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John Wilkins' «Musical Alphabet»

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  • John Wilkins, afterwards Bishop of Chester, in 1641 circulated an anonymous essay entitled "Mercury, or the Secret and Swift Messenger".
    In this little volume, which was largely derived from the more voluminous treatises of Trithemius and Selenus, the author sets forth a method whereby musicians can converse with each other by substituting musical notes for the letters of the alphabet.
  • "Mercury, or the Secret and Swift Messenger", John Wilkins, 1641.

    "If the Musicall instrument that is used to this purpose, be able to according to their different Tones, but their Times also; then may each Letter of the Alphabet be rendered by a single sound."
  • "Mercury, or the Secret and Swift Messenger", John Wilkins, 1641.

    “Where the 5 Vowels are represented by the Minnums on each of the five Lines being most of them placed according to their right order and consequence: only the letters K. and Q. are left out, because they may be otherwise expressed.”

    Two persons understanding the code could converse with each other by merely playing certain notes upon a piano or other instrument.
    Musical ciphers can be just a simple impossibility�they can conceal a cryptogram without changing a composition in any way.

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