REVIEW: Quality of 'Enigma' no mystery
What: Classic Series Concert No 6, featuring cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan with the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra, Jorge Mester conducting When: 8 p.m. today and Saturday Admission: $64 Tickets: 597-1900 or www.thephil.org Philharmonic Center for the Arts 5833 Pelican Bay Boulevard Naples, FL Phone: 239-597-1900 Email: [email protected] The ...
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Since: Jul 07
#1 Apr 8, 2011
Perhaps concert goers would like to know the recently revealed secret of the "enigma." Columbia University recently published the solution in "Current Musicology."
Elgar was fond of jokes and japes (people doing funny things unintentionally.) The year before Elgar wrote the EV the Indiana house of representatives passed a bill defining the method/value of Pi. This was not totally unnecessary but the method legislated had been rigorously disproven a few years earlier.
Elgar decided to create a melody using Pi in three forms. First of all he used decimal Pi, 3.142 as the basis for his first four notes, scale degree 3-1-4-2. Secondly he hid fractional Pi (22/7)in the first four bars by following his first eleven notes with two "drops of a seventh." 11 x 2/7 = 22/7. His third clever trick was to include a "dark saying" pun in his first six bars, deliniated by an otherwise unexplained double bar before the end end of the first phrase. "Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie/Pi." Blackbirds are "dark" and the pun at Pi is unmistakeable. Elgar wrote "four and twenty" black notes before the mysterious double bar.
There is much more in the journal article but that is the essence of Elgar's enigma.
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