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date: 10 April 2021

Cryptography, musicallocked

  • Eric Sams


Cryptography (‘secret writing’) includes any method of masking a message. Sometimes the act of communication is itself concealed, for example by the use of invisible ink. More commonly, an overt message is disguised by code or cipher. In code an arbitrary assemblage of letters or numbers is assigned some specific meaning, or an ordinary word or phrase may be allotted some quite different significance. In cipher, the letters of a message are systematically transformed, either by changing their order or by replacing them with other letters or symbols. Both code and cipher principles can facilitate communications as well as conceal them, as for example in the Morse code (strictly a cipher) and in the invention of artificial languages. All these procedures are akin to some aspects of music. Thus ‘key’ is a basic common concept, while pitch and rhythm have evident semantic application. Indeed, music has often been conceived and described as a communication intelligible only to the initiated, which is precisely what language-structures in general and cryptograms in particular are designed to be....

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