The Song of the Pied Piper

"The Song of the Pied Piper" is a mythical song, which all human beings supposedly hear before they die. 

The earliest mention of this song can be seen on an Egyptian heiroglyph, circa 1300 BC, which depicts a dying man with the symbol for music around his head. 

Stories about this legendary song have been told in all continents. Ancient Chinese scrolls have described some sort of "soft music with a lot of bells" that accompany a person who travels to the afterlife. An ancient Ashanti folktale tells about a dead person "crossing over to the other side, to the sound of a thousand drums." A pre-Hispanic Filipino legend also speaks of a song that causes death upon all who hear it. An old Viking legend also mentions a death song, but describes it as full of "horns and wailing women". Roman Catholic lore, on the other hand, often describes a soul's entrance to the gates of heaven as accompanied by the "music of a choir of angels." Of course no one who has heard the song has lived to describe it in detail. 

The earliest attempt to transcribe this song was in 1711, by Austrian composer Leopold Franz van Alsberg. Van Alsberg was said to be beside his father's deathbed, when the father suddenly spoke in a barely audible voice, "What lovely music I hear!" The father, who was also a composer, was able to hum a few bars of the song before slowly going off to his eternal sleep, and Van Alsberg was able to transcribe these few bars. Van Alsberg was supposed to use these few bars as a take-off point for a full opera as tribute to his father, and was tentatively titled "Das Lied des Pfeifers", or "The Song of the Pied Piper". However, not a single note was added to the song, since Van Alsberg succumbed to tuberculosis the winter following his father's death. The original sheet music transcribed by Van Alsberg is currently in the International Museum of Music, and was for the longest time thought to be an original piece composed by Van Alsberg. 

This legendary death song only became known officially as "The Song of the Pied Piper" in 1912. British opera star Linda Delaney, then eighty-seven (87) years old, told her sister one morning, "Do you hear that song? So lovely." She began humming the song all day, and one of her friends, Gordon Copeland, a former student of hers, happened to hear her humming it. Copeland asked her, "Is that Van Alsberg's 'Song of the Pied Piper' you're singing?" To which Delaney replied, "I don't know, I've just been hearing it in my head all day." And that same night, Linda Delaney died of cardiac arrest, and the story of the piper's song spread throughout the music circles of Europe. 

Modern technology has slowly revealed that the fabled piper's song may in fact actually exist. The advent of Sensory Autopsy, developed by Swiss techno giant Technochos, has enabled science to get a glimpse of what the five human senses experience prior to death. The famous Sensory Autopsy Report, one of the first documented reports in Canada, actually revealed the existence of unmistakeable music heard just minutes before the subject's death. This music was isolated and recorded (though of poor quality), but was identified to be exactly the same song as Leopold Franz van Alsberg's "The Song of the Pied Piper", although a bit slower in tempo. Nevertheless, this finding was the first shred of scientific evidence that "The Song of the Pied Piper" is not a myth after all. And until today, scientific research is still being conducted on this subject, with all researchers hoping for the holy grail, which is to hear "The Song of the Pied Piper" in its entirety, and live to tell the tale.

See also: Death; Delaney, Linda; Legends; Myths; Van Alsberg, Leopold Franz

Sting Lacson

A writer. By degree and by profession. Also strongly advocates ten-finger typing to all writers because that's what you do for a living, so be efficient at it.

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My Literary Side

"The Words come from the Divine; from the Muse the Idea. The Poet merely transcribes." ┼Old Sumerian proverb

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