Can you help my friend figure out how the message below from her long-lost uncle indicates anything?
(I should mention here: The actual message was lost, and the text below is the best that could be reconstructed.)
La-Fa-Sol-Do-Re Ti-Fa-Sol-Do-Re Ti-Ti-Do-Sol-Mi-Re Sol-Do-Do-Mi-Sol Sol-Ti-La-Fa-Mi-Re-Mi-Re Ti-Fa-Sol-Do-Re La-Ti-Do-Fa-Mi-Re Fa-La-Ti-Mi-Sol Sol-Ti-La-Fa-Mi-Re-Mi-Re Mi-Mi-Sol-Mi-Sol La-Ti-Do-Sol-Mi-Re Fa-Do-Ti-Mi-Sol Sol-Do-Mi-Re Do-Mi-Re La-Fa-Sol-Do-Re Sol-Ti-La-Fa-Mi-Re-Mi-Re (I write music here.)
Here is the complete story behind the message - which you may or may not need to know to solve this puzzle:
My friend's father, Joseph, had a brother named Francis. They inherited their father's business of dealing in electronic hardware. Although both were trained in the skills required to run the business, Francis was always more interested in becoming a musician.
He was talented and passionate, but also aggressive and ruthless. He soon rose to a peak in his musical prowess, but at the expense of destroying the careers of those who came in his way, thus making a lot of enemies. One night, he learnt that his enemies were hatching a plot to involve him in "an accident". Fearing for his life, he fled the country with all his money, and was never heard from again.
Over the years that followed, Joseph missed Francis and grew sentimentally attached to the items that Francis had left behind. After he retired, he studied a little bit of music himself, so that he could learn to play some of Francis's compositions from the sheets of music that he had written.
One day, he received a letter signed by Francis and clearly in his handwriting. It was immediately evident to Joseph that the message was composed of a series of musical notes. The last line clearly said, "I write music here." (At that time, my friend was studying in another city; so she never saw the actual message, she only knows what her father later told her.)
Joseph tried playing the notes on a keyboard, hoping that the tune led to a song or something which would somehow be an indicator of where Francis was. But to his dismay, the tune was completely unrecognizable. He made a recording of it and took it to a couple of Francis's old friends, but they couldn't relate it to anything either. At some point, the original message was lost, and only the recording remained.
Some months ago, Joseph died, leaving everything - including this mystery - to my friend. We discussed the puzzle, and came to the conclusion that the only way left to figure it out was to publish it for others to take a look at. With the help of another friend who knew a little bit about music, the notes from the recording were transcribed and the original message reconstructed.
The result, and the challenge, now lie before you.
P.S. Having heard the recording enough times, and from Joseph's failed efforts, we're guessing that you don't actually have to play and listen to the notes. Perhaps it's more like a cipher? But neither of the brothers was a cryptographer, so it would have had to be something pretty straightforward.
My friend is out on a tour, but sent me a brief e-mail yesterday: She said that she just realized that something in the whole sequence of events doesn't make any sense. I'm hoping to learn more when she gets back. Do you see something amiss in the story?
Finally met my friend today and this is what she had to say: Presumably, Uncle Francis encoded the message so that it would be safe even if it fell into his enemies' hands. But they were the experts in music, not Joseph; in fact, Francis had no clue that Joseph learnt to read music later. So why on earth would he choose music of all methods?
Another update (kind of):
While cleaning up Joseph's old stuff we found something interesting: A digital alarm clock which plays its alarm in three different tunes. And turns out that it's something the brothers built together when they were in school. We were so sure that this would be the missing link! Sadly, the tunes are all simple stock melodies with no connection to the message, and there's nothing else special about the clock.