The Beat of the Code – A Ham Opera in CW-major…

Excellent analyses abound in the web about the use, intended or otherwise, of Morse code in music ( The same can be said about videos and audio recordings reproducing the sound of the Morse Alphabet ( However, I am not aware of any previous attempt to accurately represent the Morse code alphabet as a score on sheet music. Here is what I came up with:

The Beat of the Code

You can consider the above as a “music score” for associating the rhythm of each letter (as it sounds in Morse Code) with the most common sound of that letter to the human ear. However, this is not intended as a formal CW training method, but rather as a fun project.

Nevertheless, in theory, it may help the development of audible associations between the rhythm of a character in Morse Code and the sound it represents in common language, thus avoiding visual associations with dots and dashes that invariably lead to a slow progression in the ability to receive Morse Code. As such, it may work best if the name (or better the sound) of each letter is “sung” and repeated at each note while following the rhythm of the score. Thus, the “lyrics” was added below each note… This can be challenging for some letters (i.e. W, and X) so for these the sound can be improvised “ad libitum“…

For the sake of the rhythm I have kept all characters starting with a dash always starting at the initial “strong” beat of the measure, but those starting with dots followed by a dash, start at a “weak” beat at the end of the previous measure with their first dash coinciding with the initial “strong” beat in the following measure. An exception was made for characters composed by only dots (E, I, S and H), in which the first dot was made to coincide with the strong initial beat of the measure.

At all times on the score – contrary to other composers using Morse Code in their compositions… – I have meticulously respected the relative timing for dots (x1 duration unit), dashes (x3 duration units) as well as the spacing between them within a given character (x1 duration unit) and it adheres “to the dot” (pun not intended…) to “Recommendation ITU-R M.1677-2 (10/2009) of the International Telecommunication Union” (!!PDF-E.pdf).

In between successive characters the timing varies, as some characters are longer than others. However, I have adjusted the time signatures of the corresponding measures as needed, so that in between characters the silence separation was never below one beat, or equal or above two beats (except before the “period” in the coda).

The music score uses a single note (an “A”, in this case) as a close approximation to the sound in real CW. However, infinite variations, ornaments, melodies and chord- progressions are, of course, possible. The articulation, expression and all other interpretative parameters, I have opted for leaving them entirely at the creativity of the interpreter…


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