Category Archives: Composition

Musical Code Found in “DaVinci Code” Chapel

DAILY MUSE | Here’s an absolutely fascinating find. A father and son team studying the Rossyln Chapel in Scotland (made famous in “The DaVinci Code”) have found a code in geometric stone carvings inside the chapel from which they have decoded musical compositos. Check it out here and here. Quite beautiful!

Here is a physical demonstration of their theory used in deciphering the code.


The Geometry of Music

DAILY MUSE | I just read a fascinating article in the current Time Magazine summarizing new music theory discoveries describing a new understanding of the geometry of musical chord progressions. This theory can be applied to all forms of and differing musical styles and offers a new map enabling one to orient from one style to another. Here is an excerpt from the beginning of the article:

When you first hear them, a Gregorian chant, a Debussy prelude and a John Coltrane improvisation might seem to have almost nothing in common–except that they all include chord progressions and something you could plausibly call a melody. But music theorists have long known that there’s something else that ties these disparate musical forms together. The composers of these and virtually every other style of Western music over the past millennium tend to draw from a tiny fraction of the set of all possible chords. And their chord progressions tend to be efficient, changing as few notes, by as little as possible, from one chord to the next.

Exactly how one style relates to another, however, has remained a mystery–except over one brief stretch of musical history. That, says Princeton University composer Dmitri Tymoczko, “is why, no matter where you go to school, you learn almost exclusively about classical music from about 1700 to 1900. It’s kind of ridiculous.”

But Tymoczko may have changed all that. Borrowing some of the mathematics that string theorists invented to plumb the secrets of the physical universe, he has found a way to represent the universe of all possible musical chords in graphic form. “He’s not the first to try,” says Yale music theorist Richard Cohn. “But he’s the first to come up with a compelling answer.”

Continue reading the Time Magazine article “The Geometry of Music”

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