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Listen To A Piece Of Music Hidden In A 511-Year-Old Hieronymus Bosch Painting
February 13, 2014
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The Garden of Earthly Delights

The Garden of Earthly Delights is one of the best-known works of the 16th-century Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch. The massive painting is split into three fantastical sections depicting the Garden of Eden, life on Earth and the torments of damnation in hell. It's the kind of artwork you can spend hours staring at — which is precisely what led one music and information systems student at Oklahoma Christian University to make a striking discovery. As the self-described "huge nerd" Amelia explained on her Tumblr,

[We] were looking at Hieronymus Bosch’s painting The Garden of Earthly Delights and discovered, much to our amusement, music written upon the posterior of one of the many tortured denizens of the rightmost panel of the painting which is intended to represent Hell.

So she did what any music student might do: she tried to figure out what that "600-years-old butt song from hell" might sound like. Working off the assumption that the second line on the staff represented the note C, she produced this rendering of the five-century-old piece:

Amelia's transcription may not be perfect — as she later explained, "I threw this together really quickly and I’m only a second-year music major." She's planning to take the score to her music department today to see whether her teachers can make any corrections.

The particular section of the painting, which you can see in the gallery above, is sometimes referred to as "Musicians' Hell," a condemnation of the corrupting, lustful influence that music can have on listeners. The corrupting influence of Amelia's discovery was pretty clear on Tumblr — her post now has more than 43,000 likes and shares, and even inspired a choral chant arrangement.

Via ChaosKampf


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