by Junhao Cai

This podcast tells the story of the Dorabella Cipher, a well-known unsolved cipher in the history of cryptography, and its creator, the English composer Edward Elgar. Focusing on its origin, cryptographic nature and cryptanalysts’ attempts to decipher it, the episode explores all the aspects of the cipher. Also, the famous composer is briefly introduced, and the cipher’s connections to the Enigma Variations, one of his musical works, are discussed.

For more information:

Read the well-written article on this site to know other decipherments:…the-unbreakable-code


Kahn, D. (1967). The Codebreakers: The Story of Secret Writing. New York, NY: The
Macmillan Company.

Roberts, T. S. (2014). Solving the Dorabella Cipher [PDF document]. Retrieved from:

Macnamara, M. (2013). The Artist of the Unbreakable Code [Web log]. Retrieved from:…the-unbreakable-code

Sams, E. (1970). Elgar’s Cipher Letter to Dorabella. The Musical Times, Vol. 111. Retrieved from:

Pelling, N. (2012). Dorabella Cipher [Web log]. Retrieved from:…orabella-cipher

Kile, J. (2012, June 14). The Dorabella Cipher and a Possible Method for Deciphering [Web log]. Retrieved from:…-deciphering/

Bauer, C. P. (2017). Unsolved!: The History and Mystery of the World’s Greatest Ciphers from Ancient Egypt to Online Secret Societies. Retrieved from:…r%201920&f=false

Audio Sources:

Time Traveler – Beautiful Melodies for Fantastic stories (Music). Retrieved from:…tic-stories/

Mystical Background – Mysterious and Melodic Music (Music). Retrieved from:…lodic-music/

Mystic Dream Piano Melody (Music). Retrieved from:…iano-melody/

Green Fields – Free Instrumental Music (Music). Retrieved from:…ental-music/

Windswept – Synth Guitar and Soft Strings (Music). Retrieved from:…oft-strings/

Hemo – Electronic Music Loop (Music). Retrieved from:…-music-loop/

Edward Elgar – Salut d’Amour Op.12 (Music). Retrieved from:

Edward Elgar – Enigma Variations (Music). Retrieved from: