A few days ago my aunt passed away and left her inheritance. I feel like something is missing but I don't know what, she left this music score instead:


I can't read the musical notation: can you help me identifying what is missing from my aunt's inheritance?

Here is a transcription of the score in case someone wants to analyze it automatically. The text version is completely equivalent to the image above thus it is not needed to solve the puzzle. Each group of two item is a note followed by its duration (4=1/4, 8=1/8 and so on). Z is the pause, grouped notes are written in brackets. srep is for "start repeat" and erep is for "end repeat".

key signature: E (4 sharps: F# C# G# and D#)
time signature: 4/4
first line: F8 F8 F8 F8 {CF}8 F8 F8 F8 F8 B8 A8 G8 E8 srep F4 F8 C8 B4 A4 G4 G8 G8 B4 A8 G8 F4 F8 A8 G8 A8 G8 F4 F8 A8 G8 A8 G8 A8 erep
second line: Z2 B8 A8 G8 E8 srep F4 F8 C8 B4 A4 {GF}4 G8 G8 B4 A8 G8 F4 F8 A8 G8 A8 G8 F4 F8 A8 G8 A8 G8 A8 erep A8 A8 A8 A8 C8 C8 C8 C8 B8 B8 B8 B8 E8 E8 E8 E8

Progress confirmation

I won't give away hints for this puzzle because I think this is one of the best I created and I want to see if you can solve it without any external help.

In this section I'm just confirming the (true) things that have already been discovered by other solvers in the answers and comments.

The first reasonable step is to identify the song: @Bass guessed correctly that this is the coffin dance score, which is pretty ironical for my dead aunt.

There are some weird things going on in the score:
1. There are two extra notes in the score: a C# on measure 8 and an F# on measure 3.
2. The two lines of the score are swapped. Both @kristinalustig and @happystar guessed correctly that this indicates that something else needs to be swapped in order to find the solution. Something like this (in the revised answer) but the actual process is a little bit simpler.

  • $\begingroup$ rot13(Ner nyy gur abgrf pbeerpg? Fubhyqa'g gur frpbaq T# dhnire ba one 11 or na N#?) $\endgroup$ – marcellothearcane Jul 7 '20 at 15:05
  • $\begingroup$ rot13(Nyfb vf gur snpg vg fgnegf ba one ahzore 8 eryrinag?) $\endgroup$ – marcellothearcane Jul 7 '20 at 15:06
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @marcellothearcane I don't think so, although rot13(vg vf gehr gung fbzr bgure abgrf ner jebat). Also, rot13(gur snpg gung gur fpber fgnegf ng one rvtug vf qrsvavgryl eryrinag) $\endgroup$ – melfnt Jul 7 '20 at 20:21
  • $\begingroup$ Can we solve this just from the score without using the transcription? And vice versa? $\endgroup$ – chasly - supports Monica Jul 10 '20 at 0:05
  • $\begingroup$ @chaslyfromUK sure, the transcription is just a text version of the score in case someone wants to copy-paste it somewhere. What does "vice versa" mean? Whether you can use the transcription without solving the puzzle? I guess so... $\endgroup$ – melfnt Jul 10 '20 at 13:06

I have another idea, which doesn't fit all that well with the earlier one, so here's another answer:

The song is the

Coffin Dance

with the two lines of music swapped, so we have

Dance Coffin.

On the first line of music, there's a C (sharp) note that doesn't belong to the melody. We interpret that to mean that

"C doesn't belong in the first part". So we have "Dane Coffin"

Similarly, on the second line, there's an extra F (sharp), but this time it's a quarter note, which is twice as long as the eighth note earlier:

"Double length F doesn't belong in the second part", for "Dane Coin"

And finally, the key signature at the beginning of each line has a D#, which doesn't belong in F# minor, so

"D does not belong in the beginning",

which finally brings us to an item that would, by its nature, likely be missing from an inheritance even though it should be included:

an E-coin.

  • $\begingroup$ That's wonderful, even too much! The intended answer was rot13(qnar pbva - qnar nf va Qnavfu). Just explain how did you rot13(erzbir bar P naq gjb Sf hfvat gur fnzr ehyr) to get the checkmark! $\endgroup$ – melfnt Jul 24 '20 at 14:44
  • $\begingroup$ It would have been a lot easier to explain, had you used c¹ instead of c² in the music; now the best I can do is "remove all occurrences", I'm afraid. $\endgroup$ – Bass Jul 24 '20 at 17:29
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    $\begingroup$ It's simpler: maybe is it the case that there are rot13(npghnyyl gjb rkgen Sf engure guna whfg bar)? $\endgroup$ – melfnt Jul 25 '20 at 12:35
  • $\begingroup$ The intended reason to remove two Fs had to do with rot13(Ercrgvgvbaf) but your explanation fits as well, so congratulations for your green checkmark! $\endgroup$ – melfnt Aug 11 '20 at 8:40

Did she accidentally leave

the wrong key

for her flat?

Or did someone maybe

forge her signature?

Either reason would account for

the extra sharp key signature: Even though the notes match, the coffin dance melody is actually in F# minor, which has only 3 sharps.

(Probably not the correct answer, since neither reason quite explains the two extra notes in the music, nor why the first and second lines have been swapped. But with the chance to put all those music puns into an answer, it's not like that's going to stop me from posting this.)

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Lol very funny but not the intended answer. Look at the score a little bit more carefully $\endgroup$ – melfnt Jul 6 '20 at 2:00


I think the two extra notes are supposed to correspond to bar numbers: bar 3 = F sharp and bar 8 = C sharp. The fact both lines of music are in incorrect order suggests the 3 and 8 should be swapped - something like how different countries disagree on simple things like mmddyyyy vs ddmmyyyy :) After that I'm stuck :(


The song is Astronomia and Vicetone & Tony Igy. Let us start with ASTRO/NOMIA. The two rows of music are the wrong way round. Therefore we have NOMIA/ASTRO. The first row contains an extra C#. The second row contains an extra F#. Now we change it to CNOMIA/FASTRO The key signature is changed from A major to E major. Now we have CNOMIE/FESTRO. Fortunately I can play a mean game of Scrabble so it’s not hard to derive “INCOME FOREST”. I would prefer FOREST INCOME but then I can’t justify the swapping of both rows. Bobbins! (yes, I should probably stop binge-watching Cracking The Cryptic). My best guess is INCOME FOREST but I'm not 100% certain.

If that's the answer then congrats to OP for a fantastic puzzle. @Bass probably should deserve most of the +100 credit for identifying the score for Coffin Dance. In any case I will happily give back any credit if a neurosurgeon can get that rot13(shpxvat) song out of my head!

  • $\begingroup$ Nice try but it's something else that needs to be swapped rather than 3 and 8. $\endgroup$ – melfnt Jul 16 '20 at 7:06
  • $\begingroup$ The method you used in the revised answer is really really close to the one you have to apply to find the intended solution $\endgroup$ – melfnt Jul 18 '20 at 21:05

New answer:

The inheritance is missing:

A cafe

Here's why:

The eighth measure and the third measure both have an extra note added in. If you mirror those added notes on their respective lines (so, add a note in measure 6 in the 5th position and in measure 11 in the 1st position).

Once you've done that:

Go through each of them and find the corresponding letter for the measure as well as the letter for the position that the added letters are in. When you do that, you get H E K A C A F E. Which maybe is the name of the cafe?

  • $\begingroup$ That's a great answer too, but not the intended one. You identified the incorrect notes but you have to use them in another way $\endgroup$ – melfnt Jul 15 '20 at 17:51
  • $\begingroup$ @melfnt I tried rot13(fjvgpuvat nyy gur Sf sbe Pf naq nyy gur Tf sbe Sf, naq gura fcyvggvat gung hc rvgure ol zrnfher be va tebhcf bs 8, naq gura hfvat gur fubeg naq ybat abgrf gb vaqvpngr Zbefr pbqr, ohg jnfa'g noyr gb pbzr hc jvgu n erny jbeq. Nz V onexvat hc gur evtug gerr?) $\endgroup$ – kristinalustig Jul 16 '20 at 18:49
  • $\begingroup$ no sorry, keep trying. The actual procedure to find out what is missing is simpler. $\endgroup$ – melfnt Jul 16 '20 at 20:10
  • $\begingroup$ does it have to do with (pbzcnevat gur gbc naq obggbz gb frr jung'f qvssrerag orgjrra gurz?) $\endgroup$ – kristinalustig Jul 16 '20 at 22:16
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    $\begingroup$ no. inb4 "Comments are not for extended discussion..." you should know as a stackoverflow developer XD $\endgroup$ – melfnt Jul 17 '20 at 7:18

Did she forget to add a ledger?

ah. I think the image on my phone was distorted in a couple ways. for example, I couldn't see the "F line"? if that is what they call it... So I thought that the A,G#,A,G#,A in the 5th and 6th measures were High Cs...

  • $\begingroup$ Sorry I really can't understand this answer. What is the F line? And how did you derive the answer in the spoiler tag? $\endgroup$ – melfnt Jul 22 '20 at 18:43
  • $\begingroup$ @melfnt you have the staff for treble cleft... you have five lines and 4 gaps... the top line is the f line. If you dont have those lines for reference it changes how the notes are read. Do you read music? $\endgroup$ – Tod Jordan Jul 22 '20 at 18:52
  • $\begingroup$ In other words, my answer is wrong and the addition to my "spoiler" is why i was wrong $\endgroup$ – Tod Jordan Jul 22 '20 at 18:54
  • $\begingroup$ I definitely read the music, but what about the rot13(Yrqtre)? Don't worry about the wrong answer, try again and have fun! $\endgroup$ – melfnt Jul 22 '20 at 21:23

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