Several weeks before final exams were to commence, the enigmatic Dr. Noteworthy issued a challenge to their music theory students.

"Each year, I like to test my senior students with a brain teaser," began a flier on the prof's office door. "Most of you know that I don't travel too much, but let's ignore that for now! I pose a simple question to you:

Question: who is my favorite composer?"

Underneath the highlighted question was what appeared to be a travel log, of sorts.

"All I will provide are excerpts from my travel notes. Vexing, isn't it?

"Extra credit will not be provided, unfortunately, so don't let this distract you too much from your practicing and coursework. Remember to provide clear evidence for your answer!"

The log, titled Adventures in the 50 States [Note: This is a series of excerpts; breaks are denoted by horizontal rules]:

Peoria, IL

Today feels like the perfect day to start a travel log! And not a bad day it was! Had a great time at the zoo with Jason! Best part was seeing the twin pandas (so cute!) Worst part was the creepy staring giraffes — it’s like they could sense us coming from a mile away.

High Point, NC

It’s so nice to be back home, away from the people and the hustle and the bustle of my many travels. Nothing to do but relax in a comfy chair, crank Beethoven’s Sonata in A Major, and just listen deeply...

Chicago, IL

Enjoyed an absolutely marvelous performance of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata! Only real bummer of the night was the massive crowd — not a fan!

Charlotte, NC

Jason insisted we visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame...ok, sure, why not? Not my cuppa’ tea, but hey, it was fun to see him geek out at the Rusty Wallace exhibit.

Metropolis, IL

I thought I heard there were superheroes here...Batman and Robin? No, I was mistaken! My apologies to comic book fans everywhere.

Albany, NY

My word, what a day! I thought I was gonna die waiting in line in the store, having to listening to the tripe they play over the speakers, but little did I know I would nearly do it for real after walking into the path of a bus on my way out! Luckily, I was stopped in my tracks by a nearby Buddhist monk! I thanked my noble hero and wished him well as he continued on his path.

Dayton, OH

I love fireworks and bands! Crowds weren’t so bad, I guess.

New York City, NY

My first trip to the Big Apple, and hopefully my last! SO MANY PEOPLE HERE! Anyway, funny story: dropped into a record store looking for an authentic New York group for the sake of a souvenir. Asked about Frankie Valli’s notorious troupe only to learn I was thinking of the wrong state! Embarrassing, to say the least, but hopefully I can read this and laugh about it later. Or maybe I’ll just cringe.

High Point, NC

I’m so happy!! My favorite cousin made it back from her trip to Norway! I love her to pieces...even though she made fun of my new glasses (I think they make me look even more studious, so...)

Springfield, IL

It was fun checking out the capital buildings even though I didn’t leave enough time to see everything in the Lincoln museum; I’ll have to come back someday to check out the rest of it.


 1. Who is the prof's favorite composer?
 2. Name a city where the professor could have traveled next.

Hint #1 (Starting hint #1):

Pitch classes can be represented by integers:

C -> 0
C#/Db -> 1
D -> 2
G#/Ab -> 8
A -> 9
A#/Bb -> t
B -> e

Hint #2 (Starting hint #2):

It’s not Beethoven.

Hint #3:

There is an additional clue embedded in the puzzle's intro. Have you come across it yet?

Hint #4:

You know, despite titling the travel log "Adventures in the 50 States", the prof doesn’t seem to have visited very many. They also appear to complain about people a lot…

Hint #5:

Today feels like the perfect day to start a travel log!

Why might this have been? Perhaps the giraffes know something that we don’t...

Hint #6:

Months and days do not matter, except for two dates. One of those two dates also includes a significant year; the remaining years in the log are somewhat arbitrary and will not help you reach the answer.

Hint #7:

Have you found a sequence of numbers? How about another one? You'll need both in order to answer both questions, as they correspond with one another.

Hints #1 and #6 are meant to help you find one sequence. Hints #3, #4, #5, and #6 should help you get the other.

So, if Hint #1 discusses pitch, then maybe the other sequence pertains to...

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  • $\begingroup$ Should we assume that these are the only excerpts, or could there be more that would be helpful to finding the solution, but are not listed? $\endgroup$ – Bewilderer Nov 4 '19 at 21:42
  • $\begingroup$ There could be more, but rot13(abar fubhyq rkvfg orgjrra gur oernxf lbh frr urer. Gurl jbhyq nyy or qngrq yngre guna gur svany ragel lbh pheeragyl frr.) $\endgroup$ – CGreen Nov 4 '19 at 22:00
  • $\begingroup$ The dividing lines mostly correspond to the divisions between months. Is it deliberate that there is no dividing line between June and July? $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Nov 12 '19 at 22:15
  • $\begingroup$ rot13(Gur ynpx bs n oernx va gung cbfvgvba jnf abg n zvfgnxr, ohg gur punatr bs zbagu vf fbzrjung neovgenel. Cyrnfr frr gur (arjyl nqqrq) fvkgu uvag.) $\endgroup$ – CGreen Nov 12 '19 at 22:27
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Good grief, I hope it's not this puzzle that's kept you up that late! :O At any rate, I will post another hint. I hope the road to the solution wasn't made too obscure... $\endgroup$ – CGreen Nov 15 '19 at 2:58

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