Glossary

As with any endeavor, there are special words, phrases or acronyms associated with the subject and AnagraMelodies is no exception. Here are the terms you will see used on this site and brief definitions for them (some are derived from entries in Wikipedia, others are from entries in Wiktionary):

  • Acronym:
    An abbreviation formed by (usually initial) letters taken from a word or phrase, which can sometimes also be pronounced as a word. Examples are laser, RAM, POTUS, RLE (qv).


  • Anagram:
    A word or phrase that is created by rearranging the letters of another word or phrase. For example, the word “silent” is an anagram of “listen”. Some AnagraMelodies (qv) include spaces in the rearrangement, more complex Variations (qv) allow the use of punctuation and numerals as well.


  • AnagraMelody (plural -ies):
    A portmanteau (qv) of Anagram and Melody. It is a puzzle consisting of a sequence of notes (a melody or tune) – that may or may not be tuneful to human ears – that allows a block of text (a phrase or sentence or even one or more paragraphs) to be converted into an anagram of itself, according to some reasonably straightforward rules.


  • Boustrophedon:
    A form of walk (qv) that alternates the direction of travel. For example, the reading direction changes from right-to-left to left-to-right with each new line.


  • Clue:
    In this context, a “clue” may be contained in either the title (qv) or subtitle  (qv) accompanying the score (qv), and may contain misdirection (qv). The nature of the clue varies between Variations (qv); some are purely textual, some are a mix of text and RLE (qv) strings. In general, the wording of some clues can be so strange as to virtually scream “this is a clue!”.


  • Element:
    In Mathematics, the individual items in a matrix (qv) are called its elements or cells.


  • Ledger Line(s):
    A ledger line (or sometimes leger line) is used in Western musical notation to notate pitches above or below the lines and spaces of the regular musical staff. A line slightly longer than the width of the note head is drawn parallel to the staff, above or below, spaced at the same distance as the lines within the staff.


  • Matrix:
    In Mathematics, it is a rectangular arrangement of numbers or terms having various uses such as transforming coordinates in geometry, solving systems of linear equations in linear algebra and representing graphs in graph theory. In this context it is the form underlying the musical score (qv) within which a given note on the staff (qv) acts as a placeholder for a cell or element (qv) within the matrix. The note’s vertical position on the staff (equivalent to an entry on the 12 note musical scale of A to G sharp, continuing over one or more octaves) equates to the matrix “row”  while the note’s position in the sequence of notes (the melody (qv)) equates to the matrix “column”.


  • Melody:
    A sequence of notes that makes up a musical phrase or tune (qv).


  • Metaphor:
    The use of a word or phrase to refer to something that it isn’t, invoking a direct similarity between the word or phrase used and the thing described, but in the case of English without the words “like” or “as”, which would imply a simile. In this context, the music notation acts as a metaphor for a matrix (qv). An element in a two dimensional matrix can substitute for the combination of a note on the staff (qv).


  • Misdirection:
    An act of misleading, of convincing someone to focus their attention in an incorrect direction. Clues may contain “misdirection”; for example, an anagram (qv) may be composed in such a way that it hints inaccurately at the content of the original text. Puzzles shouldn’t be too easy to solve!


  • Monophonic:
    In music, having a single melodic line and no harmony. Instruments that are monophonic are generally wind instruments – that is, they cannot play more than one note at a time, unlike string instruments, which are capable of also playing chords.


  • MRF:
    An acronym (qv) for Musical Rail Fence (qv).


  • Musical Rail Fence:
    A novel form of encryption devised by the author that combines properties of music notation (notes on the staff (qv)) and Rail Fence (qv) encryption. More often referred to simply as MRF (qv), it could have arisen at any time within the last few hundred years but does not appear to have done so (no evidence found to date). AnagraMelodies (qv) are a spin-off from MRF. See also the Copyright menu item on this page.


  • Portmanteau:
    In Linguistics, a word which combines the meaning of two words (or, rarely, more than two words), formed by combining the words, usually, but not always, by adjoining the first part of one word and the last part of the other, the adjoining parts often having a common vowel; for example, smog, formed from smoke and fog. In this context, the character in common in AnagraMelody (qv) is a consonant: “m”.


  • QV (as: qv):
    An acronym for the Latin phrase “quod vide” (“which see”; also the French phrase “qui vive” (which lives)). Usually follows the word or phrase to which it refers. In this context it means that the item to which it refers exists elsewhere in the same page or document. For example, the entry in this glossary for RLE uses the term “acronym”, which itself also appears in this glossary.


  • Rail Fence:
    The Rail Fence cipher (also called a zigzag cipher) is a form of transposition cipher. It derives its name from the way in which it is encoded. It is written in one direction and then read orthogonally. In this context an anagram of the original text is written to follow the melody (qv) and then read off rail by rail. In an AnagraMelody, this has the effect of decoding the message.


  • RLE:
    An acronym (qv) for Run Length Encoding (qv).


  • Run Length Encoding:
    A very simple form of data compression in which runs of data (that is, sequences in which the same data value occurs in many consecutive data elements) are stored as a single data value and count, rather than as the original run. In this context, the data value is assumed from the relative position of the count.


  • Score:
    One or more parts of a musical composition in a format indicating how the composition is to be played. In this context it is a representation of the map of one anagram to another expressed using music notation as a metaphor for a two-dimensional matrix (qv).


  • Staff (plural: Staves):
    A series of horizontal lines on which music notation is written. The singular is staff, the plural is staves (staff is declined like dwarf (plural: dwarves), roof (rooves), hoof (hooves). Notes that lie well outside the staff (above or below) are placed on fragments of staff lines called “ledger lines” (qv).


  • Subtitle:
    In this context, refers to the second line of text that accompanies an AnagraMelody (qv).


  • Symbols:
    The simpler Variations (qv) of AnagraMelody (qv) work only with letters of the alphabet and spaces, but more complex Variations may utilize punctuation, numerals, and special characters (especially for languages other than English). It is easier to refer to the more complex sets of characters as “symbols”.


  • Title:
    In this context, refers to the first line of text that accompanies an AnagraMelody (qv).


  • Tune:
    A synonym for Melody (qv).


  • Variation:
    Something a little different from others of the same type. In this context, there are several Variations of the basic concept underlying the AnagraMelody (qv) musical puzzle, each increasing in level of difficulty with regard to the degree of analysis and deduction required to reach a solution.


  • Walk:
    The process by which an AnagraMelody (qv) is “read” in order to arrive at a solution. The reading process only begins once the clue has been identified, processed, and written beneath the melody/tune (qv) so that the correspondence between a note and an associated letter can be obtained. A walk may be one of several (maybe even many) possible paths to follow through the melody/tune in order to read the notes in the order necessary to reach a solution. See also Boustrophedon (qv).