Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Amadeus Code and other musical secrets

Dan Brown, the author of the Da Vinci Code, is not the only writer who plays around with codes in his works.

Many of the classical composers, some of them Freemasons or rumored to be members of the Rosicrucians, Priory of Sion, Knights Templar or other secret societies, often hid coded messages in their music.

According to an article in The Weekend Australian, Johann Sebastian Bach "signed his compositions 'Soli Dei Gloria' — to the glory of God alone — but he also signed within his works a tribute to himself, using the letters of his surname. In English notation, only the letters A to G are used in the musical scale; in German, the letter H denotes B-natural. So Bach was able to sign his own name, with the notes B-A-C-H, in such magisterial works as The Art of Fugue."

The article continues: "Other composers took to this idea of musical Scrabble. The Irish composer John Field wrote melodies on the themes of B-E-E-F and C-A-B-B-A-G-E; the pious Frenchman, Olivier Messiaen, used entire quotations from Thomas Aquinas in his organ work, Meditations on the Mystery of the Holy Trinity."

Erik Satie, a writer for the piano, was a Rosicrucian. He "structured some of his pieces with the so-called divine ratio, the number denoted by the Greek letter phi, that is thought to give especially pleasing or auspicious dimensions."

Mozart's The Magic Flute is ripe with Masonic symbology:
The number three is prevalent — in the key of E-flat, in the three boys, in the three-note motifs said to echo the secret Masonic "knock." It refers to the three pillars of the Masonic temple: wisdom, beauty and strength.

Characters would be understood as taking part in a Masonic drama: the prince Tamino is the new initiate who must go through a ritual purification; Sarastro is the Persian prophet Zoroaster; the Queen of the Night refers to the realm of darkness and ignorance; the moor Monostatos is said to refer to the assassin of King Solomon's architect, Hiram.

The Flute can be read as a parable of the triumph of light over darkness, an end to superstition and the beginning of a new age of peace.
Numerology, astronomy and astrology, nods and winks to friends — you'll find all these "secrets" and more if you investigate classical music.

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Previous Burning Taper articles:Previous Sacred Fems article:

The painting is of Johann Sebastian Bach.

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