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dnlsanta
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Elgar's Enigma Breakthrough

1. Elgar's Enigma Variations (EV) written in 1898 were about his circle of friends. Pi is a constant in all circles. Pi is the circumference divided by its diameter.

2. Pi is usually approximated as 3.142 as a decimal, or 22/7 as a fraction.

3. The first four notes of EV are scale degree 3-1-4-2, decimal Pi.

4. There is a drop of a seventh in bars 3 and 4.

5. These two sevenths follow exactly after the first 11 notes. ie: 11 x 2/7 = 22/7, fractional Pi. (The first seven bars may be viewed by clicking on the site below.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Enigma_theme.png

6. Elgar wrote EV in the year following the Indiana Pi Bill of 1897 which attempted to legislate the value of Pi. This humorous incident was widely ridiculed and Elgar was fond of such japes/jokes.

7. In a program note for the 1899 first performance, Charles A. Barry rendered Elgar's own words:

The Enigma I will not explain - its 'dark saying' must be left unguessed, and I warn you that the connection between the Variations and the Theme is often of the slightest texture; further, through and over the whole set another a larger theme 'goes', but is not played.... So the principal Theme never appears, even as in some late dramas ... the chief character is never on the stage.

8. Elgar's dark saying could be, Four and twenty blackbirds (dark) baked in a Pie (Pi). Within the first six bars there are exactly Four and twenty black notes (with wings as ties/slurs) baked in a Pi.

9. Theme in the literary sense is the central concept or idea of a work. Pi fits the second hint as the Theme which never appears, although the melody based on Pi is heard throughout. Pi would also fit the third hint, So the principal Theme never appears, even as in some late dramas ... the chief character is never on the stage. Obviously Pi is never on the stage.

10. Elgar often said that the enigma was

Elk
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Re: Elgar's Enigma Breakthrough

Fun!

I like the play on words of the ninth variation, "Nimrod." Written for his friend and editor August Jaeger. Jaeger is German for hunter. In Genesis, Nimrod is a great hunter.

(We now think of a nimrod as less than clever. Bugs Bunny facetiously referred to Elmer Fudd's misguided attempts to shoot him with "poor little Nimrod." Bugs was mocking his hunting. The power of cartoons.)

dnlsanta
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Re: Elgar's Enigma Breakthrough

I took the name Nimrod since I was hunting for the solution to Elgar's enigma. Nimrod knew the solution but he would not tell Dorabella although she tried to get him to reveal it.
Jaeger was the one who Elgar directed to write the word ENIGMA on the original score. He wrote it centered over the second/third bars which happens to be the middle of the fractional Pi. 11notes x 2/7 all happens in the first four bars.

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Re: Elgar's Enigma Breakthrough


Quote:
I think there is no doubt that this is the enigma solution! What do YOU think?

I am more convinced by the late Denis Stevens' suggestion that the hidden them was the rising statement from "Rule Britannia": http://www.stereophile.com/musicrecordings/175/ .

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

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Re: Elgar's Enigma Breakthrough


Quote:

I am more convinced by the late Denis Stevens' suggestion that the hidden them was the rising statement from "Rule Britannia": http://www.stereophile.com/musicrecordings/175/ .

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Thank you for your comment. I am troubled by Stevens lack of addressing Elgar's 1929 comments which were most likely additional hints/confirmation. Why else would Elgar write such trite comments about his music which had been performed thousands of times around the world if it were not to leave confirmation of his enigma solution? Could it just be coincidence that each sentence can be related to fractional Pi, 22/7?

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Re: Elgar's Enigma Breakthrough

One of my online friends observed another Pi in Elgar's enigma. He released his 1929 hints/confirmation of Pi (22/7) with the issuance of his Pianola (Pi-anola) rolls. Could this be a coincidence or one more link in the enigma chain??

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Re: Elgar's Enigma Breakthrough

dnlsanta
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Re: Elgar's Enigma Breakthrough

The Pi solution (Solving Elgar's Enigma)is in the latest edition of Current Musicology published by Columbia University.

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