How a Saxophonist Tricked the KGB by Encrypting Secrets and techniques in Songs

“When we arrived, we were being instantly pulled apart, and they went through every thing in our luggage, to the position of unwrapping Tampax. It was nuts,” suggests Goldberg, who is presenting about the working experience and her musical code at the RSA security meeting in San Francisco now. “With my new music, they opened it up and there ended up some serious tunes in there. If you’re not a musician, you wouldn’t know what’s what. They went webpage by web site by way of everything—and then they handed it back.”

Goldberg suggests that even though the code labored and Soviet officers didn’t confiscate their songs, they did interrogate all four travelers about what they planned to do while in the USSR. “We have been brought into a space with a massive burly guy who banged on the desk and yelled at us,” remembers Goldberg, now a songs schooling professor at California State College, San Marcos.

Musical be aware names span the letters A to G, so they don’t deliver a entire alphabet of possibilities on their own. To build the code, Goldberg assigned letters of the alphabet to notes in the chromatic scale, a 12-tone scale that features semi-tones (sharps and flats) to extend the possibilities. In some examples, Goldberg wrote only in just one musical assortment, identified as treble clef. In many others, she expanded the sign-up to be equipped to encode much more letters and included a bass clef to lengthen the assortment of the musical scale. These aspects and variations also included verisimilitude to her encoded new music. 

For figures, Goldberg would simply write them concerning the staves, in which often you may well see chord symbols. She also added other properties of composition, like rhythms (fifty percent notes, quarter notes, eighth notes, whole notes), vital signatures, tempo markings, and articulation indicators like slurs and ties. Most of these were there to make the songs look additional reputable, but some doubled as coded health supplements to the letters concealed in the music notes. She even often drew little diagrams that could be mistaken for charts to remind herself of wherever a conference location was positioned or how to produce a little something. 

Though somebody could technically have performed the code as tunes, it would have sounded much less like a tune and much more like a cat walking throughout piano keys.

“I picked a take note to get started, and then I developed the alphabet from there. After you know it, it finishes up getting really straightforward to create points. I taught my good friends on the excursion the code, far too,” Goldberg suggests. “We used it in buy to consider in people’s addresses and other details we would have to have to locate them. And we coded factors when we were there so we would be able to consider out some information about people and their endeavours to emigrate, as nicely as aspects we hoped could support other individuals talk to to leave.”

The US musicians obtained their bearings in Moscow right before heading to Tbilisi, the funds of Ga. There and on their next prevent in Yerevan, the funds of Armenia, they properly met customers of the Phantom Orchestra, a lot of of whom spoke some English, and put in time finding to know each and every other, actively playing tunes jointly, and even staging little, impromptu concert events.