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Puzzle canons, also known as riddle canons, are musical pieces in which some elements are hidden, usually one or more melodies.


Here is where I feature some composer, genre, or even a comparison with a related medum or art form.


For example, chess board canons, table (upside down) canons, a 14th-century palindrome canon, palindromic films, some collections of Bach's exquisite puzzle canons, examples by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schönberg and many more. 

Monthly puzzler


Since puzzle canons are, well, puzzles, what fun would it be not to allow you to try your hand at working out one of these? 


Solutions to the puzzles are posted at the end of the month.



Why a glossary? Because the tradition extends back in time so far and to so many places, and because the enigmata of the puzzles is an esoteric art drawing based on technical feats that are in some sense abstract, and whose names change through time, and because so many composers notated their puzzles in the lingua Franca of the time, Latin. They also mixed in the Greek terms that came down from Pythagoras, Aristotle and others into medieval music treatises and became part of the traditional terminology.



Frequently asked questions.

Links to more on the web

Here are a few more resources that have contributed to my appreciation and understanding of this phenomenon. Enjoy!

Tim Smith's Bach pages


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