The Da Vinci chapel echoes to sound of Saturn
2007-05-30 0:00

By Auslan Cramb |

* Video: Making the Rosslyn chapel stonework sing
* Video: Does the singing stonework theory work?

Rosslyn Chapel has been suggested as the resting place of the Holy Grail
As if there were not enough mysteries involving the medieval chapel that featured in The Da Vinci Code, the plot thickened further yesterday.

Rosslyn Chapel has, at one time or another, been suggested as the resting place of the Holy Grail, the Ark of the Covenant and even the mummified head of Christ.

Now cosmology has been added to this rich brew after the ornate symbols on its walls were likened to giant cloud formations photographed on Saturn.

The link was made by Stuart Mitchell, 41, a composer, who with his father Thomas, 75, a former RAF codebreaker, deciphered a musical score they believe was hidden in the 13 angel musicians and 213 cube-like shapes carved on the chapel arches.

After 27 years of research they cracked their code and, at the weekend, they staged the first public performance of the medieval music they found hidden in the carvings.

The piece, known as the Rosslyn Motet, is based on the deciphering of cube and hexagon-shaped symbols using an ancient musical system called cymatics, in which patterns are formed by sound waves at specific pitches.

The shapes appear when a note is used to vibrate a sheet of metal, or a sheet of glass covered in powder. Different frequencies produce patterns such as flowers, diamonds and hexagons. The hexagon features prominently in the chapel carvings.

Mr Mitchell and his father believe the tune was encrypted in the 15th century chapel outside Edinburgh because knowledge of music may have been considered heretical at the time.

Earlier this week, Mr Mitchell was preparing for the first performance when a Mexican astronomer telephoned him and told about the same hexagonal shape on Saturn.

The coincidence suggests a universal significance for the musical score, according to Mr Mitchell, even if the hexagon above Saturn is 15,000 miles across while the carvings are measured in inches.

The mysterious cube symbols on the 15th century walls [left] and the 15,000 mile hexagon photographed above Saturn
In musical terms, both shapes represent a B natural, suggesting to some that the planets may have their own musical score to be cracked.

"The shape matches right down to the detail," said Mr Mitchell. "The shape represents the B natural pattern in our code, and that is the first note of the Rosslyn Motet.

"Now we are starting to see that these symbols that everybody found so magical and unique are around us in a vast way. What we are seeing on our plane of existence we can now also see on a cosmic scale. It is one of the most amazing developments in this story.

"If the geometric figure in Rosslyn Chapel is produced by the same principles as is happening on Saturn - vibration and sound - then Saturn is literally singing a piece of music to us."

Mr Mitchell said that the shape on Saturn was like a humpback whale singing in the darkness of space. He added: "I find it propitious that the sudden interest in the Saturn Hex phenomenon should be at a time when my father and I have realised a composition we believe was ‘set in stone’ using this same science."

The hexagon above Saturn was detected 26 years ago, but was captured in its complete form for the first time earlier this year by Nasa’s Cassini Orbiter. A spokesman at the space agency said at the time that it was a "very strange feature".

Since it featured in The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown, visitor numbers at the chapel have rocketed. Stargazers may now be about to join those throngs of religious conspiracy theorists.

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