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If Interlude contains a cipher, no one has come forward with its solution, or even its nature. However, an S. enthusiast has consulted a professor of music theory who specializes in musical ciphers. This highly qualified and amazingly cooperative expert has been unable to identify any encrypton method in Interlude. Prof.Hi.Scale, as he wishes to be known, has not read the whole book, but he has read Interlude. He has found nothing resembling the kind of musical cipher he is familiar with (and creates).

However, Prof.Hi.Scale was very helpful in providing a possible starting point for the rest of us. He offers this observation about the “tumble of notes” FXC delimits in Footnote 5 (P. 307):

If you overlap the tumble of notes in the order of modes provided, you could generate a 21-element sequence (without repeating the final e) or 22-element sequence.

[E-phry] ‹B-loc›           «B-loc»
[E F(G A ‹B C {D E] F G) A «B› C D} [E F G A B» C D e]
    (G-mixo)  {D-dorian}            [E-phryg]       ^last note or wrap-around?

This interpretation is based on all of the modes sharing the same key signature. In this example they are all relatives of C major (or C Ionian).  All of the modal scales are created from circular permutations of the same 7 note sequence.  For example, E-Phrygian is formed by rotating a C major scale two steps to the left: E becomes the new starting note and C&D get rotated to the end.


As a different example, if you stayed with the same starting note, the scalar transformation through each mode would be like this:

1  2  3  4  5  6  7   Scale degree numbers
E  F  G  A  B  C  D   E Phrygian
E  F# G# A  B  C# D   E Mixolydian (change 2, 3, & 6)
E  F  G  A  Bb C  D   E Locrian (change 2, 3, 5, & 6)
E  F# G  A  B  C# D   E Dorian  (change 2, 5, & 6)
E  F  G  A  Bb C  D   E Locrian (change 2, 5, and 6)
E  F  G  A  B  C  D   E Phrygian (change 5)

In this case, scale degrees 1, 4, and 7 remain constant, the the other scale degrees nudge up or down depending on the mode. This could (theoretically) suggest some progressive shifting of a cipher key.


Yet another way to think about it: each modal scale is a pattern of half-step (1) and whole-step (2) intervals.

Phrygian = 1-2-2-2-1-2-2
Mixolydian = 2-2-1-2-2-1-2
Locrian = 1-2-2-1-2-2-2
Dorian = 2-1-2-2-2-1-2