing “puzzle canons,” works where one line of music is given, and the directions for performing the counterpoint had to be deciphered by the performers.
- The “Gulliver Suite” by Georg Philipp Telemann depicts the music of the Lilliputians and Brobdingnagians with a musical riddle in the time signature: the very small Lilliputians are in tiny 3/32 time, whereas the very large Brobdingnagians are in ponderous 24/1 time!
See the full puzzling playlist below: