Oklahoma Christian University student gets to the bottom of song hidden in painting

Oklahoma Christian University honors student Amelia Hamrick discovered a song hidden in a more than 500-year-old painting.
BY KYLE SCHWAB kschwab@opubco.com Published: February 14, 2014

Sitting at the piano in the Adams Recital Hall at Oklahoma Christian University, honors student Amelia Hamrick performed a 27-second piece of music Friday that she discovered on a more than 500-year-old painting.

And if that wasn't fascinating enough, the sheet music wasn't simply written on paper but across the posterior of one of the painting's inhabitants.

After learning about the painting, Hieronymus Bosch's “The Garden of Earthly Delights,” in a humanities class last year, Hamrick was infatuated with it, looking at it from time to time.

“It's kind of like a 500-year-old ‘Where's Waldo,'” Hamrick said. The painting is a triptych — broken up into three sections — depicting God with Adam and Eve, debauchery on Earth and lastly hell.

After viewing the painting again with a friend on Tuesday night, they noticed the backside with the musical notes. Hamrick spent a half-hour transcribing it into modern notation, and then posted the recording on her blog where it began to get a lot of traffic; probably because of the unofficial name she gave the song.

“I feel like ‘The 500-Year-Old Butt Song from hell' is a pretty funny name, but it's not the most academic,” she said. “That's literally what it is, but in retrospect, I probably should have chosen a little more dignified of a name.”

OC officials think Hamrick has done something special. In a news release by the university, Hamrick “appears to have unlocked a 500-year-old musical mystery.”

Oklahoma Christian University


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