This puzzle can be solved as puzzle on its own, but its solution is also part of Deusovi's Community Metapuzzle.

The Unfinished ________ Waltz

Above is the sheet music for the universally acclaimed "The Unfinished ________ Waltz", by renowned composer, Alconja (1763 – 1844). A deeply moving piece, to be sure, though sadly it remains incomplete...

...However, it has long been speculated, given Alconja's strange, non-standard notation, that there may be more information hidden within the composition than is superficially apparent. Of course, to be fair, some scholars downplay this, arguing that the red is simply emotive emphasis on Alconja's part, pointing to the bleak juxtaposition of haunting silence and the aggressiveness of the blood-red lines enraging the final passages in particular. That being said, the lyrics do seem to back up the former theory (even as they pull at the heart strings).

Perhaps an astute connoisseur of fine music, such as yourself, may actually be able to piece together the clues and lay the centuries of conjecture to rest. So, the question is: Can you finish the unfinished? Or more specifically, what is the missing word from the title of the song?

Note 1: All descriptive text is just flavour. The sheet music and lyrics are all you need.

Note 2: Very little, if any, actual musical knowledge is required for this puzzle. In fact, you can mostly think of the sheet music above in purely visual terms, with a fair bit of the notation being superfluous. However, here's the absolute basics of music theory, which may help in understanding things a little better:

  • This particular song is played in "3/4" time, which basically just means that there are three beats per "bar" (a group of notes, separated by the vertical lines)
  • Each horizontal line, and each gap between those lines, represents a uniquely pitched note
  • Notes are given lettered names from A to G, which repeat cyclically, though a given note is still different from it's similarly named sibling 7 notes higher/lower
  • The bottom line is E, the bottom gap is F, and so on, continuing up with G, A, B, C, D, E, making the top line another, different, F
  • A "rest" (represented by the squiggly lines) is effectively a silent pause for a single beat

Hints and Clarifications

  1. The two shades of red are only used to make it easier to tell exactly what is highlighted and to prevent neighbouring highlights from visually bleeding into each other. The important thing is if a line or gap is highlighted, not the shade of red (i.e. for the first bar, E3 and C4 are highlighted and the other notes are not, with no need to distinguish further).
  2. Solving this puzzle involves a couple of steps, and for the initial step(s), you can safely ignore the highlighting and concentrate on the song structure and the lyrics.

  • $\begingroup$ The music doesn't sound so relatively bad at all. Very moving indeed. $\endgroup$ Nov 21, 2016 at 3:10
  • $\begingroup$ So I dont know nothing, absolutely nothing(eg I dont understand anything of Note 2), about music except listening it - can I solve it ? $\endgroup$
    – user31076
    Nov 21, 2016 at 4:25
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ As a matter of naming convention, the stave goes from bottom to top E3, F3, G3, A3, B3, C4, D4, E4, F4 in case people don't want to overuse top and bottom. $\endgroup$
    – boboquack
    Nov 21, 2016 at 4:26
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ In case anyone's curious, this is what it sounds like. (And here's a version without the "drums" in the background.) $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Nov 21, 2016 at 5:06
  • 9
    $\begingroup$ @Deusovi - My god. It's so beautiful. I feel as though my soul has been torn from my body. $\endgroup$
    – Alconja
    Nov 21, 2016 at 5:14

3 Answers 3


If we continue from MMAdams' discovery (if you like anything in this answer, go upvote MMAdams'!) and

highlight cells in the Sudoku grid corresponding to notes falling on shaded lines/spaces in the music,

we get the following pattern:

C G e D A f B F E # # # A F E C B e D G f # # # D B f G F E e C A # # # # # e C D B E A F f G # # # E A B F f G C D e ----------------- F f G e D C A E B # # B E C A G D f e F # # # f e F E C B G A D # # # # G D A f e F E B C # # # #

where e.g.

in the first bar the shaded notes on the staff are C and e; the notes are C G e; so the first and third of those cells get marked. Another equivalent way to say this: for each note, transfer the shading (if any) on that note's line/space to the corresponding space in the Sudoku grid.

This, if you squint at it a bit, says


which also (note: the following contains a slightly spoilery conjecture about the metapuzzle)

has the necessary three syllables, not to mention lots of Roman numerals like the other things found so far that feed into the the metapuzzle.

  • $\begingroup$ Remark: If this is correct, I hope Alconja wlil give the +100 bounty to MMAdams rather than to me. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Nov 24, 2016 at 15:06
  • $\begingroup$ Can you give a little more detail on how the shading corresponds to your grid? I'm failing to see a relationship. $\endgroup$ Nov 24, 2016 at 18:06
  • $\begingroup$ oh, sorry, yes, I should have been more explicit. Hang on a second and I'll edit. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Nov 24, 2016 at 18:29
  • $\begingroup$ Does it make better sense now? $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Nov 24, 2016 at 18:31
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ That seems... un-Alconjian. $\endgroup$ Nov 24, 2016 at 19:27

Edit: I figured out the title I think!!!!

The Unfinished Sudoku Waltz

"Boxes of boxes"

Refers to the 9 boxes of 9 characters in a sudoku grid. There are 72 notes, 9 less than a Sudoku grid, plus, given the five lines of the staff and the four spaces between, we have nine notes total, e f A B C D E F G. (I used lowercase letters for the lower notes, for simplicity).

If you take all the notes given:

And put an empty line in the middle 'Between these two lines, hidden, silence must fall' means you put empty spaces there like you do anywhere else there is a rest. Then you get a sudoku grid that looks like this: (Edit: I fixed it! I had a G in the wrong place, oops, now it is solvable!)

C G _ D A f _ _ _
_ F _ C _ e D _ f
_ B _ G _ _ e C _
e C D B E _ _ _ G
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
_ _ G e _ _ _ E B
B E _ _ G _ _ _ F
_ e F E _ _ _ _ _
_ _ _ _ _ _ E _ _

Which solves to this:

C G e D A f B F E
A F E C B e D G f
D B f G F E e C A
e C D B E A F f G
E A B F f G C D e
F f G e D C A E B
B E C A G D f e F
f e F E C B G A D
G D A f e F E B C

I know my answer still isn't making use of the red markings, so I'm not sure this is right, but it was fun to do!
EDIT: Gareth McCaughan figured out the title was


by combining the marked notes with the sudoku grid (Thanks Gareth! And anyone else, go upvote his answer), so this question is long since solved, but I figured I'd make a musical version of the whole answer anyway, so here is what it looks like:

enter image description here

and here is what it sounds like (You will have to imagine the lyrics on your own since I do not think my roommate would appreciate me singing riddles in the middle of the night.)

Alconja, this was a super fun puzzle!

  • $\begingroup$ I don't think it's clear that we need to fill in the rests. Another possibility is that the rests are just to be ignored. (I don't think there need be a close correspondence between individual notes and the words/syllables beneath them.) $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Nov 21, 2016 at 16:33
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I can confirm that it's not "Sudoku". Still, I think you're on the right track! $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Nov 22, 2016 at 16:35
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ (My comment above is addressed to an older version of the answer.) It surely can't possibly be coincidence that this works out so neatly. I wonder what's up with the red markings. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Nov 22, 2016 at 16:41
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I've given Gareth the tick, obviously, since he got the final answer. But I'm giving you the (well deserved) bounty, since you solved the larger/harder part of the puzzle. $\endgroup$
    – Alconja
    Nov 26, 2016 at 4:22
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The sound-link is (no longer) working. Would be great if we could link to something with a bit more permance for the future... $\endgroup$
    – BmyGuest
    Dec 12, 2017 at 8:38

(Disclaimer: I know the final answer, and that's it. Alconja stated that that would not confer any advantage.)

Partial Answer Wild Guesses

There are exactly 32 notes in the piece. The lyrics say "square things away, there'll be no rest at all". 32 is not a square number, but it is suspiciously close to one. This may clue that we have to arrange the notes in a square.

Denoting high C, D, E, and F with capital letters and the rest lowercase, here's what one potential pattern looks like:

eC  eC
Db  Eg

This seems to satisfy "boxes of boxes", but "these two lines" doesn't seem to be satisfied here.

is another option. This makes two squares, and if four notes are added there, then we have 36 notes. Alternatively, ???? and DbEg can switch places: this places the missing notes at "there'll be no rest at all, between these two lines, hidden, silence must fall". This fits better with the lyrics at that point, but not "square away".

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @all - Just to back up deusovi's disclaimer, I can confirm that knowing the final answer will not help him in the slightest. $\endgroup$
    – Alconja
    Nov 22, 2016 at 7:00
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I suppose 32 could be the 5-D generalised cube (hyper-hypercube?)... if Alconja's being poetic $\endgroup$
    – boboquack
    Nov 22, 2016 at 7:39

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