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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 November 2007, 15:39 GMT
Music 'hidden' in Last Supper art
detail of The Last Supper
The painting's loaves of bread allegedly correspond to notes
A computer technician has claimed to have cracked a real Da Vinci code, by finding musical notes encoded in the masterpiece The Last Supper.

Leonardo Da Vinci left clues to a 40-second musical composition in his painting, Giovanni Maria Pala said.

Each loaf of bread in the picture represents a note, he said, which combine to sound "like a requiem".

Alessandro Vezzosi, director of Tuscany's Da Vinci museum, said the theory was "plausible".

The 15th century painting depicts Jesus' last meal with the 12 Apostles before his arrest and crucifixion.

'Emphasises passion'

Mr Pala found that by drawing the five lines of a musical staff across the painting, the loaves of bread on the table and the hands of Jesus and the Apostles could each represent a musical note.

The notes make sense musically when the resulting score is read from right to left, following Da Vinci's own writing style, Mr Pala said in his book La Musica Celata (The Hidden Music).

The result is a 40-second "hymn to God" which Mr Pala described as "like a soundtrack that emphasises the passion of Jesus".

Mr Vezzosi, director of the Museo Ideale in the painter's home town Vinci, said that while Da Vinci was noted for his paintings, sculptures and inventions, he was also a musician.

"There's always a risk of seeing something that is not there, but it's certain that the spaces (in the painting) are divided harmonically," he said.

"Where you have harmonic proportions, you can find music."

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