Music and Cryptology.


The other night I was working on a song when it dawned on me…music is its own language…and as a language,┬áit could be used as a code. I did some research and found out that this had already been done. But I didn’t let that stop me. This post is about how you can use music to create cryptic codes. Music can become complex very quickly. To present this in a short blog post, I will keep the concepts simple.

A code must be able to transmit information in a secure and understandable way. Music does just that. I am not talking about cryptic lyrics, but the actual notes and notation that makes up music. For instance, every song has a tempo. Some songs have many tempos within the same work, but we will stick with one tempo.

Tempo is a way to define time. A song may have 80 beats per minute…that is the timing of the song. If you set a metronome, a device used to keep the timing, to 80 beats per minute This type of timer is exactly how a fax machine works.

Imagine this. Two people are very distant from each other, they communicate by holding a flag up. If they both walk at the same speed (determined by the tempo) when one person raises his flag the other begins to make a line on a piece of paper at the same tempo. When the flag is lowered the person with the pen stops making the line. Using this method a message can be transmitted over a huge distance. This is the importance of tempo. For those of you into digital systems, you know the importance of time.

A code should also have infinite possibilities. Music at first glance is not infinite. But this is not true. Each pitch in a musical scale has a corresponding frequency. The middle C on a piano has a frequency of 261.6 Hz. This is where number theory ( a basis of many codes) comes into play. How many frequencies are there between middle C and the D just above it? Middle C is 261.6 Hz and the D just above it is 293.7 Hz. **Warning Number Theory** If the frequency was to be increased to halfway between 261.6 and 293.7 Hz…we would be at 277.65 or musically just above C#. What if you go halfway between C# and D? If you continue to move half-way to D…you will never reach it. In theory, there is an infinite number of frequencies available. This gives us the ability to assign an infinite number of values to a code.

Of course, a code without a key is worthless. And the key can be found in…the Key Signature, the first note, chord, or nearly any of the accent marks, etc…

So that is my idea.

Thanks to Sieve70 for the help.

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