NSA Cryptography & Musical Encryption

I was listening to the StarTalk podcast where Neil DeGrasse Tyson interviews Edward Snowden (September 17, 2015). Encryption is one of the topics that is discussed.

There is the standard use of passwords and keys to lock and unlock date across the internet. But other layers or dimensions (such as location) can be added to the encryption.

Location is three dimensional using axes X,Y, & Z. The user has to be at a specific location to use the password or see the data. Time is the fourth dimension where you have to be at the X,Y,Z coordinates at a specific time.

What about adding another layer where the user has to enter a musical – and specifically rhythmic – code? Music in encryption is not a novel idea. In the TV show, LOST, Charlie has to enter a melodic code on a numeric keypad.

Rhythmic encryption could be a 5th dimension of cryptography. So when the user is at a specific location at the specified time, a rhythm such as this example is tapped out.

Cryptography Sample


Not secure enough? What about adding a phase changing rhythm similar to Steve Reich’s Clapping Music. In this classic minimalist piece one musician claps the rhythm  below while the second performer has the same rhythm that shifts to the left by one eighth note. This shifts the performers from in phase to being out of phase by varying degrees.

Clapping Music theme:

Clapping Music


Not only could the specified rhythm shift in relation to a variable such as the day of the week but it could also shift in a way similar to a metric modulation. We could take the rhythm based on eighth notes, phase shift it, but the next week it modulates to a triplet based rhythm.


Cryptography Phasing


#NSA #Cryptography #MusicalEncryption

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