From the Author
Part of my fascination with this method of ciphering stems from my love of music. I've studied both voice and piano--mainly jazz-- and I appreciate the mathematical complexity of music. Coding a message into a song's musical score or the song lyrics requires a great deal of creativity and presented a tremendous challenge as I plotted the story. While researching period opera singers, such as Mrs.Elizabeth Billington, I discovered that operas were written for singers to show off their voices and allowed for improvisation. That would certainly have made it easy for musicians and performers to send coded messages to specific individuals!
Early examples of musical cryptography include Baroque composers who wove their names or the names of significant individuals into musical selections.The application found popularity with those engaging in espionage, due to the difficulty in breaking musical codes. Other examples of musical coding can be found in the songs of American slaves. Negro spirituals provided a means of communication for those who wanted to escape slavery; references to "going home" or "bound for Canaan" didn't signify death and heaven but heading north to Canada and freedom.
In 2013, InternationalScience Times featured a story that suggested a musical score written by composer Gottfried Federlein contained annotations that secretly documented the location of buried Nazi treasure.
One online web site reports a number of "creepy spy radio transmissions" that feature suspected musical clues and/or codes broadcast over shortwave radios. This practice began around the time of WWI and continues today.
A special thank you to my friend and music composer Greg Bartholomew, who shared his expertise with me on this topic. When Daisies Pied is an example of a piece of music ladies would have sung during the Regency period.