So, a few days ago I told James the answer to his riddle. He seemed at the same time proud of me and a bit disappointed... I guess he thought it would take longer to solve! "It seems the witch's hex and Bacon for breakfast weren't such subtle clues then!", he said. I felt then these puzzles were only starting...

Lately, James has been introducing me to some Classical music. We have very similar tastes in music, and very different from most other kids, and so we always talk to each other about it. Recently we both started taking music classes, and right now we're learning some theory. So when I got a text from him simply saying "what does this say", and a little later a picture, I wasn't so surprised.

This time, I'm pretty sure I actually got the answer! After the last puzzle, I've been reading up on codes and cyphers and it paid off nicely.

Can you determine what message is encoded in the following picture?


Hint 1:

Feel the rhythm

Hint 2:

This sentece may be of importance: I've been reading up on codes and cyphers

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Hm... my first idea was Morse code but that doesn't seem to produce anything useful. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Commented Oct 24, 2015 at 22:49
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ The measures don't all add up to 4 beats. The 5th in the first line and 3rd in the second line both have an extra half beat, and the last in the first line is half a beat short. $\endgroup$
    – f''
    Commented Oct 24, 2015 at 23:53
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Yeah, I guess James messed up on that. He didn't even write the time signature! But as far as I can tell those mistakes don't really matter when it comes to solving the puzzle. $\endgroup$
    – Gabriel G
    Commented Oct 24, 2015 at 23:58

3 Answers 3


To start, a big shout-out to JNF for getting me most of the way there. (If you upvote me, please upvote them as well!)

Step one:

Morse code. Quarter note = dash, eighth note = dot, rest = space.

Step two:

The key (chuckle chuckle, well done Gabriel G) is D major, so I tried a Vigenère cipher with the key "dmajor".

Therefore the encoded message is

Wait for the encore

  • $\begingroup$ That's it, well done! $\endgroup$
    – Gabriel G
    Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 18:27
  • $\begingroup$ Good job :-) I was a step away. Vgn indeed $\endgroup$
    – JNF
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 7:44
  1. I started out with

morse code - whole for -, half for . and break for break.
I got:

  1. Then I figured

The key is D (having C# and F#), so I tried implying ceaser's 3 forward and 3 backward. The second attempt gave:

  1. Noticing that

There are 2 lines of notes with 8 letters each I tried the rail-fence cipher
which gave:

Which seems pretty reasonable, though I still might be missing something...

  • $\begingroup$ Very close! But is the key simply D? $\endgroup$
    – Gabriel G
    Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 15:43
  • $\begingroup$ Well, Dmaj. I'll try to think that in. $\endgroup$
    – JNF
    Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 16:23

Map Full note to 1

Map Half note to 0

Binary to Ascii coversion


HTML Codes to Ascii

Ì © T


  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Hi. When you start getting byte ranges above 128, and other horrible things, it usually indicates you are on the wrong track. And in this context, the string Ì©T has no meaning; typically when you get the correct answer for a puzzle it will be obvious (getting a full sentence as an answer) and relevant to the flavor text. Considering this I don't think you're on the right track. $\endgroup$
    – Tryth
    Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 10:11
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, this isn't right. But you are right in doing more than one step to get to the answer! $\endgroup$
    – Gabriel G
    Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 11:10

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