Big Finish

Here’s one way to end a composition: Johann Jakob Froberger’s Suite II in C major, Lamento sopra la dolorosa perdita della Real Msta di Ferdinando IV, Re de Romani, ends with a picture of the clouds of heaven welcoming the soul of Ferdinand IV as it climbs up a scale of three octaves.

It was written to lament the death of the King of the Romans in 1654. Elsewhere Froberger had marked the fatal fall of lutenist Charles Fleury down a flight of stairs with a descending scale of two octaves. Perhaps he was just very literal-minded.

(From Wilfrid Hodges, “The Geometry of Music,” in John Fauvel et al., Music and Mathematics, 2006.)