[Images: Rosslyn Chapel, container of symphonies].
I meant to post this ages ago – at the beginning of the summer – but it slipped right by… So this isn’t exactly news, but I still love it: Scotland’s Rosslyn Chapel, world famous for its appearance in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, has apparently been hiding a fascinating secret, after all.
It turns out that “[a] father and son who became fascinated by symbols carved into the chapel’s arches say they have deciphered a musical score encrypted in them.”
From the website of Thomas J. Mitchell, who “decrypted” the music: “Rosslyn Chapel holds a musical mystery in its architecture and design. At one end of the chapel, on the ceiling are 4 cross-sections of arches containing elaborate symbolic designs on each array of cubes (in actual fact they are rectangles mostly). The ‘cubes’ are attached to the arches in a musically sequential way.”
In the over-ambitious application of a cryogenics metaphor, Mitchell says that the music has now “thawed out” to be understood – and heard – by people today. Being a composer, he also seems to have released the music on CD.
Whether or not there really is music encoded in the arches of Rosslyn, the implications of this are exciting.
Will someone detect, for instance, a thousand years from now, a symphony encoded in the runways at Heathrow? Or will the New York City subway system be reunderstood as a series of sub-terrestrial folk songs, themed around a chorus of transportation?
Or perhaps the International Space Station will be revealed after all as an étude of pressurized air tanks, awaiting its musical decryption; it is three-dimensional music, hovering in space.
(Thanks, Christopher! And happy birthday!)