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Monday, December 25, 2017

Variation XIII Clarinet Solos Ciphers



Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see.

Edward Elgar cites a brief melodic fragment from Felix Mendelssohn’s concert overture Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage in Variation XIII of the Enigma Variations. Appearing in the full score enclosed by quotation marks, these fragments are performed by the first B-flat Clarinet in a span of 5.5 quarter beats dispersed over three measures. Elgar further elaborates these melodic snippets into a complete seven bar solo. The first two quotations are in A-flat major, and a third is in E-flat major. There is another Mendelssohn fragment in F minor performed by the trumpet and trombones which is not identified by quotation marks because it departs from the original major mode. In all, there are four Mendelssohn fragments with two in A-flat major, one in F minor, and the last in E-flat major.
The significance of the key letters from those Mendelssohn fragments—A, E, and F—is they are an anagram of a well known musical cryptogram taken from the initials of the violinist Joseph Joachim’s romantic motto “Frei aber einsam” (Free but lonely). The presence of such a conspicuous musical cipher in the Mendelssohn fragments is extraordinary for two reasons. The first is that legacy scholars such as Julian Rushton failed to detect something so transparently concealed in plain sight. The second is that it forcefully suggests the existence of more cryptograms in Variation XIII, and by extension, the rest of the Enigma Variations.
The conventional wisdom stubbornly maintains that the Mendelssohn fragments are extraneous to the Enigma Variations. That opinion is superficially justified because these melodic extracts originate from an entirely different work. This is one instance in which the conventional wisdom has proven to be monumentally wrong. Far from being unrelated, the Mendelssohn fragments conceal a rich cache of cryptograms that confirm the identities of the covert melodic Theme and the secret friend memorialized in Variation XIII. This really should come as no surprise because Elgar was an expert cryptographer. The Mendelssohn fragments harbor or form a part of at least thirteen cryptograms:
  1. FAE Cipher
  2. FACE Cipher
  3. Mendelssohn E.F.B. Cipher
  4. AMF Cipher
  5. Mendelssohn Keynotes Cipher
  6. Mendelssohn Scale Degrees Cipher
  7. Dual Initials Enigma Cipher
  8. Romanza Cipher
  9. Mendelssohn Pi Cipher
  10. Mendelssohn Pi-C Cipher
  11. Dominant-Tonic-Dominant (5-1-5) Cipher
  12. Melodic Intervals Cipher
  13. See Abba Mendelssohn Cipher

Further research has unveiled two more cryptograms that may be added to the list, bringing the total of Mendelssohn fragments ciphers to fifteen. Before describing these two new cipher discoveries in detail, it is first necessary to briefly revisit the importance of two numbers granted a marked emphasis in numerous Enigma Variations ciphers. They are the numbers four and six.
The numbers four and six appear over and over again in multiple ciphers unearthed in the Enigma Variations. Sometimes these numbers appear separately, and at other times in tandem. There are four string parts in the Enigma Locks Cipher found in the Enigma Theme’s openings six measures. A Music Box Cipher is also ensconced in those same six bars, and its decryption consists of four different languages whose first letters are an acrostic of ELGAR. In a masterful stroke, Elgar expertly encoded his entire last name using a cipher cloaked within another. For anyone to suspect that such an extraordinary encryption could be the result of something as pernicious as confirmation bias or an overactive imagination would be tantamount to insisting that Winston Churchill was a teetotaler. It was Churchill who confided, “Always remember that I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.”
The numbers four and six emerge time and time again in various Enigma Variations ciphers. There are four subtitles in the Frei Acrostic Anagram Cipher. Likewise, there are four Mendelssohn fragments in Variation XIII which hold numerous ciphers. The opus number (36) of the Enigma Variations is the product of six times six, and there are six titles for various movements that are each six letters in length. Elgar’s peculiar emphasis on the numbers four and six in the Enigma Variations ciphers makes perfect sense when one recognizes that the covert Theme’s title originates Psalm 46. The complete title of the unstated Principal Theme is six words in length: Ein feste Burg ist Unser Gott. There are 24 letters in that title, the sum of four sixes.
Mendelssohn Clarinet Solo Nominal Notes Cipher
Elgar’s coded emphasis on the numbers four and six throughout the Enigma Variations ciphers invites the application of those same integers to the notes of the B-flat clarinet solos in Variation XIII. These plaintive solo passages commence with the seemingly anomalous Mendelssohn fragments and have a total of ten notes. The first four notes complete the Mendelssohn quotation, and these are followed by six more notes that round out the solo. The emergence yet again of the numbers four and six in connection with the Mendelssohn fragments and their melodic elaboration is not a coincidence but represents a further coded emphasis on those two integers.
The B-flat clarinet is a transposing instrument that plays a written or nominal note one whole step lower as the concert or sounding pitch. The first two Clarinet solos sound in A-flat major but are written a whole step higher in the key of B-flat major. Counting forwards on the written part to the fourth note of the Mendelssohn quotation arrives on B-flat. The next or fifth note is the first in Elgar’s melodic elaboration, which is F followed by the sixth note E. The fourth through sixth notes of the first two written B-flat clarinet solos commencing with the Mendelssohn quotations are  B-flat, F, and E. Those three letters are significant because they are the initials of the covert Theme in reverse.


One would never know to examine or sequester the fourth through sixth notes of the A-flat clarinet solos in Variation XIII written in B-flat unless the importance of the numbers four and six was first recognized. These numbers are subtly identified within each A-flat major clarinet solo as the initial four notes constitute the Mendelssohn quotation, and these are followed by six more to complete the passage. The cryptographic importance of those integers is further highlighted by their repeated appearance in numbers Enigma Variations ciphers.
Clarinet A Major Key Signature Transposition Cipher
It has been shown how Elgar cleverly encodes the initials (E. F. B.) for the covert Theme using the fourth through sixth notes of the A-flat major clarinet solos in Variation XIII that open with the Mendelssohn quotations. He also enciphers those same initials with the accidentals from the clarinet’s key signature. Variation XIII is set in G major, a key nominally written for the B-flat clarinet a whole step higher in A major. The key signature of A major has three sharps: F-sharp, C-sharp, and G-sharp. When played by the B-flat clarinet a major second downward, those three accidentals sound as E, B, and F-sharp. Those are the initials for Ein feste Burg. This clarinet key signature cipher reprises a similar encoding technique used in the Enigma Keys Cipher without the added step of transposition. With his use of musical transposition as a form of encipherment, Elgar covertly tips his hat to a whole class of transposition ciphers.


The initials for the hidden melody are encoded in at least a dozen ways throughout the Enigma Variations. It has just been revealed how the Mendelssohn Clarinet Solo Nominal Notes Cipher and Clarinet Key Signature Cipher both encode those initials. The Enigma Keys Cipher encodes them through the accidentals for the Enigma Theme's G minor and major modes which are B-flat, E-flat, and F-sharp. The Nimrod Timpani Cipher does so with the tuning for the three timpani drums in Variation IX which is indicated on the score as E-flat, B-flat, and F. In Variation XIII, the FAE Mendelssohn Cipher enciphers these initials based on the number of times a fragment is stated in a given key, then converting that number to the corresponding scale degree of that mode. The Letter Cluster Cipher is constructed from the letters from the titles of Variations XII (B. G. N.) and XIV (E. D. U., and Finale). The Enigma Date Cipher at the end of the original score provides those same initials as an abbreviation for February as “FEb.” The Dominant-Tonic-Dominant Cipher is embedded in the Mendelssohn fragments of Variation XIII and also ingeniously encodes these initials. The Cover Page Cipher is where Elgar traced a box and wrote the letters "FEb" twice on the original cover page of the Enigma Variations. The Enigma Variations Key Numbers Cipher also encodes the initials E.F.B. The tenth is the Mendelssohn Melodic Intervals Cipher. With so many ciphers pinpointing the same set of initials, is it absurd to maintain they must be coincidental and fabricated.
The interrelated decryptions of the Enigma Variations Ciphers are mutually consistent and reinforcing, erecting an elaborate yet rational set of solutions to one of musicology’s enduring mysteries. With so many ciphers pinpointing the same answers, there is no room left for doubt. The ciphers are genuine, and on that basis we may be confident that the answers they encode are true and accurate. These solutions to Elgar’s enigmas are highly unpalatable to secular scholars like Julian Rushton who reflexively attribute them to coincidence, confirmation bias, and even contrivance. Ultimately the only thing that is contrived is Rushton's vacuous objections. Like the Bible they routinely disparage, academics contend the Enigma ciphers and their decryptions must all be concocted in some elaborate ruse to misinform and mislead rather than to enlighten and guide. If the ciphers are merely the product of an overactive or determined imagination, how then does one account for their precise and consistent solutions? The secret melody to the Enigma Variations is Ein feste Burg by Martin Luther. The secret friend of Variation XIII is Jesus Christ, Elgar’s inspiration behind not only the Enigma Variations but also to his sacred oratorios: The Light of Life (Lux Christi), The Dream of Gerontius, The Apostles, and The Kingdom. To learn more about the secrets of Elgar’s Enigma Variations and its manifold ciphers, read my free eBook Elgar’s Enigmas Exposed.



Thursday, December 21, 2017

Elgar's FAE Syllables Cipher





Edward Elgar quotes a brief melodic fragment from the beginning of a theme featured in Felix Mendelssohn’s concert overture Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage in Variation XIII of the Enigma Variations. In the original full score, three Mendelssohn fragments are enclosed by quotation marks and played by the B-flat Clarinet. The first two are in A-flat major, and a third is in E-flat major. There is another Mendelssohn fragment in F minor performed by the trumpet and trombones which is not overtly identified by quotation marks in the full score because it departs from the original major mode. In all, there are four Mendelssohn fragments with two in A-flat major, one in F minor, and the last in E-flat major.


The significance of the key letters from these Mendelssohn fragments—A, E, and F—is that they form an anagram of a well known musical cryptogram derived from the initials of the violinist Joseph Joachim’s romantic motto “Frei aber einsam” (Free but lonely). The presence of such a conspicuous musical cipher in the Mendelssohn fragments is extraordinary for at least two reasons. The first is that well-respected scholars such as Julian Rushton failed to detect something so obviously concealed in plain sight. The second is that it forcefully intimates the existence of more cryptograms in Variation XIII, and by extension, the rest of the Enigma Variations.


The Frei Acrostic Anagram Cipher
It is significant that Elgar encoded Joachim’s maxim in more than one way in the Enigma Variations. With the key letters of the Mendelssohn fragments, he simply enciphered its initials. He escalates the sophistication of his cryptographic prowess by encoding the entire phrase within four subtitles found in the Enigma Variations. While the majority of the Enigma Variations are given titles with straightforward initials or nicknames, there are four movements with extra subtitles that invite being treated as a distinct subgroup. The first is the original Theme which Elgar evasively calls Enigma. This is followed later by Variation X entitled Dorabella with the added subtitle Intermezzo. Variation XIII has three asterisks ostensibly representing a set of missing initials with the subtitle Romanza. The last is Variation XIV with Elgar’s German initials (E. D. U.) and the subtitle Finale.
The first major breakthrough in analyzing this discrete group of four subtitles for prospective ciphers was the realization that their first letters are an acrostic anagram of the German word frei. That is the initial word in Joachim’s German motto. This discovery triggered the search for the remaining two words. With the subtitles rearranged so that their first letters spell frei, the remaining two words were detected in Italian (ma) and phonetically in German (eanzam). This outcome may appear incredible, yet it is assuredly not due to superficial confirmation bias because there are far too many reciprocal intersecting datapoints. The Frei Acrostic Anagram Cipher is authentic with confirmation of its efficacy supplied by the Mendelssohn Fragments FAE Cipher.
The appearance of a phonetic spelling in the decryption of the Frei Acrostic Anagram Cipher is not evidence for its contrivance, but rather further proof of Elgar’s complicity. As Eric Sams observed, “Elgar was notoriously obsessed with phonetic spellings.” His personal correspondence bristles with phonetic spellings, so a phonetic rendering in the decryption bears his cryptographic fingerprints. With four Mendelssohn fragments, Elgar encodes the three initials for Joachim’s romantic motto. In a similar vein, with four subtitles he embeds all three words in the proper order. The number four crops up repeatedly in this analysis of Elgar’s ciphers. There are four string parts in his Enigma Locks Ciphers. There are four Mendelssohn fragments consisting of four notes each. There are four subtitles in his Acrostic Anagram Cipher. Elgar’s selection of those four subtitles must have been carried out with exquisite care to enable the construction of such a sophisticated cryptogram.


It is nothing short of revelatory that the phonetic spelling for einsam forms the outline of a cross over the subtitle Romanza. This betrays Elgar’s penchant for wordplay because according to the gospel accounts, the Romans crucified Jesus on a cross. The Enigma Variations harbor multiple overt and covert references to the cross. This widely recognized symbol of Elgar’s Roman Catholic faith serves as a clue that confirms the identity of the secret friend memorialized in Variation XIII. Just as the Mendelssohn fragments encode one set of initials, the Roman numerals for that movement encipher yet another set that divulges the secret friend’s actual identity. The application of a number-to-letter cipher to the Roman numerals XIII unveil the secret friend’s initials. X represents the number ten, and the tenth letter of the alphabet is J. III stands for three, and the third letter is C. These letters are the initials for Jesus Christ, the Lord and Savior of Elgar’s Roman Catholic faith.
In addition to placing a coded emphasis on the number four, Elgar also draws unusual attention to the number six throughout the Enigma Variations. The opus number (36) is the product of six times six. There is an oddly placed double bar at the end of Enigma Theme’s sixth measure. There are precisely six titles given to various movements that are each six letters long. The first is Enigma, while two others appear in succession for Variations VI (Ysobel) and VII (Troyte).
Less obvious but equally relevant is the presence of a six-by-six music box cipher embedded within the first six measures of the Enigma Theme. When decoded, it unveils Elgar’s “dark saying” first described in the original 1899 program note.  The full title of the covert Theme has six words—Ein feste Burg ist Unser Gott. There are 24 letters in that title, the sum of four sixes. The lyrics of Luther's most famous hymn originate from Psalm 46,  a chapter ending in six. The names Martin and Luther both have six letters. Elgar's use of the German augmented sixth chord in the Enigma Theme further alludes to the missing melody's six-word title in German. Even Elgar's dedication hints at this number for it is comprised of six words: “Dedicated to My Friends Pictured Within.” Elgar’s subtle but noticeable emphasis on the numbers 4 and 6 throughout the Enigma Variations points to the chapter number of the Psalm that has the covert Theme’s title.
Elgar added three asterisks next to the Roman numerals for Variation XIII ostensibly to represent those of a secret friend. A closer inspection of the particular asterisk printed on the original full score reveals it is a hexagram—the Star of David. This is a very symbolic gesture because one of the many titles for Jesus is the Son of David.


For those who are inclined to attribute these hexagrammatic asterisks on the first published score to someone other than Elgar such as an editor or publisher, one need look no further than the Master Score for the final answer. It shows that Elgar added three hexagrams on the Master Score next to the Roman numerals XIII.

Elgar’s use of acrostic anagrams is not unique to the Frei Acrostic Anagram Cipher in the Enigma Variations. In the Enigma Theme’s first measure, he uses the same technique with the performance directions to encode his initials and the word psalm. That decryption is hugely revealing because the title of the covert Theme originates from Psalm 46. The three asterisks that serve as the cryptic title for Variation XIII hint at the hidden Theme’s title having three initials. Elgar cleverly provides those missing initials in the form of another acrostic anagram using the first letters of the titles from the contiguous Variations XII and XIV. In a classic display of misdirection, the secret friend’s initials are actually enciphered by the Roman numerals rather than the asterisks.
There are four Mendelssohn fragments in three contrasting keys which together encode the initials of Joachim’s romantic three-word motto in German. This discovery provides some revealing parallels with the covert Theme’s title because it also consists of three words in German. There are five syllables in Joachim’s romantic motto. As there are four Mendelssohn fragments which encode the initials for that Joachim’s aphorism, this invites a number-to-syllable cipher approach by counting forwards from the first to the fourth syllable. This deciphering method lands squarely on the letters ein, the first word in the covert Theme’s German title Ein feste Burg. When the same procedure is applied in reverse with the last syllable counted first, this arrives at the letter a, the first word in the English translation A Mighty Fortress.


The twin procedures of counting forward and backward through a dataset were applied effectively with the Enigma Locks Cipher. These transposition methods produced meaningful plaintext results that indirectly revealed the initials for the covert Theme via the Enigma Keys Cipher, and directly identified the initials for the secret friend. With the FAE Syllables Cipher, this same approach unveiled the first word in both the German and literal English translation of the covert Theme’s title. Again, the mutually consistent results defy a plausible chance explanation.
The conventional wisdom has stubbornly maintained that the Mendelssohn fragments are extraneous to the Enigma Variations. That opinion seems justified because these melodic extracts originate from an entirely different work. This is one instance in which the conventional wisdom proved to be monumentally wrong. Far from being unrelated, these fragments conceal a rich cache of cryptograms that confirm the identities of the covert melodic Theme and the secret friend memorialized in Variation XIII. This really should come as no surprise because Elgar was an expert cryptographer. To learn more about the secrets of Elgar’s Enigma Variations, read my free eBook Elgar’s Enigmas Exposed.
The Joachim Quartet

Monday, December 11, 2017

Elgar's Enigma Theme Locks Initials Cipher



Beauty awakens the soul to act.


There is a peculiarly positioned double bar at the end of the sixth measure of the Enigma Theme from the Enigma Variations by Edward Elgar. Similar to the unconventional construction of its haunting melody, the double bar’s proximity so close to the opening is both conspicuous and anomalous because it is typically used to indicate the end of a movement or section. With a feature associated with endings appearing near the beginning, something is distinctly out of kilter.


Some researchers have reasonably concluded this unusually positioned double bar at the terminus of bar six from the Enigma Theme actually marks off a special section harboring music ciphers. This conclusion is reinforced not only by the title Enigma, but also by an audible sense of separation achieved in the melody by regularly placed quarter rests on the downbeat. Dr. McClelland perceptively observed that this rhythmic motif “...strongly suggests the cryptological technique of disguising word-lengths in ciphers by arranging letters in regular patterns.” It is an incontrovertible fact that Elgar was obsessed with ciphers. As Michael Kennedy remarked, “...he loved puns, acrostics, secret codes and crossword puzzles.” The suspicion that the Enigma Theme’s opening six measures contain various music ciphers is entirely consistent with Elgar’s expertise in cryptography, the art of creating and decrypting coded messages.
There is further evidence that the Enigma Theme incorporates a series of music ciphers. Elgar gave an illuminating description of the Enigma Variations in a letter to Charles Anslie Barry who prepared the program note for the June 1899 premiere. For that program, Barry cites Elgar’s commentary at length:

It is true that I have sketched for their amusement and mine, the idiosyncrasies of fourteen of my friends, not necessarily musicians; but this is a personal matter, and need not have been mentioned publicly. The Variations should stand simply as a ‘piece’ of music. The Enigma I will not explain – it’s ‘dark saying’ must be left unguessed, and I warn you that the connexion between the Variations and the Theme is often of the slightest texture; further, through and over the whole set another and larger theme ‘goes’, but is not played…So the principal Theme never appears, even as in some later dramas – e.g., Maeterlinck’s ‘L’Intruse’ and ‘Les sept Princesses’ – the chief character is never on the stage.

By associating a “dark saying” with the Enigma Theme, Elgar all but concedes it enciphers various words and phrases. Such a reading is justified because one of the definitions of dark is secret, and a saying is a group of words that produce a phrase. A series of hidden words in the Enigma Theme could only be achieved through music ciphers, a specialty of the composer. This would also explain why Elgar cautioned that his “dark saying” must remain unguessed since the plaintext solution may only be realized through a systematic decryption process. Although Elgar playfully teased Dora Penny about being the one to guess the solution, guessing alone would never suffice. His contrapuntal conundrum was calculated with great care and effort, and so too must be its solution.
What would Elgar conceivably encode in the Enigma Theme? The first and most likely candidate is the secret melody's title. The original program note and other publicly available sources published in the years following the premiere specify there is a covert Theme on which the Enigma Variations are based as a series of diverse counterpoints. The principal Theme is not heard because it is not played in its entirety, although short fragments of it do appear in various parts of the score. For example, a four-note segment from its concluding phrase is twice quoted in Dora Penny's Variation X entitled Dorabella. The discovery of these fragments from the covert Theme in her variation accounts for Elgar's insistence that Dora would have been the one to guess the correct tune. The existence of these melodic snippets from the hidden melody is heavily hinted at by a four-note fragment from Mendelssohn’s concert overture Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt quoted repeatedly in Variation XIII.
A second item that is most probably enciphered in the Enigma Theme is a “dark saying.” This is the case as the original program note mentions a “dark saying” in connection with the Enigma Theme. Elgar’s discussion of a “dark saying” associated with the Enigma Theme (which is itself a counterpoint to a famous melody) clearly specifies that these two riddles are interrelated. There must be some intimate connection between his “dark saying” and the title of the covert Theme. Following this line of reasoning, it is entirely plausible that this encoded message is the secret tune’s title. His use of the term Enigma as the title of the Theme bolsters this tantalizing link between the two.
To detect the presence of prospective music ciphers in the Enigma Theme’s opening measures, it was first necessary to carefully scrutinize the orchestral parts from the full score. The only instruments that perform over the first six measures of the Enigma Theme comprise the string quartet. The first violins play the melody with an accompaniment provided by the second violins, violas, and cellos. In the process of analyzing these opening six measures for the existence of prospective music ciphers, it was quickly discovered that the sum of the notes for each string part does not exceed the total letters of the English alphabet. There are 24 melody notes in the first violin part, 17 in the second violin part, 15 in the viola part, and 12 in the cello part. This realization invited the application of an elementary number-to-letter cipher conversion, triggering the discovery of the Enigma Locks Cipher.


This cryptogram relies on the note totals from each string part over the Enigma Theme's first six measures to encode specific letters of the alphabet. When the cipher key is applied to these note totals by counting forwards in the alphabet (1=A, 2=B, 3=C, and so on), the plaintext solution letters are X for the first violins, Q for the second violins, O for the violas, and L for the cellos. The sequential combination of these letters in reverse order from the bottom of the orchestral score upwards produces the plaintext solution LOQX. This fusion of letters is a phonetic rendering of locks. Like ciphers, locks are opened with keys.
The word association between locks and keys prompted an analysis of the musical keys in which the Enigma Theme is written. This brief opening movement in an ABA’C format alternates between the minor and major modes of G. The accidentals for those two key signatures are B-flat, E-flat, and F-sharp. It is extraordinary that the three letters of those accidentals are an anagram of the initials for the covert Theme’s common three-word title, Ein feste Burg. The unveiling of the Enigma Locks Cipher sparked the discovery of a second cryptogram lurking in the same movement, the Enigma Keys Cipher.
The same decryption method may also be applied to the Enigma Theme’s instrumental section note totals for the opening six bars by counting backward in the alphabet (1=Z, 2=Y, 3=X, and so on). The application of this retrograde conversion results in the plaintext solution letters C for the first violins, J for the second violins, L for the violas, and O for the cellos. Two of the four letters (L and O) from the reverse decryption precisely match two from the standard forward counting decryption. That degree of congruence forcefully indicates a deliberate rather than coincidental construction.
The letters yielded by the retrograde conversion are an anagram of LOJC. In the biblical text, the word lo means to behold or look upon. The remaining two letters are the initials for Jesus Christ, the secret friend commemorated in Variation XIII. The letters LOJC may consequently be read as “Lo JC,” or interpolated more fully as “Behold Jesus Christ.” This interpretation of LOJC is amply supported by numerous ciphers in the Enigma Variations that implicate the Turin Shroud, the burial cloth of Christ venerated by Roman Catholics and other believers for thousands of years. The initials for Elgar’s not-so-secret friend are transparently encoded by the Roman numerals assigned to Variation XIII using the very same encipherment method found in the Enigma Locks Cipher, namely a number-to-letter cipher encryption key.  It is precisely the same encryption used with the Roman numerals of Variation IX to encode the initials for Elgar’s other friend, August Jaeger.
On the subject of initials, the music used to construct the Enigma Locks Cipher is noteworthy because there are two E-flats in each of the three string parts that form the accompaniment. Over the opening six measures of the Enigma Theme’s full score where this cipher is positioned, there are two E-flats in the second violin part, two more in the viola part, and a third pair in the cello part. These three pairs of E-flats in the three accompanying string parts are undoubtedly coded versions of the composer’s initials. Three string parts with three pairs of E-flats is a subtle numeric reference to Elgar's initials because 33 is the mirror image of his rounded capital cursive E's. In contrast to the accompaniment, the Enigma Theme’s melody is devoid of any E’s or E-flats. While there are no notes in the first measure of the full score that would suggest Elgar’s initials, there is a Performance Directions Anagram Cipher that ingeniously encodes them. The first letters of the opening measure's seven performance directions are an anagram of EE’s PSALM. This is a revealing decryption because a psalm is a sacred hymn or poem used in worship, and the covert Theme is a hymn with a title drawn from chapter 46 of the Book of Psalms.
The presence of Elgar’s initials in the Enigma Psalm Cipher is not an isolated occurrence as his initials are also woven into the three string accompaniment parts of the Enigma Locks Cipher. In all, there are six E-flats dispersed over five of the opening six measures of the Enigma Theme. That in itself is fascinating as the number five is associated with Elgar’s initials because the fifth letter of the alphabet is E. The frequency and location of each E-flat from the full score of the Enigma Variations opening six bars is summarized in the table below.


The discovery of the Enigma Theme Locks Cipher invites the application of the same number-to-letter conversion (A=1, B=2, C=3, etc…) to the figures associated with the relative frequency of E-flat in the first six measures of the Enigma Theme’s orchestral score. When applied to the measure numbers with an E-flat (2, 3, 4, 5 and 6), this conversion yields the plaintext letters B, C, D, E, and F. Three of those letters—B, E, and Fstand out straightaway because they are an anagram of the initials for Ein feste Burg. The remaining two letters—C and D—are an anagram of the initials for the Divina Commedia by Dante Alighieri. This interpretation is endorsed by diverse coded references to The Divine Comedy within the Enigma Variations. For example, Dante places the babbling giant Nimrod who blows his horn to draw attention to himself in the ninth circle of hell. Elgar reprises the link between that name and the number nine by giving the title Nimrod to Variation IX, a movement that concludes with a symbolic blast from the brass section at Rehearsal 37.
Richard Santa made the remarkable discovery that Elgar encoded the mathematical constant Pi in the Enigma Theme. That special number captures the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Santa’s research is featured in Columbia University’s music journal Current Musicology. He perceptively noted the scale degrees of the Enigma Theme’s melody in the first bar are 3-1-4-2, a rounded version of the first five digits of Pi (3.1415). Pi is also encoded within the Mendelssohn fragments of Variation XIII. Elgar’s coded reference to Pi intersects elegantly with Dante’s vivid descriptions in his Divine Comedy of the nine circles of hell and the celestial spheres of heaven.

Dante and Beatrice gaze into the Highest Heaven
After separating out the initials (E. F. B.) for the covert Theme, the remaining letters D and C may be confidently identified as the initials for Dante’s magnum opus Divina Commedia. This discovery invites a further related decryption calling for the application of Elgar’s affinity for phonetic spellings. When the C is treated like an S as in the word circle, the combination of DC may be read alternatively as DS or Dis. In the first canticle of The Divine Comedy called The Inferno, there is a massive fortress city called Dis that encompasses the sixth through ninth circles of hell. Elgar’s coded literary references to Dante’s Divine Comedy and the fortress city of Dis are extraordinary bisecting clues because the literal translation of the covert Theme’s German title Ein feste Burg is “A Mighty Fortress.” A canticle is a hymn or psalm, so Elgar’s coded literary references to Dante’s Divine Comedy and the City of Dis entails multitiered allusions to the Book of Psalms and its famous 46th chapter.

The fortress city of Dis

An analysis of the note E-flat reveals that it is a remarkably efficient vehicle to encode the initials for Ein feste Burg. The note letter itself provides the first initial. The word flat begins with f, giving the second initial. The third initial is furnished by the flat symbol which is known in Italian as bemolle or literally “soft B.” From the very note Elgar uses to encode three sets of his initials in the Enigma Locks Cipher, the initials from the covert Theme may be methodically extracted as an acrostic anagram from “E flat bemolle.” In an extraordinary cryptographic display, Elgar’s uses the note E-flat to both repeatedly encode his own initials over the first six bars of the Enigma Theme’s full score, and the three initials for Ein feste Burg.
There are six E-flats dispersed over the first six bars of the Enigma Theme, and likewise there are six words in the complete title of the covert Theme. One of those E-flats appears on the downbeat of bar 5 as part of an augmented sixth chord known as a German sixth. That is an illuminating chord because it hints at the covert Theme’s complete German title in six words. The nebulous “dark saying” in the Enigma Theme is actually the six-word German title for the covert Theme, Ein feste Burg ist Unser Gott (A Mighty Fortress is Our God). The existence of this other cipher—a Polybius Square set to music—was suggested by two uncanny numeric parallels between the Enigma Theme and Ein feste Burg’s complete title. There are 24 melody notes in the Enigma Theme’s opening six bars, and likewise, there are 24 letters in the covert Theme’s six-word title. Six bars with 24 notes furnish some remarkable numeric parallels with the covert Theme’s six-word title containing 24 letters. Not coincidentally, that title is a saying.
Returning to the Enigma Locks Cipher, there is one E-flat on the downbeat of bar 5. The pairing of that E-flat’s frequency (1) and beat (1) forms the number 11. That figure is significant because there are eleven unique letters in the covert Theme’s six-word title, a critical sum needed to carry out the standard cryptographic technique of letter frequency analysis. With E as the fifth letter of the alphabet, the appearance of an E-flat on the first beat of bar 5 serves not only as another coded version of Elgar’s initials but also to the symbolic number 515, Dante’s “enigma forte” from Canto XXXIII of the third canticle, Paradiso. The enigmatic title for the Theme was undoubtedly inspired in part by Dante’s poetic puzzle.
A closer look at the frequency and beat numbers of the six E-flats from the full score of Enigma Theme’s opening six bars supplies yet another remarkable layer of cipher solutions. There are 1 or 2 E-flats appearing on the 1st and/or 3rd beats of the Enigma Theme’s opening six measures. The application of the number-to-letter conversion to both their frequencies (1 and 2) and beats (1 and 3) produces the plaintext A, B, A and C. These letters are identical to the note letters quoted in the first two A-flat major Mendelssohn fragments in Variation XIII, specifically C, B-flat, A-flat, and A-flat. These letters are also the same used to map out the Enigma Theme’s ABA’C structure. There are various interlocking ciphers in the Enigma Theme and the Mendelssohn fragments that use those identical four letters. Another approach to the E-flat frequencies (1 and 2) and beats (1 and 3) is to fuse them together to produce 12 and 13. Converting those figures to their corresponding letters in the alphabet produces L and M. Those two letters are the initials for Martin Luther, the composer of Ein feste Burg. That specific solution cannot be the product of coincidence. Elgar originally identified Variation XIII with a single capital L, and only later added ML—the initials for Martin Luther.
With the strategic positioning of two E-flats in three of the four string parts in the opening six bars of the Enigma Theme’s orchestral score, Elgar provides three sets of his initials in code within the Enigma Locks Cipher. In this cipher cloaked within another, Elgar brilliantly encodes through his own initials the initials for the covert Theme Ein feste Burg and Dante’s Divine Comedy. He also enciphers a phonetic spelling for Dis, the fortress city described in the first canticle of Dante’s Divine Comedy, The Inferno.  With the frequency and beat numbers associated with these E-flats, he also encodes the ABA’C structure of the Enigma Theme, the four note letters of the A-flat major Mendelssohn quotations in Variation XIII, and the initials for the composer of the covert Theme, Martin Luther.
Elgar’s genius for cryptograms is nothing short of extraordinary. The six E-flats in the three string accompaniments dispersed over the Enigma Theme’s opening six bars bear his cryptographic fingerprints. The solutions are reciprocal and match those of other ciphers in different parts of the score, some which are also accompanied by his initials. I suspect one could devote a lifetime teasing apart the cryptograms he so expertly interlaced into his masterful melodic tapestry known today as the Enigma Variations. Elgar’s cryptographic genius is on full display with his brilliantly conceived Enigma Locks Initials Cipher. To learn more about the secrets of Elgar’s Enigma Variations, read my free eBook Elgar’s Enigmas Exposed.


About Mr. Padgett

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Mr. Padgett studied violin with Michael Rosenker (a student of Leopold Auer), and Rosenker’s pupil, Owen Dunsford. Mr. Padgett studied piano with Sally Magee (a student of Emanuel Bay), and Blanca Uribe, a student of Rosina Lhévinne. He attended the Stevenson School in Pebble Beach, California, and Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in psychology. At Vassar he studied music theory and composition with Richard Wilson. Mr. Padgett has performed for Joseph Silverstein, Van Cliburn, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Shriver, Steve Jobs, Prince Charles, Lady Camilla, Marcia Davenport, William F. Buckley, Jr., and other prominent public figures. His original compositions have been performed by the Monterey Symphony, at the Bohemian Grove, the Bohemian Club, and other private and public venues. In 2008 Mr. Padgett won the Max Bragado-Darman Fanfare Competition with his entry "Fanfare for the Eagles." It was premiered by the Monterey Symphony under Maestro Bragado in May 2008. A member of the Elgar Society, Mr. Padgett is married with five children.