The Music of The Shining



First off, I just want to say that this page doesn’t include three major analyses of music referenced by the film. For a look at the significance of the album One By One, seen behind Wendy in Boulder, click here. For a look at the Al Jolson musical Bombo, sung out by Jack in the labyrinth near the end, click here. And for a look at all the buried references to The Beatles, start by clicking here.

It’s hard to write about the music of the film without losing some of the verve of the music’s effect, but let’s try. Actually, let me start by saying how utterly gobsmacked I was by this analysis of the film’s music, by Valerio Sbravatti, which I found quite helpful. Sbravatti (et al?) was able to hear, and make clear for the layman, an incredible amount of the trickery involved in editing the film’s music. Where parts of certain tracks were removed to truncate a piece, and where parts of songs where played overtop of each other for added unearthliness. His analysis was instrumental not only here, but also provided abundant insight to my Fibonacci analysis. For the record, though, he’s mainly focused on the 119-minute European release, which apparently features different portions of the same songs being used in their respective moments, because I compared the time codes Sbravatti gives for the respective tracks, and found that in the 144-minute version the time codes speak much more to the film’s subtext (several of the songs start (in the film) at exactly 2:37 into the original song – which is hard to notice because the compositions are so unusual).

As for the music selected to be in the film, I have one major thought: like most of the art present in the film, the way these songs were composed tell us something about Kubrick’s filmmaking methods. It should be noted that composer Wendy Carlos (with Rachel Elkind), who composed some hours of music for a much longer cut of the film, had her work reduced to three compositions in the finished film (Dies Irae, Rocky Mountains and what I call Heartbeat), and one used exclusively in the film’s trailer, leaving her feeling rather chuffed. I think this is significant because according to Shining lore, Kubrick also gave his sound editor nine compositions to edit into the film as he saw fit (Béla Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, and György Ligeti’s Lontano, and seven compositions by Krzysztof Penderecki, which are Polymorphia, Kanon, Da Natura Sonoris #1 & #2, Utrenja, Part I and II, and The Dream/Awakening of Jacob).

Now, why would he commission these two massive (completely unsupervised?) music projects unless he previously intended to mostly discard the one? And would he trust Stainforth to pull off, without direction, the level of mathematical exactitude that I uncover in my Fibonacci analysis? And given some of the thematic overlays and “coincidences” (like Kubrick claiming Dream of Jacob playing over top a dreaming Jack to be wholly coincidence), it seems curious that he would want his process here to seem so sloppy on its face: “You! Write me a full soundtrack! You! Plop these tracks down however you want! This is show biz, baby! We’re not electing the fucking pope here!”

What I’m saying is, given how well the selected music pairs with the film’s themes, why bother commissioning a 3-hour score (Kubrick devotees will recall the same thing happened on 2001: A Space Odyssey to composer Alex North and conductor Jerry Goldsmith whose work was completely discarded)?


We’ll largely skip Carlos’ score, except to note that Dies Irae (Day of Wrath), which plays over the intro, is about the biblical judgment day, giving her work a thematic link to Penderecki’s few Christianity-themed tracks.

Also, Penderecki did a version of Dies Irae (April, 16, 1967) that was in memory of those murdered at Auschwitz. From French Wikipedia: The exact subtitle is Oratorium ob memoriam in periciei castris in Oswiecim necatorum inexstinguibilem reddendam , which can be translated as Oratorio to perpetuate forever the memory of the victims of the extermination camp from Auschwitz.


In the mirrorform, Kanon and De Natura Sonoris #2 play overtop of Dies Irae. Also, Penderecki composed a piece, Ubu Rex (1994) based on the play Ubu Roi by Alfred Jarry, whose work inspired Maxwell’s Silver Hammer by the Beatles. He also composed an opera, The Devils of Loudon (1968-69) based on the book by Aldous Huxley, who appears on the Sgt. Pepper cover.

Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta (Béla Bartók, Jan. 21, 1937)

The first composer listed in the end credits is Béla Bartók, so we’ll start there. Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta is theorized by Bartók expert Ernö Lendvai to be composed according to the Fibonacci sequence. This lead me to one of my largest and most detailed theories, which is that all of The Shining is edited according to the Fibonacci sequence. About a year later I stumbled on how the Fibonacci sequence effects the novel, which includes Wendy daydreaming about the music of Bartók while knitting on page 221, immediately after the scene of Danny getting choked by Mrs. Massey in room 217.

As for how the song works with the film, it’s used three times: once during the Wendy/Danny mazewalk (38:13-40:32), once during Danny’s trike past 237 leading into Wendy’s first encounter with unhinged Jack (41:20-43:53), and once during the Danny/Jack face off (52:41-57:05). Therefore, the piece covers the entirety of Jack’s journey from largely unaffected writer’s block man to totally shelled-out zombie man. In the next scene with Jack and (other) music, he’ll be having his murder dream, which will lead to his banishment into the arms of Lloyd.

The especially Fibonacci/mirrorform celesta portion of the song plays over the three locations seen below. Those of you who know my thoughts on Danny’s lessons and escapes will know that this means Danny’s two middle lessons (of four) feature Bartók exclusively. The face off between Danny and Jack is their only scene alone together in the film, and one of only three where they share dialogue (the other two being the car ride up (where they discuss cannibalism) and the exchange… – Jack: “Hey Dan! Get tired of bombing the universe?” Danny: “Yeah.”). In the universe where Jack is the minotaur and Danny is Theseus, Bartók’s music connects Danny’s objective experience of the labyrinth, with Danny trying to access the room where he gets the other half of the “key” to the lessons and escapes, with Danny’s objective witnessing of his father’s potential for danger. The alternating tones of playfulness and spookiness in the song speak to way in which this all works as primer for Danny to prepare to face what these lessons seem to be building toward.


The first performance (38:13-40:32) starts at 2:21 and runs to 4:40 (139 seconds (2:19)). The second performance (41:20-43:53) starts at 2:07 and runs to the same 4:40 (154 whole seconds (2:34)). And the final performance (52:41-57:05) starts at 0:01 but the track must be slightly slowed down, because the part of the recording that is 3:54 happens at the 3:57 mark in the film (56:37), meaning that the glissando bells start at the 237-second mark, when they should happen at the 234-second mark. Then, another funny thing happens: while the bells are going glissando, there’s a seamless blur between two different portions of this track at the 56:51 moment of the film. So, from 56:37-56:51, we’re hearing the true next phase of the song (3:57-4:11), but then it blurs ahead to 4:26-4:40 (56:51-57:05) so that the strings can whir up at the right moment, and the crash can happen on the WEDNESDAY placard.

As for the first performance, pretty cool that it starts on the 2:21 mark, since that’s the page Wendy was thinking about Bartók in the novel. And if the length (2:21-4:40) is closer to 2:18, that’s the last page of Danny getting choked by Mrs. Massey. And if you’ve seen my intro documentary, you know that this performance plays during the 2370-second moment of the film (39:30), right before cutting to the aerial view of the labyrinth, which has 7 zigzag shapes, leading to 23 layers of maze going up from there. So there’s a powerful connection to the evil room number in various ways here.

The performance that accompanies Danny meeting 237 for the first time falls shy of being 2:37 long itself, but since it starts at 2:07, that means that the 2:37 mark of song hits at the exact second (41:50) that Danny stops and sees the room for the first time. That also means the 3:57 mark happens (237 seconds) at 43:10, which shows Jack at his writing table with the grand stair before him, with its 23-step flight and its 7-step flight. Actually, I neglected to point out these moments for the first performance: the 2:37 moment is Wendy saying “Give me your hand” as they’re first wandering within the maze, and the 3:57 moment is that aerial view of the maze. So both 3:57 moments feature the 7-step/23-step construct.

Oh, I should mention the significance of this second performance being 2:34. Danny is actually triking between room 237 and 234 as the song comes to life at 41:20 (another 124/Three Little Pigs jumble), and my theory is that that’s the room the Grady daughters live in, but there’s also the matter of the F21 photos that hang on the pillars behind Jack in this sequence – the photos on the left pillar add to 20 and the photos on the right add to 34. My larger theory about that is that this 20-34 is the hotel’s code for making Jack feel at “home”. He steps into the Colorado lounge for the first time at exactly 20:34, and this scene cuts away from the pillars, to his typing face at exactly 43:20. There’s a bunch more to say about that, but since this 2:34 performance starts between those rooms, and includes the first shot of Jack seeming possessed by the hotel, that’s pretty apt, I’d say.

We’ve touched on the 3:57 moment from the last performance already, but it’s worth noting that it marks the cut back from Jack getting really creepy about Danny’s question “You’d never hurt mom and me, wouldja?” to him saying “I love you, Danny. More than anything else in the whole world. And I would never do anything to hurt ya!” He gets that all out in the first 14-second chunk. And then the final 14 is assurances on both sides. The repeating 14s seem significant since that’s the number in the F21 analysis associated with room 237. There’s also 14 whole seconds lost (4:12-4:25) when the song jumps from 4:11 to 4:26. As for the 2:37 moment from the song, this is Danny asking Jack “Do you like this hotel?” to which he’ll quote the Grady twins, “I wish we could stay here forever, and ever, and ever.”

Lontano (György Ligeti, 1967)

Three plays: games room (21:24-22:21), storeroom (27:21-28:05), and THURSDAY in the lounge into SATURDAY in the radio rooms (46:14-48:00).

Lontano means “distant” or “far off”, and it’s a direction that can be given to musicians by a composer or conductor, to achieve a certain effect. Ligeti conceived of the piece as a polyphony (a song with two dominant melodies, basically) that would appear as such on the page, but would create a perfect harmony when heard aloud. So, note that in each of its three appearances, this is happening in a way: two forces are playing off each other in very self-powerful ways. Kubrick even seems to be highlighting the very nature of encounters and solitudes. The horror of real connection and the horror of real isolation; how being with someone makes us wonder if they’re really there, and how being alone makes us wonder if we’re really alone.

When Danny feels the twins in the games room, their twinniness gives them an unreality, but he may also be getting a jog from his subconscious that he’s seen these girls before. It’s an encounter…but is it? Neither party speaks, but perhaps neither had to. We get the same sound when Hallorann is shining at Danny in a moment, so it’s as if this song here is telling us that the twins are shining a feeling at Danny more than words. When Hallorann shines the phrase “How’d you like some ice cream, doc?” it’s the only shined phrase in the film, but it’s also undeniable proof of the existence of this man. We think therefore we are, so when we hear the thoughts of others in our own minds, we know we are not alone. This activity of hearing thoughts is not a novelty for Danny, but receiving a thought from another person probably is. The “lontano” between them has narrowed immensely.

Similarly, the Lontano over Jack’s maddening first round with solitude suggests his separation from his family (they’re playing in the snow right now, possibly just outside his windows, here), but there’s also the suggestion (there’s a photo over his shoulder here that connects to the Gold Room) that this is the first time Jack’s insides are being molested by the hotel’s shine-power (that’s a fun sentence to write). It’s not that he hasn’t been behaving erratically already (we just passed the “Why don’t you start right now and get the fuck out of here?” scene, which I think implies some control by Jack over his faculties), but this is perhaps the moment that its shine really breaks through the crust of any psychological defences he might’ve had. This performance of the track keeps going, showing us the SATURDAY placard, Wendy’s entire attempt to make the switchboard work, and her entire walk to the other radio, fading just as she’s grabbing the working radio. So there we have Wendy being assailed by the same forces of solitude, but she pushes until she perseveres.

It occurred to me that polyphony is a workable way to understand the mirrorform as well. You wouldn’t think (unless you were well versed in the concept), that overlaying a backwards version of a film with a forwards version would create any kind of harmony (though that harmony existed for decades until John Fell Ryan had the idea to create the mirrorform). And seeing the incredible density of the harmony takes a lot of work. You have to understand the film in a way that takes months of research, and goodness knows I can’t keep it all in my head while the living thing is rolling. In all the ways that I do reflexively understand it now, I do find myself in a near-constant state of ecstatic mindblow as it unfurls. So, if that was the intention, mission accomplished, Kubrick.

Also, there’s a part of an opera about Faust that invokes the word lontano in the duet Lontano, lontano.


The first version, over the games room and the twins (21:24-22:21), starts at exactly 2:37 of Ligeti’s composition, and fades out 57 seconds later (3:34). The one over the EYE SCREAM offer (27:21-28:05) starts at 2:34 and fades 44 seconds later at 3:18. And the final play (46:14-48:00) starts at 2:31 and ends 107 seconds later at 4:17 (this is counting whole seconds of play). These all add to 3:28 of play time, and the gaps between the plays add to 23:08. Bad news for Hallorann.

That 237 pairing with the first second of Danny standing inside the hotel is pretty cool, although the official rules of darts (the game he’s playing) state that you stand 2.37 metres away from the board, at the nock mark. And since he sees the twins, that pairs well with the fact that his next flash of them will come from touching 237’s knob. And 3:34 is 214 seconds, a jumble for 124, the AT code for The Three Little Pigs. I like that, because by that point the scene has cut to Ullman taking Jack and Wendy into suite 3, where Jack will become the big bad wolf.

The Eye Scream/Story Room one is neat since room 234 is the room that the Grady girls live in according to my Avenue of the Dead analysis. That happens in conjunction with the 27:21 time code, itself a 217 jumble. And since this is the room that Wendy will lock Jack in, and since Jack is compared to the twins so often, I think that’s pretty apt. Also, 2:34 is the last mirrorform second of Danny and Wendy escaping in the snowcat.

That final play has a lot going on, with room 231 (2:31) being the room Danny will help the hotel absorb Jack into, and this moment featuring Danny and Wendy playing with snowballs by a working snowcat. It’s almost like these Lontanos are telling the story (by way of number codes) of how Danny doesn’t need to worry, that he’ll survive this horrendous ordeal. Speaking of which, it ends at 4:17 (and it’s 1:47 long), which is the time code for the first second of Danny and Wendy appearing in Boulder. And 107 is the room number behind Wendy when she’s seeing the Pooh-bear-mask person in the Conquest well. I’ve frequently wondered if the 107 was a reference to the CSM-107 lunar module that was the thing that took the Apollo 11 team to the moon. Incidentally, the painting behind her in that moment is The Johnson House, Hanover, which was very near the end portal of the underground railroad, during slavery times, so I’ve often wondered if Kubrick knew that this was a house that escaped slaves lived in. If so, that would make my leading theory about the other painting behind her in that moment even more interesting (that it’s of Maurice of Orange, a Dutch prince during slave-loving times).

Masquerade (Jack Hylton and His Orchestra, Sept. 23, 1932)

Only heard while Jack is noticing, and being lured to the ghost ball. Probably a reference to The Masque of the Red Death, a major influence on the novel. But it’s neat that Hylton almost shares a name with a hotel chain. Here’s a link to the song’s lyrics.

Also, fun fact, the song debuted on Sept. 23rd, which, as we saw in the analysis of Log Hut on the St. Maurice, is likely the same day that Jack first set foot in the hotel. So the fact that Masquerade stops playing the second Jack passes a painting that looks like the first shot in the movie is extra juicy.

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Midnight, the Stars, and You (Al Bowlly, Ray Noble and his Orchestra, 1934)

Heard during the entire entrance to the ghost ball, the entire second and last encounter with Lloyd, and the entire encounter with Grady leading into the bathroom. Heard again during the entire post-corpse-Jack portion of the film, ending mid-credits, at exactly 143:00 (see the Fibonacci section).

My feeling about this piece is that it speaks to the minotaur imagery. The minotaur’s other name is Asterion (Greek: “Starry”), Wendy is seen next to Moon and Cow, and other nighttime art, which speaks to “Midnight”, and the You is probably both us, the audience, and our dominant perspective character, Danny.

Bowlly is also of note for how his last recorded song was an attack song on Hitler (When That Man Is Dead and Gone), which he recorded before a luftwaffe bomb detonated outside his apartment in 1941, killing him.

Ray Noble’s orchestra included members with names like Bill Shakespeare and Fritz Prospero. So it’s possible that this and the next track are meant to be evocative of these two forces in the film’s subtext. Remember, Prospero the main character from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, which informed Edgar Allen Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death, which informed The Shining. All three of these stories involve masques, so it’s pretty fitting that this track, and the following one, would play over top of the film’s (anti-)masque.

As for the record this track comes from, it was recorded (as was the next track) at Abbey Road Studio 2, so it’s possible this track and the other Bowlly track were meant as subtle nods to Redrum Road. Also, this is probably a total coincidence, and totally meaningless, but the b-side is a song called An Hour Ago This Minute. An hour before the start of each performance of this song is Jack and Ullman saying the word “hotel”. Ullman in the line, “This is the staff wing of the hotel”, while approaching Suite 3 for the first time, and Jack in the line, “You mean…just leave the hotel?” from inside Suite 3.

More of note, it’s during this track that Jack passes the ghost who, if he isn’t played by George Harrison, strongly resembles George Harrison. Harrison had shaved his signature facial hair sometime in 1979, as you can see in the images below. This ghost is visible throughout the entire final Jack-Lloyd convo. At least, when the perspective is shooting down the bar.

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Also, Kubrick’s daughter Vivian, who was in the film in this scene, tweeted about Harrison being on set.

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It’s All Forgotten Now (Al Bowlly, Ray Noble and his Orchestra, Sept. 26, 1934)

This one’s fairly obvious in its wide-reaching implications: so many of these buried histories and art references encoded into the film require intense research to grasp the fullness of their collective measure. So the film is openly lamenting the transience of context and knowledge. But the song plays while Delbert Grady is calling himself Delbert Grady, which Jack claims to “recognize”. However, the man Jack heard about was Charles Grady. So, he’s aping at having a better memory than he does. But also, Delbert is the male form of the name Alberta, which is the province in Canada where all the Stoney peoples depicted in the film are from. Alberta was also the place where many peoples fleeing Rocky Mountains massacres and genocides in America were able to flee to. So Delbert not only represents Jack’s failed memory, but ours. And the major wars and genocides of the past couple hundred years are not distant, remote events that were poorly documented. So it’s not just a forgetfulness, but also a willful ignorance, in part due to the extremely distressing nature of the events, but also due to guilt felt by attached parties, both then and now. But anyway, with that in mind, try to imagine, then, the oceans of violence that have been forgotten from throughout all of human history. And imagine that being the case for your own worst idea of unresolved injustice. How does that make you feel?

Again, you can double the Shakespeare/Prospero reference here, but also you should note that this track was recorded at Abbey Road Studio 3, exactly 13 years and 1 week after the date that photo Jack is trapped in (July 11th, 1934). The b-side for this track is Lady of Madrid, and this song is heard in the film right after Jack and Grady pass the older room 237 ghost in the crowd at the ghost ball. I don’t know why she would be the “lady of Madrid”, but it’s interesting to ponder.

And since these Bowlly tracks are heard in the order Midnight-Forgotten-Midnight, this means that the Abbey Road Studio references go studio 2-studio 3-studio 2. Not exactly 237. But there is no Abbey Road Studio 7, so…

It’s also worth noting that none of the other music referenced directly in the film was recorded at Abbey Road.

Home (Henry Hall and the Gleneagles, 1932+?)

This song kicks into gear as the n-word portion of our evening gets underway, and carries through the end of this sequence. There’s one incredible crossover moment, when the lyrics in the song say “My heart’s forever *wending* home” Jack has just finished saying, “It’s his mother…She…interferes…” Wending=Wendy. But more to the point, I think this idea of “home” speaks to the way in which Jack might be nostalgic for a world that favoured someone of his supposed talents and genius, and also to the notion that violence starts in the home. The two men are about to casually discuss the way the one murdered himself and his family, and then he’s going to suggest Jack do the same.

Also, The Shining is full of halls and eagles. Hall’s two biggest hits were Here Comes the Bogeyman (an indirect reference to Napoleon, Kubrick’s great fixation), and Teddy Bears’ Picnic. Hall was a bandleader, and performed music for the troops of both world wars. The name Gleneagles comes from the fact that Hall was employed by the Gleneagles hotel chain, to play throughout their large chain for guests. The fact that Grady has a British accent definitely creates a sense of Jack being transported to one such Gleneagles hotel circa 1924-1932, when Hall played there.

Commoners Crown (Steeleye Span, 1975)

I already covered this, but there’s a few other things to note. You might recall that Peter Sellers only ever guest-performed on this, and the opening credits using for After the Fox, by The Hollies.

I just watched the After the Fox intro, and the cartoon makes it seem like the song is all about a literal fox stealing a bunch of gold. There’s a line “Why do you steal? – Don’t like work. – Why don’t you work? – Work is hard!”

The painting of the fox outside the 237 bathroom makes it seem like the ghost there is “the fox”, and maybe special in the way she abuses Jack and Danny. But really, she’s just one of the hotel’s many forms. There’s an interesting paradox in the relationship between the hotel as a building and the nature of it and its ghosts. Is it the Overlook that’s evil? Or is it a place that traps and stores evil? If the Overlook itself was evil (“compliments of the house”), and looking for fresh victims, why would it jeopardize its continued existence in that way? If people try “to burn it down” like the Grady daughters, it only invited that on itself, and it would’ve had nothing to do but be burned down. If it’s a place that traps and stores evil, part of how it does this is by allowing the trapped evil it already has to exacerbate the tendencies in the people that stay there. If it’s innocent of the actions of the evil spirits, it’s simultaneously powerful enough to trap them, but not powerful enough to stop them from committing physical acts, like strangling Danny, or unlocking the storeroom for Jack.

One last thing: Jack wakes up in the storeroom on several large bags of Holly Salt. Coincidence?

Here’s a hilarious coincidence: Room 237 is directed by Rodney Ascher, and the Bartók piece included in the film is dedicated to Paul Sacher. Sacher was an immensely wealthy conductor, patron, and impresario who commissioned a tonne of works by a tonne of prominent composers, like Bartók and Strauss (both with a Kubrick connection), and who later acquired the Stravinsky estate.

Also, here’s a fun fact: for his 70th birthday, 12 composer friends of his decided to compose works that could be performed for solo cello using Sacher’s name as a musical cryptogram. In other words, the works would use what they called the Sacher hexachord, where the letters in SACHER would correspond to the notes in the scale, and, yeah, that’s a thing, apparently. Apparently some composers have used musical cryptograms to embed the names of a friend, a connected ensemble, a patron, or themselves into their music. Bartók is one of the handful of composers known to have been embedded so. The Ascher-Sacher connection is just a joke, really. But look where it lead! Almost makes me wonder if Dies Irae spells something out…like “Paul is dead. Paul is dead”.


Here’s all the other appearances of albums that we might one day put names to. The only one I’m excited for is the one with the neon pink E or B, getting cut off by the Commoners Crown record. Obviously, based on the Redrum Road theory, I’ve been tantalized into thinking it could be a rare Beatles release, but after pouring through some hundreds of versions of their records, I’ve come up empty handed. The closest thing is this Beatlemania record, but the “B” here is too high, and not as girthy.

As for the album on the right, this looks more like an inside or back cover, so this might be profoundly difficult to get, though we get that sliver of a centre image that seems to echo the Bugs Bunny ears poking up on Danny’s shirt in the first breakfast, so I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a connection there.

As for the records by Wendy’s knees during the doctor visit, we’re getting a good portion of the image, but it’s unclear if it’s a front or back cover. If you’ve read this far, you’ve probably gotten the sense that nothing appears in this film for no reason, but this has got to be one helluva clew, if you know what I mean.

Finally, the act playing nightly at the Gold Room is a Danny Haynes. Though I can’t find much about him, if indeed he was real. Discogs has a record of a Haynes who did the arrangement on a 1979 Australian album called Locked Out of Paradise, which seems apt, but the timing is cutting it close there. There’s another Haynes who sang a 1980 record, which is cutting it way too close, called King Peach, which was dedicated to John Lennon.

The other name on the board is Kim Woodman. Can’t find anything on her, either. Seems odd.


Krzysztof Penderecki is the most ubiquitous composer of the film’s music, and the most interesting thing about his work is that he composed less with standard notation, and more with what’s called graphic notation. That is, the performers know to perform less according to exact notes, and more according to the mood and form of the graphics on the page. He was inspired to take up this form thanks to seeing a heartbeat on an EEG monitor.

According to researchers at the University of Helsinki: “Research on generating music from physiological measurements mostly deals with EEG and electrocardiography (ECG). The first device to generate music from physiological measurements was the “encephalophone”, from the 1940s. It generates audio from measured brain waves for both medical and musical purposes. Various artists have since made similar instruments. For example, Krzysztof Penderecki’s Polymorphia (1963) was based on encephalographic pitch notation derived from EEG data.”

What does that have to do with The Shining? Well, first off, one of the most consistent tracks heard in the film is the one I’ve dubbed Heartbeat, presumably by Carlos and Elkind. The track is mainly a heartbeat sound with occasional other effects sounds, possibly from other compositions. It plays over Hallorann receiving Danny’s shine, the entire 237 experience of Jack’s, Wendy plotting escape and Danny’s first REDRUM, into Jack murdering the radio, then Hallorann’s entire flight from Miami. That’s about 14 minutes of screen-time between the 70 minute mark and the 96 minute mark. And as readers of the Fibonacci analysis will recall, the number of beats, and what they beat over is often quite significant.

But also, I wonder if Kubrick was able to make use of graphic notation as inspiration for how he was able to lay out the vast, labyrinthine network of connections we’ve collectively unearthed in the film (I’m crediting the Room 237 gang, here). So you could have one layer for Caesar references, one layer for Snow White references, one layer for Come Out, Come Out references, and so on. Like, Kubrick may’ve been a genius, but even geniuses have their limits, and need their toolkits.

So, he could’ve had a plot outline that would’ve broken the film down into 30 second chunks, like this. And then, running underneath that layout, he could’ve had the dozens of layers of reference points to pin down where each clue needed to overlap or not overlap in order to pack everything in what needed packing.

Also, in order to achieve the relative perfection of what I call the mirrorform, it would probably help to be able to lay things out something like this, in order to see how scenes would fold in on each other. Which leads me to suspect that this is how he knew to time and rewrite scenes in order that they would fit together better. Which lead to him requiring his actors to perform their scenes in a certain number of seconds, and to move through space at certain speeds, and to hit their marks just so. Also, this could account for the insane number of takes he did per shot, and why his editor expressed a puzzlement (sorry, I can’t find where I read this) about why Kubrick put what he felt were obviously lesser-quality takes in the finished film (they were likely the takes that met the time restrictions best). Lastly, I wonder if this also affected the way he directed his actors, using some aide similar to graphic notation. That’s a minor thought, but there is a moment in his daughter’s documentary where we see him using a drawing to direct the crew on how to move through the labyrinth. So there’s at least that.

I could get into the biblical implications of Penderecki’s work (The Dream of Jacob about Jacob’s ladder, Utrenja being about the resurrection of Christ, Kanon is about Christ), or his role as a composer concerned with the nightmare of WWII, but I cover these subjects elsewhere in sufficient detail.

One interesting general note is that four of the Penderecki pieces are two parts of a series (De Natura Sonoris and Utrenja)–so there’s a twinning effect, but also a 1-2 effect–while one piece, The Awakening of Jacob/The Dream of Jacob, is one piece with two names that have somewhat opposite meanings, sort of like a yin-yang.

The Awakening/Dream of Jacob (Aug. 14, 1974)

Plays two times in the first half of the film (10:34-12:14; 57:10-61:10) and once just after the start of the second half (71:50-76:14). First when Danny talks to Tony and passes out…

…then as Danny ventures into 237 and Jack has his nightmare…

…then during Hallorann receiving Danny’s shine into Jack’s trip through 237. The last one starts just after we pass the exact middle of the film, making it one of three tracks to play on both sides of the film (the others being the De Natura Sonoris twins and the Wendy Carlos track that plays under Dies Irae, which also plays under the Heartbeat track at times).

So again, we have:

  • A song linking parts of Danny’s lessons and escapes. One Dream of Jacob plays as we slide by Danny’s Boulder door key (escapes), and one plays while we hover past the 237 key (lessons). The middle airing of the track is while Danny himself is entering 237.
  • Each of these iterations builds up to something that equals or reminds us of a shutting down of Danny. The first with his black out, the second with his ghost encounter (leading to his catatonia), and the third with him reliving what caused the catatonia.
  • The first and last involve Danny receiving a shine and Danny sending a shine. The middle one involves the hotel sending a shine to Jack in the form of a murder dream, and a kind of shine to Danny in the form of the 237 ghost. The story of Jacob’s ladder, is fairly similar, with Jacob being the receiver of a shine from some sort of celestial figure. When he awakens from it he decides to found Bethel. Which is something of a moment of conquest, for ol’ Jake, just taking the land like that, and turning into a “House of God”.


I also want to talk here about the significance of the seven ladders seen throughout the hotel. This is copied directly from my section on significant repetitions throughout the film.

There’s 7 ladders during CLOSING DAY with rungs in this sequence: 11, 9, 6, 13, 5, 9, 5. For a grand total of 58 (as you’ll note, I’m not counting the top part of the ladder, or the painter’s tray in the final ladder). In the classical interpretation of Jacob’s Ladder, the rungs equal years, and 58 years back from 1979 is…1921! The year to which Jack will transport back.

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Also (and this is from my page on absurdities), the ladder seen as Wendy and Hallorann do their loop around the kitchen…disappears, as you can see in the second red box below, in the distance of the shot of Ullman and gang intercepting Wendy, and Hallorann taking Danny for chocolate ice cream. The ladder has nine rungs, so, according to my Jacob’s Ladder theories, this would most likely allude to the Grady murders of 9 years ago. So perhaps the significance of this has to do with the fact that when the ladder is there, the Jack on the other side of the movie (third image below) is talking to ghost Grady through the pantry door (the ladder seems to become his spine in this moment), and when the ladder’s gone, he’s taunting Wendy about the snowcat. No Grady = no 9-rung ladder.

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The first two performances start at the beginning of the song and play to the point where the song peters out. So that’s 100 seconds (0:00-1:40) over Danny’s escape key, Jack calling about getting the job, and the first vision from Tony. Then 240 seconds (0:00-4:00) over Danny getting invited into 237, Wendy consoling Jack about his murder nightmare, and Danny emerging from 237.

But the third performance does a neat thing that is almost impossible to hear. It also begins at the beginning, but at 237 seconds into the track (75:47 of the film) there’s an edit so that the song jumps from 3:57 to 4:12, and then it plays for an additional 27 seconds to 4:39.

Also, the first second of the two longer performances are jumbles of each other: 57:10, 71:50. And those both could become 217, King’s evil room, if we flip the 5s backwards, REDRUM style.

The first performance has its own timing significance, ending right at 12:14, which in the Mark 13:29 analysis, is a sort of alternate “middle” of the film.

Also, note how it’s exactly 10:40 between the second two performances (61:10-71:50), which is almost the exact length of time from the start of the film to the first performance (10:34). Also, the first performance is 1:40. I’m not sure the significance of this 1-4 repetition, but I’ve wondered if the time codes for these were subtle invocations of respective bible verses from the Book of Genesis (being the book that Jacob’s Ladder is from). If so, 1:4 is the verse about god separating light from darkness (that would pair well with Danny’s first major “shine” and the ensuing darkness that follows), 2:4 is the verse about god creating the heavens and the earth (this would pair well with my interpretation of Danny entering 237 being equivalent to homo sapiens success in reaching the moon), and 4:24 is a verse where a descendant of Cain (Lamech), declares that he also has killed a man, and that the curse upon his great-great-great-grandfather (that “anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over”) should be multiplied by eleven in his case: “If Cain is avenged seven times,/ then Lamech seventy-seven times.” That 7 x 11 business goes well with both the Noah’s Ark imagery inside 237 (Noah’s Ark is on Genesis 7:11), and the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:7) imagery that Kubrick connects to the number 237 in various ways. But, speaking of Cain, almost the first artwork Jack passes after his flight from 237 is by Paul Kane, and in the novel, it’s with a cane (sounds the same as “Cain” and “Kane” in English) that Jack’s father Mark beats his mother half to death at the very centre page of the book. So Genesis 4:24 is about a descendant arbitrarily saying that his punishment should be greater than his forebear, and in the part of the film that corresponds with this number, it’s the forebear (Jack) who is getting a lesser trauma in room 237 than his child did before him.

And by the way, there’s a phenomenon like this in King’s novel, which I call Jack’s Ladder, in case you’re interested in that.


If you haven’t read my Twice-Fold analysis, this is basically the mirrorform, times two.

I tend to take special notice of anything that happens near the middle of the movie, and near the beginning, thanks to my larger analysis of the Twice-Fold, because that’s one thing it does so well, is show how those middle events interlock with early events.

In the case of Dream of Jacob, it allows for the 237 edition of the song to begin at 1:05 and go to 5:29, then Jack’s murder nightmare one begins (backwards) 1:06 later, at 6:35 and goes to 9:35, and the final play is the first from the natural film, starting (minus the opening Warner Bros. logo) 45 seconds later, at 10:20 and going to 12:00. It’s possible that 1:06 is closer to 1:05, in which case the first two and the middle of the film would be separated by a number that is the same number that appears on the room closest to the blowjob bear mask room: 105. That door number appears from 11:17-11:27 in the Twice-Fold.

In the Jack’s Ladder analysis, 105 is the first page of Jack being alone at the hotel, up on the roof, contemplating the 70-foot drop from the roof to the ground below.

Actually, the Twice-Fold brings the length of the film to 35:15, so we could fold again, without disturbing the placement of these songs, which would put the final 12:00 play exactly 5:37 away from the new 17:37 middle. And 5:37 looks like a warped 237.

De Natura Sonoris #1 (On the Nature of Sound #1) (Apr. 7, 1966)

Plays twice. Once while Danny’s witnessing the murdered Grady twins (49:18-51:15), once while Wendy is witnessing the murdered snowcat (113:27-114:37). Nuff said.

Actually, there’s 3732 seconds between the two performances, and that’s very similar to the 3237 pattern that appears for the painting Arpeggio, the last painting to appear in the film. And we are talking music here.


The first one playing for 117 seconds is really great, because Wendy is pacing past the Tower of Babel painting on the opposite side of the film from there. The second one places for 70 seconds, and Ullman tells us about a tragedy during the winter of 1970. Also, there’s a clever thing where Polymorphia overlays with this piece from 113:54-114:29, for 35 whole seconds (it’s 4:55-5:30 of that piece). So, while the Babel number (117) accompanies the Gradys, the Grady number (70) accompanies this moment where there’s a confusion of music.

As for the recording: it’s weird, I can’t find a single recording online that matches the version from the film. They’re very similar, but the exact tones are off. Like, when Danny’s triking behind the lobby on his way to the Grady’s there’s two sharp shrieks of sound, and in the film, the second one is noticeably sharper in tone, though the two are audibly close together in pitch. But every recording has both pitches being approximately the same. The same can be said for the part where Wendy’s heading out into the snowy outdoors. There’s a single sharp shriek, and while the pitch is about right, the sound is way vaster and more full of reverb. Then there’s the issue of the pace of the sound: both tracks take less time between discernible moments to occur…in other words, the movie version has been sped up. Like, those two sharp shrieks happen 6 seconds apart in recordings, but in the film version they’re 4 seconds apart. Point being, I wonder if we can treat the start/end times of the actual tracks as the times Kubrick meant for us to scrutinize, on a symbolic level. And there’s a few little sounds that don’t exist in the other available recordings. The film version of the second performance ends with two big crashes, but the song only has the one, and it doesn’t reverb as long as the film version does. What’s interesting, though is that the second performance still seems to come in at 0:17 into the track, and that last crash is from 1:27. So, just as the film music spans 70 seconds, so does the part of the (slowed down) track it comes from. That means that something was plugged in to expand the sped up film version of the music. Perhaps Kubrick’s making a point here about the “nature of sound”.

In fact, in the novel, on pages 194 and 195, Danny ruminates on an old friend of his named Robin Stenger, whose father was supposed to have “LOST HIS MARBLES”. Jack corrects the rumours for him later, but he’s clutching his Winnie-the-Pooh doll as he dreads what it would be like to be taken away by THE MEN IN THE WHITE COATS. In fact, novel Danny is approaching the last of his “lesson” pages, page 197, so, consider that he’s doubting his sanity as this is happening. Winnie-the-Pooh was Christopher Robin’s imaginary friend, and Robin Stenger happens to share a name with something called the Stenger Test, which is a way of using science to tell if someone claiming to have bad hearing is faking or not. In the first instance of On the Nature of Sound #1, Danny meets his last of the hotel’s “imaginary” friends that he’ll come face-to-face with (and they’ll speak audibly to him for the only time), before turning to his own “imaginary” friend, Tony, for advice and reassurance. Tony will perform like a Stenger test, assuring Danny that the twins are like pictures in a book and not real. In the second instance, the song transitions into audibility from out of a fading performance of Polymorphia and then another Polymorphia comes 24 seconds later, hard to hear over the chaos of ongoing music. And in the mirrorform, during those 24 seconds is the exact period of Dick sending Danny the one audible, friendly shine we ever hear him get. And, again, Kubrick messed with the speeds of these tracks, to make sure we were paying the strictest attention to the nature of the sound.

As for the first appearance of the song, it starts at 0:42, but, again, it’s quite sped up and altered. There’s a swirling, rising sound that happens 65 seconds in from the 0:42 start (1:47), that happens at 57 seconds into the film version. Okay, wow, so I just tracked it moment for moment, and found, yes, that Kubrick’s version is uniquely mastered (if not completely re-recorded), and sped up. So what takes 117 in the film takes 127 seconds in the track (0:42-2:49). This has a spectacular significance for Danny’s lessons and escapes. Book Danny defeats Jack on page 429, for complex reasons you can read about here. Movie Danny’s life starts at 4:17, but he’s watching a Roadrunner cartoon that is at time code 4:29 in that first second, and Danny of course also has that giant 42 on his shoulder sleeve. So the time codes here, 42 and 249 (jumble), seem to refer to those significant numbers, and by manipulating the sound of this track, Kubrick has made a way to have both a Tower of Babel (117) and an evil room (217) number associated with it. Meeting the twins is the last of his lessons, so it’s almost like the pattern is taking stock of itself before sending him off for the lesson key inside 237. It’s making sure he can hear the sound of the mirrorform.

De Natura Sonoris #2 (On the Nature of Sound #2) (Dec. 3, 1971)

Plays over Danny’s post-237 catatonia and Wendy chewing out Jack over it, Jack approaching Lloyd for the first time (61:10-64:10), Dick driving to save the day in the snowcat and Tony/Danny doing his second REDRUM sequence (117:49-121:03), Jack getting confused in the centre of the maze (135:40-136:30) and basically Danny’s entire escape sequence (137:41-138:17) right up until Jack’s frozen corpse (138:46-139:42).

This one’s interesting, because, in case you didn’t read Sbravatti’s incredible analysis of the music occurrences, he and his team(?) couldn’t quite be sure if the piece always was this track (or if the track wasn’t occasionally overlapping itself in a weird way). Occurrences of the track on the film’s soundtrack are otherwise manipulated by the sound designers, he claims (and I’ve heard this myself while trying to cross-compare the 144 minute version of the soundtrack), but I’m wondering if what they’re hearing is a similar Penderecki track that no one’s ID’d in the film yet: Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima. I’ve since begun to doubt this theory, but I’ll include it here, in case anyone wants to test its mettle.

Anyway, this song bookends the selling of Jack’s soul and the trauma of Danny. Perhaps better than any other song it accompanies the best evidence of the need to escape the Overlook (fitting, since #1 in this series accompanies two murders). Then the middle two occurrences tie REDRUM (Tony’s mirror phrase) to Jack getting stumped in the heart of the maze (where Danny shows off his best mirrorform skills). Put simply, this track is dealing with the issue of how mirrors can make or break us.

And what is a sound wave if not a kind of naturally occurring mirror?

Also, it’s neat to consider that of the seven times that one of the two On the Nature of Sound tracks comes alive on the soundtrack, there’s only one instance of each – the time coming before the last Grady twin encounter (#1), and the time when Hallorann’s snowcat appears driving up Mt. Hood (#2) – where the music isn’t interrupting another song. When Wendy goes to see the snowcat, the (#1) song is switching off with the 732-second performance of Polymorphia, and when Danny emerges from 237, it’s (#2) switching off with Dream of Jacob. When it plays throughout the escape, it (#2) emerges from a chaos of sound all three times, overlapping with two other Penderecki tracks. Thanks to the unusual compositional style of these songs, it’s actually impossible for the lay person to detect when this is happening. Is that the “nature of sound”?


The first performance, as Danny emerges from 237 (61:10), begins at 0:07 of the track, but, just like with On the Nature of Sound #1, the movie version doesn’t resemble the official soundtrack LP version much. This time, however, I have been able to find the version he used on YouTube, however the sound of the film version still appears to have been altered.

Okay, I think I’ve figured it out. The soundtrack version is faster than the film version (whereas #1 was sped up on the film’s soundtrack), so by 72 seconds into the LP version, the film version is at the 84 second mark. There’s also a crash of string sound at the 86 second mark in the film, which is also on the YouTube version, but the YouTube version has a follow-up crash at 1:30-1:33 that has been excised from the film version. So, as best as I can tell, the first performance goes from 0:07-1:29, then, where that second crash should be, it jumps about 4 seconds ahead to the 1:34 mark (62:33 of the film) and proceeds uninterrupted to the 3:11 mark (64:10). The LP version reaches the same end at 3:02, so that’s weird. Earlier, the film version was 12 seconds ahead, and now it’s only 9 seconds ahead. In fact, that excised second crash from the YouTube version isn’t in the LP version. So that’s doubly weird. If we go by the LP, it’s basically the same song, with temporal fluctuations, so that it starts at 0:07 and ends at 3:02 (a 237 jumble?) for 175 uninterrupted-but-manipulated seconds of song. But the actual recording is from one that has this split, dividing 83 (1:23) seconds (0:07-1:29) from 97 (1:37) seconds (1:34-3:11), for 180 seconds (61:10-64:10) of film. So the 237 jumble from the soundtrack version is on point, since Danny’s emerging from the room, and Jack’s heading off toward another fantasy space. And the split that happens in the film version, the lost 4 seconds, happens right as Wendy turns to run away (62:33), so that the 1:23 (a Bluebeard (312) jumble) refers to Wendy finding Danny’s bruises and accusing Jack, and the 1:37 portion (137 = 2:17?) refers to Jack getting sucked into the room where he’ll commit his first spiritual suicide, downing Lloyd’s ghost booze. This is probably crucial, since, as I’ve pointed out many times, the face Jack makes after downing the booze looks exactly like the face he’s making when he’s frozen to death at the end. This frozen face appears at exactly 1:37 into the mirrorform (not counting the opening WB logo). And the music that plays over that face is this very song, as if the hotel is gloating over having finished the job.

It’s perhaps worth noting that this performance goes for 3:00 exactly, and Ullman tells them on the tour of the Gold Room that they can “accommodate up to 300 people here very comfortably”. In the novel, 300 is the room called the Presidential Suite, where a couple gangland thugs got assassinated.

The second performance starts the second after Grady releases Jack from the pantry, overtop the shot of Dick driving up Mt. Hood to the rescue, and ending when Wendy sees MURDER and Jack’s axe starts door-chopping (117:49-121:03). So that means On the Nature of Sound #1 is heard for the last time a second before Grady knocks and awakens Jack (114:37), and the second On the Nature of Sound #2 follows precisely. The gap there is 3:12 exactly, the AT code for Bluebeard again. For the record, it’s 9:55 (595 seconds) from the end of Danny meeting the Grady twins for the last time (and the end of the first #1), to the first performance of #2 (51:15-61:10) – I’m not sure what 955/595 are jumbles of, if anything, but they are jumbles of each other, and they describe the same second of time, which might be the point: the Grady twins and Delbert Grady appear to be different people, but perhaps the truth of them is that they’re equally the one voice of the dark force animating the hotel (I’ve since discovered that the page opposite Jack giving his word to Grady that he’ll kill Wendy (pg. 382/pg. 66) features a woman named Mrs. Brant, who invokes the year 1955 to the Overlook staff – I’d earlier noticed that multiple people in the novel have very similar names and Brant is part of that chain). The gap between the first #2 and the last #1 is 49:17 (64:10-113:27), which is the same amount of time that comes before the first #1 appears in the film (49:18). This reminds me again of the Robin Stenger point from the other analysis, so head there to read about that.

But let’s look at the timing for the second performance: it actually starts at the beginning of the song and plays straight through to where it ends (3:14), and this time, that second, excised string sting is back in (it happens between the 9th and 10th of Tony’s 43 spoken REDRUMs, putting 9 on one side and 34 on the other, if that’s significant). As for the jumble potential in these time codes: I think it’s mainly in the film’s time codes of 117:49 and 121:03. That looks like another Tower of Babel/Home mashup (117/417) (pairing with Dick riding to the rescue – Dick who’ll be killed not far from where the Tower of Babel first appeared, and right after walking through the space where the suite 3 stairs should be coming down through the lobby ceiling), and another Bluebeard (312) jumble, which pairs nicely with the dawn of Jack’s axe attack. Also, since this performance is 194 seconds long, I’ll point out that page 194 is where Danny first ponders his old friend Robin Stenger.

Actually, speaking of the Stenger test, these last three performances are hearing tests all their own. You really can’t be 1000% sure where they begin and end, they’re so densely mixed against the Kanon Paschy, and the film’s other sound effects. In fact, there’s a wind whistle sound at the end of the fourth performance that was probably edited to be the exact same pitch as the sound of the fading song, to make pinpointing the moment extra difficult. So our “hearing” test, is also a comprehension test: the lengths of the songs usually speak to the jumble effect, or are relatively easy-to-spot values that speak to the film’s subtext. But it’s knowing what those values signify that allow us to be better certain about these start and end points. And perhaps that’s ultimately the point of all the numeric/thematic significance about the exact placements of these songs: Danny passes the hearing test, and Jack doesn’t. Jack is seduced by the Grady ghost, and Danny is frightened by it.

Alright, let’s get to the third performance: it’s very difficult to tell if this starts at 135:39 or 135:40. The thing that really makes it stand out is a jingle at 135:41 that happens at 0:14 of the song. So it either fades in at 12 or 13 seconds of the track, and then, it gets powerfully drowned out by the final performance of Kanon at 136:25, but it may be playing underneath until 136:30, when Kanon goes quiet, and the ongoing #2 would be getting louder. In other words, this track might play for 45, 46, 50, or 51 seconds. And it might start at 12 or 13 and end at 57/62 or 58/63. In my Golden Shining analysis, the length that made the most sense with all the other patterning was that it starts at 135:40, and ends at 136:30. But perhaps this being the middle occurrence of the song means it’s the greatest test of our hearing I’m afraid I might not be up to the challenge. What is striking is that I’m at a loss to say what the thematic/symbolic significance would be in the event of any of these accurate. I considered the gaps between songs could be the thing, so it could be 14:37 from the MURDER ending (121:03) to this beginning (14:37 being a mashup of the two 237 numbers – also 1439 has a strong connection to Jack selling his soul to the hotel), also, it would be 14:35 between those start and end points and 135:40 is a jumble of that. And if the end time is 136:25, it could be 76 seconds between the end of this and the start of the next if it does cut out at 136:25, and picks up at 137:41, but 76 is mainly significant in the presence of an accompanying 67, and the next gap can only be 29 seconds, followed by 57-second clip, and 97 seconds from the end of that to the end. As for what it would mean that it starts at 13 seconds into the song and ends 58 seconds in, I do have some historic connections between the film and the 1300s, but nothing I can think of for 1358 (there are some sketches in the lobby back hall that could be from that era). I do have some ideas about Kubrick implying that the song that opens the film, Dies Irae, was composed in 1254, a song that would begin about 40 seconds from where this track ends in the mirrorform, but the best I could do would be 12-57. Oh, actually, in the 12-57 dynamic, the track plays for 45 seconds, so that’s at least a jumble of 1254 (but then that fucks with the 1435/135:40 jumble, because the 12 only works if the tracks starts at 135:39). Well, I hate to move on, since this accompanies the confusion that kills Jack and starts Danny’s escapes (in fact, this performance plays atop the first turn Danny makes out of the heart of the maze, which connects to the turn he makes to meet the Grady twins, which was where we heard the first On the Nature of Sound #1), so it seems sort of crucial, but for the sake of sparing us a headache, let’s just move on.

The fourth performance (137:41-138:17) is much easier to hear, starting at 2:15 of the song, and fading out at 2:51, for 37 whole seconds of play time. This ones a lot easier than the last: it pairs with Jack’s defeat in the maze (in fact, at 2:37 of the song, Jack falls into a snowbank for the first time), and the first shots of Wendy and Danny revving the snowcat into life. The song actually becomes virtually inaudible at 32 seconds in, so that there’s just a sound like someone letting out a huge whistling sigh for those last 5 seconds: 0:32-0:37 – that might just be a happy coincidence from the nature of the song, but, knowing Kubrick…

Finally, there’s the fifth performance (138:46-139:42) which is first heard as, again, a hissing sound, before “music” can be heard a few seconds later, and this same petering out effect happens until the 57-second mark. This piece comes in at 3:20 of the proper YouTube version of the song, and fades at 4:17. Remember, 4:17 is the first second of Danny and Wendy appearing, and this track accompanies the last moments of them disappearing. Oh, and here’s a cool thing: at 3:27 into the track, the snowcat is getting blotted out by a drifting mist cloud, and that’s also 2:37 into the mirrorform (or 2:23 from the end of the film’s visuals, which is 143 seconds, 143 being one of the most significant subtextual number codes). And finally, it’s 105 seconds from the end of this track to the final fade to black at 2:21:17, and that’s the number of the door beside Wendy when she sees the Pooh-bear-mask person in the Conquest Well. You might recall that Lontano played for 107 seconds in a section that ended at 4:17 of that track, a number on the door behind Wendy in that moment. So if Lontano represents Danny’s inevitable escape, it’s interesting that this final On the Nature of Sound #2 would have the association to the room seen in conjunction with the film’s ghosts, perhaps suggesting the way that one of the Torrances won’t make it out alive. I mean, these final 105 seconds feature the mystical photo of ghost Jack, so it’s like that either way, I guess. But perhaps what this underscores is Jack’s lack of shine power, his failure to pass the Stenger test.

On last thing, Jack’s hollering after Wendy and Danny starts right as the second last occurrence of On the Nature of Sound #2 ends, and goes to 138:31 (covering half the time distance to the last occurrence). It was discovered that certain old copies of the film give subtitles for this hollering that are the lyrics to a 1921 musical Bombo. So that’s not so much a hearing test as a reading test – even when you know what Jack’s supposed to be singing, it doesn’t sound like it – and that’s another theme of the novel: the idea that Jack will “teach Danny to read” as one of his Overlook Winter projects.

Polymorphia (Many Forms) (Apr. 16, 1962)

Plays four times. During much of the big face off between Jack and Wendy into her locking him in the pantry and running to the 2nd entrance (101:18-113:30) (with a tiny reemergence when Wendy finds the snowcat – 113:54-114:29), and then just after the murder of Hallorann (129:08-129:15) and at the zenith of Wendy’s Conquest well ascension (129:47-130:21).

I have a gigantic theory about how The Shining tells us something about the tenth labour of Hercules, which is when he has to steal the red cattle of Geryon. Geryon is a beast of “many forms”, just like Jack is once he gets all nutty on Wendy, which really starts in this scene, and carries through to the end of his character. As for the murder of Hallorann and Wendy’s BJ trial, these speak more to the historic subtext of the Geryon myth, which is too big to cover adequately here.

What I find most incredible about this piece is the way, how, when the song has its two major breaks (during Wendy running to the dead snowcat, and during Wendy running up the BJ well), on the opposite side of the movie, the two major shines from Tony and Hallorann are happening at Danny. So, friendly shines blast away the polymorphia-ness, the Geryon-ness of the hotel. In other words, when people communicate truly and purely with one another, and when roads are built that better connect us as people, it clears away the confusion that would be wrought on us by the chaos of the “many form” reality we face.


The first performance (101:18-113:30) is interesting. I’ve covered this many times around the site, but I haven’t discussed the exact timing. The first major thing to note is that it’s 732 seconds long, and as we’ll see, features a few good 237 jumbles and stings.

Basically, it starts at 0:27 into the track, but then there’s a cut/blur at the 4:29 mark (105:20), at which point the song jumps forward to the 4:43 mark and plays uninterrupted until its 8:57 mark (109:34). In that same second, the song begins to replay from 0:07 and goes to 3:34, at which point, the song jumps ahead to 4:03 (113:01) and peters out at 4:32 (113:30).

  • So that’s a 242-second (4:02) chunk, starting with with a 237-esque number (27) and ending with Danny’s escape number from the novel (429). This is an interesting one, because room 242 is the room I suspect the hotel wanted to absorb Danny into. So this chunk of time, that depicts Wendy’s crossing the lounge, discovering the All Work papers, and getting surprised by Jack, and ending a second before the cut to Danny shining in on his parents fighting from suite 3…all refers to Danny’s great endangerment (242) and his great escape (429). Perhaps his shining-in in a second is something of an answer to the balance: because Danny can shine, he’ll escape. And fyi, the shot cuts away from Wendy to Jack’s creeping-in at 2:38 into the song, that being the number of the room I believe the hotel absorbs Hallorann into. So that goes with my theory about how the “work” in “All work and no play” is the work of killing Dick. Pretty cool, then, that this is also 2:31 into the portion of the song playing in the film up to this point (0:07-2:38), and 231 is the room I believe Jack gets sucked into. Maybe that’s the “play” in the line. Jack will come play with the hotel forever and ever. A mere toy.
  • Then we have a 14 second jump in time, to reach a 254-second chunk (4:14), starting at 283 seconds into the song (4:43) (a 238 jumble) and ending at the 537-second mark (8:57), which looks like a wonky 237. So the 238 jumble kicks off Danny’s interrupting shine, which features the last of his REDRUM visions from Tony (21 seconds into this chunk of music (105:41), in fact), and the wonky 237 moment pairs with Wendy having bested Jack just around the corner from where the dreaded room exists. Jack did not succeed in getting her there.
  • The next portion starts with a 22-second shot of Jack’s head sliding across the kitchen floor. That means that when finally see that it’s Wendy doing the dragging, the music is at the 0:29 mark, which is almost the part of the song that started with her as she entered the lounge (0:27). I thought that was kinda cool.
  • More interesting is the fact that this part plays for 3:27 before the jump in the music, so, if you’re familiar with my “story room” theory, recall that a big part of that comes from the Aarne-Thompson code for Hansel and Gretel (327A) appearing on the food boxes behind Dick’s head. Also, there’s a “237” on one of the boxes under Jack’s arm in that classic “underworld” shot that defines his side of this portion of the drama. Also, she locks the door on his face at 1:27 into the song, and there’s a 3274 box in the tower of boxes he’ll crash into. At 2:37 into the song, Jack says, “Don’t leave me in here!” when he’s trying his “I need a doctor” routine.
  • The final portion being 29 seconds maybe speaks to that 0:29 mark from the last point. The part of the song starts at the 243-second mark (4:03) and ends at the 4:32 mark, two jumbles of the room the Gradys live in. That seems intentional, since it plays over Jack being left in the pantry (Grady will wake him in there momentarily), and since it also goes with the shot of Wendy racing through the 2nd entrance – a shot that will be copied almost perfectly when Jack is stalking through the same space later (and for the last time in the film), to get Danny.

The second performance comes 24 second later, as Wendy finds the murdered snowcat (113:54-114:29), and goes for 35 seconds of the song: 4:55-5:30. I covered the significance of this partly in On the Nature of Sound #1.

The third performance (129:08-129:15) comes 14:39 after the last one, and that’s really cool because a massive chunk of that 14:39 (114:59-117:48, or 3:49) features the number 1439 appearing on boxes in the store room behind Jack during the Grady chat. And it just so happens to be at 1439 seconds into the mirrorform (23:59) that Jack says “word” in the line “I give my word”, so that Grady will let him out. In the film proper, “word” is spoken at 117:32, a mashup of the Tower of Babel number (117) and the length of that first Polymorphia (732). So, going back to that idea about friendly shines blocking out the Polymorphia on the other side, maybe there’s something kind of Polymorphia about this 1439. In On the Nature of Sound #2, there was a gap that was 14:37, which felt like a near-miss for this, but then, if 1439 is strictly about the evil of the hotel, it wouldn’t necessarily apply to the other songs.

As for the seven seconds of audible music, they could be almost any portion between 3:27 and 3:37, where there’s that same skritchy string sound, and the same basso string sound underlaying it. The best combo, I think, would be starting on 3:27 and ending at 3:34. That way you start on the obvious, a second later you get Dick’s death number (238), and you end on the 214 seconds mark, another Three Little Pigs (124) jumble, marking the first moment of Jack chasing Danny with the axe. I mean, honestly. I should note, though, that in Sbravatti’s analysis, he hears the music going for a full 9 seconds. Which would make the last two chunks a 9-second and a 34-second chunk, following the 14:39 gap.

Actually, that reminds me of how this would make the two “Polymorphia gaps”, that are created by the friendly shines on the other side, a 24 and a 30 second gap. And the number the hotel uses to make Jack feel at home is 20:34, a jumble of those two totals. How sweet would that be? I’m starting to think Sbravatti was right.

The final performance (129:47-130:21) starts at 4:47 (Wendy seeing the bear mask), and plays straight unto 5:21 (Jack stepping foot outside). You might recall that 447 is the number of pages in the book, and something I call the “story code“, which I’ve analyzed here. And the 321-second mark (5:21) (a Bluebeard/Seven Young Goats jumble) marking the second (130:21) Jack sets foot outside for the first time since 23:59…

…oh my god, hold the phone. The last second we saw Jack outside was 1439 seconds into the movie. So him giving his word, and being released is ironic, because it’s the second the hotel first totally consumed him. And the first second it lets him go again is 7821 (a 217/218 jumble), a difference of 6382. Oh wow, and 6382 into the film is Jack saying, “You think maybe he should be taken to a doctor?” And that’s the lie he tries to use on Wendy to be let go from the pantry, “I think you hurt my head real bad. I’m dizzy. I need a doctor.” Oh, and he says “doctor” at 2:17 into that scene’s version of Polymorphia. Crazy.

But yes, while Jack does step back inside to turn the lights around the labyrinth on, the last time we hear this song is the first time he’d stepped outside in 6382 seconds.

Utrenja: Kanon Paschy (Passover Canon) (May 28, 1971)

Wendy clubs Jack… (109:19-109:29)

…Wendy slices Jack… (124:20-124:42)

…the bloodfall falls and Danny hides while Jack gets confused (134:47-135:43 and 135:46-135:51).

So, the two Utrenja tracks refer to the two kinds of murder that happen in the film, it seems. This first instance (technically the second of the two parts in the original composition, which was itself the second of two liturgical compositions) refers to Wendy’s two self-defence moves, and Jack stumbling into Danny’s trap. Some have said that Danny is intentionally murdering Jack, but I think this makes a good case for the self-defence nature of the abuses against the psychotic Jack (leading to his death). But that overlay on the bloodfall is a little disjointed from this thought. The bloodfall seems to say that death is death, murder is murder. I’ve covered this extensively in the four horsemen section, so check that out for more. But perhaps the two Utrenja tracks are about yin-yanging murder as an aggression and murder as a self-defence. But what does that have to do with the mythic resurrection of Christ? If the film is at all specifically about the Holocaust, as opposed to WWII as a general, global event, all this Christian music could be an ironic comment on the Christian role in the genocide of the jews. Or a reminder to future Christians about what not to do, like, ever again, please.

As noted the Utrenja tracks play out of order, with the later track occurring before the earlier track, in a 2-1-2-1-2 pattern, while the Da Natura Sonoris duo play 1-2-1-2. So perhaps the inversion of the Christ tracks is an antichrist symbol.


The first performance (109:19-109:29), while Wendy almost kills Jack atop the 23×7 staircase, goes from 0:02-0:07 of the track two times over. 2-7-2-7.

The second performance (124:20-124:43), repeats this technique slightly, playing 0:02-0:07 once, and then playing it from 0:02-0:20.

The final performance, so to speak (134:47-135:43 and 135:46-135:51), does this again, but slightly differently, going from 0:02-0:56, and then takes a 3 second break, before giving us 0:02-0:07 again.

At the risk of sounding too cute, all these repetitions of 0:07 are reminding me of the fact that there’s more than a few subtextual clues throughout the film connecting to James Bond. The most major of these being that Barry Nelson (Ullman) was the very first actor to play Bond onscreen in 1954’s Casino Royale. And the moment that that last 0:07 plays at the end (135:51), well, the mirrorform moment is Jack in the interview with Ullman at 5:41, which is pretty close to a 1954 jumble. I don’t know.

Also, since this is a religious song, I wonder if the 10 seconds, 23 seconds, 54 seconds, 5 seconds flow of the segments means anything, about passover or the life of Jesus, or about the violence being depicted in every one of these moments: Wendy’s two clubbings, the bloodfall, and Danny’s horror at his father being a murderous shell of his former self. I’m honestly not sure if these 92 seconds of passover conceal a deeper meaning. Perhaps it can only be studied in conjunction with the other Utrenja.

Actually, the gaps between these pieces are 13:51, 10:04, and 3 seconds. Put those together and you get 23:58, which is pretty close to another 1439. Maybe if I’ve counted the half-second end counts wrong, it could shimmy up to 23:59. In which case, this could be read as: believing in fantasy [religion] is what’ll get you trapped in a kind of Overlook way of thinking, where the murder of someone (even Christ) is okay, so long as there’s an afterlife to look forward to. I’ll admit, this could be my humanist bias talking, but it is notable, I think. Then again, the near-miss quality could be a way of daring us to consider what I just wrote, but not actually be intended to mean exactly that. Still, 1439 is the moment Jack gives his “word” to kill his family.

Actually, wow, it finally occurred to me to look up a 14:39 in the bible, and sure enough there’s a small handful (even more if you’d count 39:14 entries). And while a few could vaguely apply to this moment, the one that caught my attention was Samuel 14:39, which is about a time when King Saul was trying to get his soldiers to agree to help him kill his son Jonathan (the name that “Jack” comes from) for eating honey, despite Saul’s decree that no man should eat before sundown (Jonathan thinks this decree is silly because it requires soldiers to fight while weak from hunger). In the 1439 scene, Jack is shown to have eaten a mess of carbohydrates, like crackers and spam and peanut butter, during his (6:30am-4:00pm) time in lockup. The verse goes, Saul: “As surely as the LORD who saves Israel lives, even if it is my son Jonathan, he must die!” But not one of the troops said a word.

I should mention too that Saul’s beef is especially with the Philistines, who Samson later genocides, and Samson is referenced in one of the hotel’s paintings.

This is the only of the verses that come up in the 14:39 search that contains the word “word”, and it’s about no one saying a word. And in Jack’s 1439 moment, he says a word, and that word signifies his willingness to kill his son. There’s a fair bit of sun and moon imagery in the film, and Saul sounds like Sol, the sun god. So, Jack taking on the attitude of Saul could reflect his wanting to join the ranks of the sun demons. In fact, on his way to kill Geryon, Hercules shoots an arrow at the sun god, who gives him the golden bowl he’ll use to ride the Atlantic waves toward Geryon’s island.

Utrenja: Ewangelia (The Gospel) (May 28, 1971)

Wendy sees MURDER (121:03-121:14), Hallorann takes the axe up to Jack surveying the snowy grounds (128:39-130:34), and Wendy sees dead Hallorann up to Wendy entering the skeleton ball (132:33-1:33:34).

This song is apparently about the emergence of Christ from his tomb, so it seems odd that it would accompany a witnessed murder word, a shine witness of an actual murder, a witnessed sex act, and a witnessed murder aftermath. Is this about the cold comfort of Christian ideology? No, I think including the BJ bear (which I believe to be Wendy witnessing the extent of her overmothering) is a way of suggesting there’s more than one way to murder a relationship. However, just before Grady recommends murder as the solution to all Jack’s earthly problems, Jack is standing in Christ pose while Grady wipes him down. So I guess this is where I feel the Jesus myth being the most toyed with by Kubrick. I don’t know if it’s intentionally mocking, but it doesn’t seem exactly reverent. Then again, Kubrick professed to be an enormous Rosemary’s Baby fan, so this might be more of an antichrist thing. I’m no bible scholar!


Apropos of all the 1439 talk I’ve been doing on this page, the gaps between these three replays of the song add to 9:34. Since that’s incomplete and backwards, does that mean that Ewangelia is the inverse of Kanon Paschy? The earlier one does seem focused on all the near-murder, while this one is all about the murder. Perhaps this also speaks to the fact that, while Jack is let loose at 1439 to kill Wendy and Danny, who he actually murders is some stranger guy. And he kills that stranger guy in the shadow of that same Samson painting as from the last track. Wendy will be standing by it when she sees Dick’s corpse, and when she runs in for the skeleton ball.

But yes, the first appearance (the MURDER mirror) (121:03-121:14), plays for the first 11 seconds of the track. The film’s time codes start with a Bluebeard jumble and end with a Three Little Pigs jumble (right in time with Jack’s first axe blows). That Bluebeard bit is especially good since book Danny associates that fable with room 217, and movie Danny wears the number 11 into room 237.

The second performance (128:39-130:34) is a little more interesting, since it starts at the beginning again, and runs to 130:00 (81 seconds), before starting over again, and running for 34 more. That 81-34 seems like another 1438 jumble to me. Another way of saying these religious songs aren’t quite the same as what Jack did. In fact, that’s exactly how I read the warped Winnie-the-Pooh mask figure (the zoom on the bear mask is where the second refrain begins): as a warning to Wendy that she was heading towards abusing her son. So maybe that’s what the 1438s are all about: warning the Wendys of the world that they can’t just escape into their child selves when their children are in danger.

The final performance (132:33-1:33:34) plays first for 18 seconds (132:33-132:51) before restarting and playing again for another 43 seconds. That looks like another 1438 jumble. The other cool thing here, is that that restart happens right as the camera lands on the GREAT PARTY ghost, who I read as either the real Charles Grady that Ullman told Jack about, or an amalgam of Jack’s various father figures. So if I’m reading the Winnie-mask correctly, this would seem to be the follow up: not only can you not escape into your child self, but you have to be wary of your partner escaping into their child self.


Plays for almost the entirety of Jack’s assault of suite 3 (121:12-124:40), fades in while Jack’s scanning the snowy grounds, up to the cut from Danny’s first sequence running through the maze to Wendy stumbling on the silver bowls toward finding Dick’s corpse (130:27-132:11), then over Danny’s second escape sequence leading him to the heart of the maze with all of Jack’s accompanying pursuit, then Wendy’s shocked reaction to the skeleton ball leading all the way to one of two points during the bloodfall (133:03-134:52), and finally as Danny begins his race for the exit, (136:20-137:59).

Her first two trials were dominated by Utrenja: Ewangelia, so this other Christ piece is apt, I suppose. I’m not sure what the “Here’s Johnny” bit is about, though it’s interesting that Kanon accompanies Danny’s entire escape sequence. This means that Penderecki is playing during Danny’s final lesson, all the escapes, and the two passes past the “keys”. Bartók plays during the middle two lessons, and the first lesson has no music. So the implication there could be that Penderecki, or his biblical subject matter, holds the key to defeating the Overlook. Which would seem like a pretty big vote of confidence for the bible. But the film also feels like a critique of biblical forms at times. It’s curious, to be sure.

Oh, you know, the songs that play over the lessons, Music for Strings, etc. and De Natura Sonoris #1, are both areligious compositions. So it’s almost like the music is suggesting that out of these contextless lessons, context-rich escapes will emerge. More broadly, Kubrick seems to be describing there the nature of myth-formation: we notice patterns in the natural world, and we use myth to help ourselves hold onto these realizations, and justify the fruits they seem to bear.


This one is almost absurdly edited for maximal confusion, if Sbravatti’s analysis tells true. Just 20 seconds into the first iteration, I’m finding a cut in the original music, so this could take a while. I might just give up on it.

The one general thing to note hear is that the proper edition of this song oscillates between the music only coming through the left ear of the recording, then only through the right ear, and then sometimes you get blasted in both ears with two different-sounding sources of music. On the film’s soundtrack, this effect has not only been eliminated, but it seems that the sound mixers were able to keep certain string sounds in those moments set more prominently into one ear. I’m not an expert at sound mixing, by any means, so I honestly don’t know how this was achieved. Possibly Kubrick had his own recording of this piece, or had access to the master, because it’s clear that it’s the same recording, with all the impossible-to-reproduce cacophony bits from moment to moment. That said, sometimes things do feel like they’re missing a component of the music, which I’ve guessed was, again, the result of sound mixing.


The first performance (121:12-124:40) – starting 9 seconds into Jack’s attack, emerging cacophonously from a performance of Ewangelia – begins with 20 seconds (2:00-2:20) (121:12-121:32), it then possibly blurs into a repeat of the last 9 seconds, but I think it jumps ahead to 2:25-2:37 (121:32-121:44), then, more clearly, jumps to 2:47-2:56 (121:44-121:53) – there’s a few musical stabs at this point that are hard to miss – then a silence has been excised, to get straight to 3:00-3:59 (121:53-122:52). After the silence, there’s another jump to 6:03-6:25 (122:53-123:15), then there’s some skritchy, whirring-up string sounds that go from 123:15-123:23, and I’m fairly certain these could only be the strings from 7:51-7:59, but, if so, then there’s a high-pitch squeal of strings that’s been tamped way down (not unusual in the larger context of this mix). If I’m right about that, then the song jumps back to 6:45-7:19 (123:24-123:58).

Here I want to break to explain a fascinating thing I just discovered. There’s this twin violin skritch that plays once in one ear and immediately overtop that in the other ear. Zip-zip, right-left. There’s a few moments like that on the album, but they all occur in relative silence, whereas the sound in the film happens over ongoing music. This moment is 2:03:58-2:03:59. If you’ve been reading this page top to bottom, you’ve been hearing a lot of talk about 1438 and 1439. Well, those numbers make the time codes 23:58 and 23:59. And the moment from the song that this corresponds to is…4:16-4:17. So we’ve got the Jack sells his soul number (1439/2:03:59) covertly mashing up with Wendy and Danny’s “home” number, 4:17. In fact, that time code of 2:03:59 is 7439 seconds, and 7 does look like a warped 1. Also, the moment that this music overlays is the moment of the axe finally bursting through the bathroom door, and the beginning of Wendy’s iconic scream-in-horror face. She’s seeing the reality of how hard her former husband sold himself out to fantasy. Also, that track that was ending at 7:19 was also ending at the 439-second mark of that song. So you’ve got a 439 and 7439 side by side, beneath this 4:17.

Okay, so, the music does seem to cut out halfway through that effect so that at 123:59 there’s a kind of silence, but this is actually 5:39 of the composition, which goes until 5:46 (124:06), at which point we jump to 3:09 (124:07) and run all the way to 3:42 (124:40), at which point Hallorann has arrived to the rescue. There’s actually another part of the recording blended with this moment as well, which is 4:47-4:58 of the song, starting at 124:07 of the film, and going to 124:18. It’s the high-pitched squealing that’s missing from the 3:09-3:20 part.

Alright, now I know what Sbravatti means when he says that there might be moments of overlay that are near-impossible to distinguish. Once Utrenja comes in at the Here’s Johnny! part, it’s almost pure chaos. There could be random parts of other songs buried in the soundtrack. And the way everything’s mixed, I sometimes had the feeling that deep string sound from 2:00-2:20 was being played on a loop beneath the other music, impossible to hear.

Anyway, let’s talk about what’s clear. Here’s a list of all the (audible) song components in order:

  • 2:00-2:20 (121:12-121:32) – Jack chops and Wendy carries Danny into the bathroom and locks the door. The 2:17 mark is right as Wendy locks the bathroom door. One neat thing: This part is 20 seconds, and the next chunk (2:25-2:37) is 12, right? Well, in the mirrorform, it’s 20:12 exactly when this song is 5 seconds in, which is time code 121:17 on the other side. That also means that Kanon first appears at 20:17 of the mirrorform. Actually, let me point out that there’s only two other time codes that give us a 217, which are 2:17 and 21:07. At both points On the Nature of Sound #2 is playing on the other side, for the second and fifth/last times.
  • 2:25-2:37 (121:32-121:44) – Jack chops and Wendy tries to get the window open. Ends right as Jack has made his first hole in the front door, which the axe head lolls into for a second. So I guess that’s why we need to be afraid of 237.
  • 2:47-2:56 (121:44-121:53) – Wendy sticks her head out the window, and Jack chops the door until he can wrench out the panel. The seconds for these parts of the song are jumbles: 167 and 176. There’s a box beside Jack’s head with Wendy locks him in the pantry that reads 716. So maybe this speaks to Jack’s vengeful wrath at being locked away. That would go well with Wendy first feeling the narrow squeeze of the window.
  • 3:00-3:59 (121:53-122:52) – Jack says, “Wendy? I’m home”, unlocks the door (3:07), Wendy shoves Danny down the snow pyramid (3:12-3:24), Wendy gets stuck in the window and Jack enters the suite, grinning like a jackal (3:27), Wendy gives up trying, and Jack says, “Come out, come out, wherever you are” (includes 3:42). Wendy gives a second try to squeeze through, and Jack tries the bathroom door handle. Jack arrives at the door at 3:57 (237 seconds).
  • 6:03-6:25 (122:52-123:14) – Jack knocks and Wendy tells Danny to run and hide. The 372-second moment (6:12) is 2:03:01 on the film’s time code (Bluebeard), and features Jack grinning like a serpent about his door knocking abilities. Wendy telling Danny to run “Quick!” is 382 seconds (6:22).
  • 7:51-7:59 (123:15-123:23) – Jack saying “Little pigs, little pigs, let me come in!” Followed by Wendy grabbing the knife out of the bathroom sink. I see that 7:51 as a wonky 217, followed by the wonky 237 of 7:53. In fact, the moment for the 237 is 2:03:17.
  • 6:45-7:19 (with 4:16-4:17) (123:24-123:58) – Jack finishes his big bad wolf speech and begins chopping. Wendy begins to scream in protest. Up to the axe punching into the room. We’ve discussed the 4:17 bit already, but 6:57 is 417 seconds, and that part of the song happens at exactly 2:03:36, right as Jack is finishing his big bad wolf threat, and the shot cuts to the sideways look of him chopping at 2:03:37/2:03:38. One of my theories is that the hotel wants to suck Wendy into room 236, so blending her “home” number with her “new home” number is pretty apt given the terror she’s about to experience. Also, the axe head first punches into sight (if not all the way through) at the 7:12. And just in case that 7:16-revenge bit from before is accurate, that time code features his next chop into the door. It’s kind of amazing that all these chops happens just these many seconds apart, and paired with such an incredible performance from Shelley Duvall. I guess that’s the magic of moviemaking.
    • Also, I should note that this was the first part of the song to move backwards in time. From here, the dominant sound will be going backward through the song, with the exception of that little 4:16-4:17, which would be out of step with the next three jumps back in time code. And, again, it’s possible there’s other little moments from the song happening inaudibly. But, yeah, the backward move through the song happens right in the middle of Jack’s Three Little Pigs performance, and starts with the time code 123:24, which is a jumble for both Bluebeard and The Three Little Pigs.
    • Also, 719, the final second, times two is 1438/23:58, and it lands on 123:58. Also, 7:19 is 439 seconds.
  • 5:39-5:46 (123:59-124:06) – Wendy reacts to more axe chops. The one thing that one could say about this moment is quite a jumble. 5:46 could become 429, novel Danny’s escape number, if you flip both the five and the six, though I don’t usually like to go quite that far with my jumbles. I guess it’s interesting that the film’s time code in that moment is 2:04:06. That’s a little less jumbly. Oh, I suppose there’s also the moment 5:42, which is 342 seconds, which is the room for the Grady girls. But the drama in this moment is fairly static. I guess it brings to mind, anyhow, that the real Grady women probably begged for their lives like this.
  • 3:09-3:42 (with 4:47-4:58) (124:07-124:40) – Jack finishing chopping, saying, “Here’s Johnny!”, getting chopped by Wendy, and Hallorann’s coming to the rescue. In the first second we get the story code (447), then 3 second later it’s 3:12 (Bluebeard) (Jack staring in through the hole, about to give the last two chops), 2 seconds later it’s 294 seconds in the shorter music clip (a 429 jumble), 3 seconds after that it’s 3:17, and at 3:21 Jack is leaning in to the door wedge to do Here’s Johnny!, which he does from 3:24-3:26 (the Grady and Wendy room jumbles). At 3:27 and 3:28 Wendy is reacting against the wall like a fish flopping around on the floor of a boat. Jack grabs the key in the lock, and Wendy brings the knife down at 3:33, which is the AT code for Little Red Riding Hood, but also 213 seconds. Wendy chops Jack at 3:34 (214 seconds), giving him a reverse Three Little Pigs. At 3:37 (217 seconds) Jack reacts in horror to his chopped hand, and the shot cuts to Hallorann’s windscreen view. We’re saved! But Dick won’t be…
    • Also, note that this is the only section to repeat earlier music from this song, having accompanied Jack getting through the first door, Danny sliding down the snow pyramid (3:12-3:24), Jack grinning as he climbs the steps into the apartment (Here’s Johnny), and Wendy giving up on trying to escape for the first time, and Jack saying “Come out, come out, wherever you are”. That last bit pairing with Hallorann coming to the rescue speaks to my theory about that line, and how it connects to Dick’s murder.


Coming at 130:27-132:11, the track fades in at a very tricky moment, barely audible beneath the Utrenja happening loud and clear as Jack scans the exterior for a hiding Danny. You have to edge the music back several times to hear the moment that it’s hissing sound first emerges beneath the other song, and isn’t that such a cool visual metaphor for this moment? Danny will defeat Jack by walking backward through his steps, but in this moment, he’s walked backwards through Dick Hallorann’s steps so that Jack won’t be able to see how he’s run to hide behind the snowcat. And Utrenja is the song that explodes into sound when Jack gives Dick the chop, and when Wendy sees Dick’s corpse later on. So it’s like Kanon is hiding inside the Kill Dick song.

The song therefore fades in at 1:27 (130:27) and plays straight through to 3:00 (132:00). But there’s another cool thing here, first noticed by Sbravatti: a later part of the song (3:06-4:01) comes on at 131:16 and layers with the other part consistently up until that part cuts out at 132:00, and this part carries on until 132:11. So we actually have 2:28 of music playing in 1:44 amount of screen time. Although, just so you know, there’s a really quiet part at 3:00-3:06 that might be part of that second layer, which would mean it’s 2:34 of music in 1:44 of screen time. That would mean it’s 43 seconds of the first layer, then 50 seconds of both together, and then 11 seconds of the second layer solo. I’m actually not sure if that’s terribly important, but it could be a reference to how Danny’s lessons and escapes go 1234-2341, if you make that 5 in 50 into a 2.


So, the start of this performance starts earlier than the first performance, but meets it at the 2:00 mark, which is the shot of Jack noticing Danny and beginning to give chase. There’s a lot of significant number combos in that first section, but one I especially like is that Danny’s face emerges from behind the snowcat at 1:47, a 417 jumble.

Of the parts that appeared during Jack chopping into Suite 3:

  • Danny is first seen running in the maze at 2:15, which was when Wendy slammed the door on the bathroom from before.
  • He makes the first of his two left-right turns at 2:17, which is when Wendy was locking the door. This is also where the second layer of music has joined, and is now at 3:07, which was the moment where Jack unlocked the front door, after saying, “Wendy? I’m home.” And since Danny is here enacting his first escape pattern, recall that this corresponds to the left-rights he made when Wendy was showing him the maze, and that these left-rights are backwards from the left-rights he made there, so these first two turns correlate to the last two turns in the maze, which come right after the “Dead end” that they hit together. That feels like an insanely beautiful comment on how Danny gets out of the bathroom, but for Wendy it’s a dead end, and how that dead end is probably what saves Wendy, but kills Dick. And the fact that it’s now a time code referring to the evil rooms from book and film, draws our thoughts to how that place was a kind of dead end. But it does contain the lesson key, which is what Danny’s supercomputer brain is now processing.
  • Danny stumbles into the snow at 2:27/3:17, which is 147/197 seconds.
  • He almost runs the wrong way at 2:31/3:21.
  • He makes the last of this first set of turns at 2:37/3:27.
  • Jack cries out for Danny at 2:43/3:33.
  • Jack cries “I’m coming!” at 2:49/3:39. I’m just highlighting the 429 jumble that time.
  • Finally, Dan’s feet are throwing snow in the viewer’s face at 3:57 (237 seconds) (132:07 of the film) of the second layer.


Coming at 133:03-134:52 (or possibly to 135:03), this plays over Danny’s second escape sequence, which correlates to his meeting room 237 for the first time. That scene, like the one of Wendy showing him the maze, features Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, so perhaps there will be a similar relationship between these Kanons and those Bartóks. Anyway, he makes his final turn into the heart of the maze at 2:13:14, the shot cutting away from him dashing up the middle path at 2:13:17. That’s the start of his third escape pattern, correlating to his final encounter with the Grady twins, so that 2:13:14 is perfect for that.

The piece begins at 2:00 and plays to 2:20, same as the first scene of Jack chopping the door, and Wendy locking the bathroom. In fact, it repeats the editorial style of that sequence, jumping to 2:25 to avoid the lull in sound, but this time, it carries on past the 2:37 mark to the 2:56 mark (2:13:52), where, again, same as before, it jumps ahead to the 3:00 mark (2:13:53) and plays straight right up until 134:52. I’ve wondered if there might be a continuation of the song, but now I’m less certain of that. The next 11 seconds of the track contains only one loud bang amidst otherwise silence, and this would occur during a part of the movie soundtrack where Utrenja is mixed high enough to drown out almost anything, but I still think this bang would’ve been noticeable. In any case, I went forward to see if the next noticeable bits occurred when they should and they certainly don’t.

  • At 2:17 Jack is screaming, “You can’t get away!”
  • At 2:27 (147 seconds) “I’m right behind ya!”
  • At 2:31 Wendy is running past the wall where the F21 key will be (a key that helps us understand Jack ends up in room 231).
  • At 2:34 Wendy reaches the skeleton ball and shrieks.
  • At 2:37-2:40 we cut to her reaction face. The 42-points-worth of F21 photos are behind her.
  • 2:41-2:47 is shots of the skeleton ball.
  • 3:05-3:24 is the first shot of Danny walking backward through his steps. This would include 3:07, 3:12. 3:17, 3:21, and of course, 3:24.
  • 3:31-3:38 is the second shot of Danny walking backward, and then setting the trap for Jack. He’s brushing away his tracks all during the 217-second mark (3:37).
  • 3:38-3:54 is Wendy approaching the bloodfall.
  • 3:54-3:59 is five seconds of bloodfall. So 134:50 is the 237-second mark.

Given how simple the drama of this sequence is, I bet we’d get a lot more out of it by studying the mirrorform, but I don’t have the patience for that right now.


Coming at 136:20-137:59, this starts as Danny completes his third escape pattern, and runs to complete the final pattern. It carries on during shots of Jack being confused, Wendy and Danny reuniting, racing into the snowcat, and beginning to leave Jack behind, while he finds himself stumbling and defeated.

The first thing we hear is 6:02 of the song as Danny’s flees the heart of the maze. And this continues up to the 7:23 mark, though, this is another instance where the recording is isolated in one ear, and just has a much different mix than the film version. But this is certainly that passage of the song. It gets quickly confusing, though, because within seconds Kubrick introduces a different part of the song to layer over it.

The confusion begins with how, 2 seconds into the start (136:20) of this sequence (136:22) a second layer of Kanon comes on, and it’s the high, keening strings from 5:41-6:00 of the track. But it only plays for 9 seconds before becoming inaudible beneath the frenzy of other sound (my guess is that it does truly stop). So this could be almost any moment from that passage of time. My guess is that it would be 5:41-5:49, for reasons I’ll get into.

That actually means that the next 1:05 is just the original song without aural competition, but starting things off with that little duality makes you think you need to scrutinize the rest of this piece very carefully.

Then, at 137:36, 5 seconds before the first part peters out, the part of the song starting at 3:00 comes on the soundtrack, mixed so that you almost can’t hear it where it comes on. Where it really gets audible is at 3:06, when the skritchy string plucking comes on. From there until 137:59 it’s competing for our attention with a recurrence of On the Nature of Sound #2.

  • So as Danny begins to flee, this is the same music as when Jack was knocking on the bathroom door before doing his “Little pigs” bit. At 6:12 (372 seconds), we’re seeing a Danny’s-eye-view of the snow tracks, turning his first left of his final escape pattern. Also, the earlier scene featured Wendy telling Danny to “Run! Run and hide! Run! Quick!” and that passage is here a passage of Jack being lost and confused. So, while Danny’s first attempt at running and hiding got Dick killed, this running and hiding gets Jack killed.
  • The 9 seconds of 5:41-5:49 pair with 6:04-6:12 of the first part of the performance. So if 5:49 is meant to look like a 429 jumble, it’s cool that it pairs with the 372-second mark, and the start of Danny’s last escapes. In fact, his last escapes correlate to his first lessons, which are four lefts, so it’s impossible to say if it’s matching the left-rights, like the second escape and third lesson, or if it’s a reversal of the order, like the other two sets. But since this first left is happening at 372 (and maybe 429, novel Danny’s escape number), Danny’s first left in his lessons is right beneath where room 237 is upstairs, so that could be the answer to that age old mystery.
  • Also, we had part of this 5:41 passage earlier, during a short sequence of Wendy reacting to the axe having punched through into the bathroom. I wonder if part of using it before (I had a hard time making any numeric significance of it), was to associate it to our sense of Wendy’s ultimate terror, so that introducing it here would give us the vague feeling that Danny wouldn’t truly escape Jack, or that he might be running toward Jack somehow.
  • The part of the song that repeats the time codes 6:45-7:19, is echoing the scene where Jack does the second half of his big bad wolf speech, and then chops the door, right up to when the axe-head punches through, which, recall, was the part where that tiny bit of 4:16-4:17 was also layered into the mix. There, 6:45-6:57 is the wolf speech, and 6:58-7:19 is the axe chops. Here, the first 9 seconds is Jack walking fruitlessly back and forth across a patch of maze. Then we cut to Wendy running toward the snowcat at 6:55 so that the 417-second mark (6:57) is her halfway to the cat, with the bathroom window up above her head. The window is out of view by the next second, and she reaches the cat at 420/421.
    • And this could be purest coincidence, but the snowcat is a model called the Spryte. She reaches it at 7:00. Sprite is the soda counterpart to 7up, and 7ups appear all over the movie, often in stacks of 6 crates. And 6 x 7 = 42.
  • We cut to Danny’s last escape shot at 7:02, or 422 seconds, which would be a jumble of 242, the room the hotel wanted to absorb him into. He stumbles into the snow at 428, and Wendy sees this and screams his name…at 429! Huzzah! They made it!
  • Danny rises out of the snow calling out for his mom at 7:12, or 432 seconds.
  • Mother and son embrace at 7:16, which, remember, I thought might be Jack’s revenge number. It’s on a box beside his head, when Wendy drops him in the pantry. Here, the film’s time code is 2:17:32, which feels apt.
  • Also, it was at 7:19 of the former version that there was that 4:17 skritch, and here the sound is missing, but mother and son are embracing, and all seems right with the world for a moment.
  • We cut back to trapped Jack at 7:20-7:27. Which would include 7:21, and 7:23, where the first part of the song peters out. The second part started at 7:18 of the first part, at 3:00 of the composition. So it’s 3:05 when the other part cuts out and 3:08 when we cut away from Jack.
  • From 3:09-3:20 Wendy and Danny are racing to the cat. They get there at 3:14, and Wendy’s opening the door and lifting him in at 3:17 (197 seconds, a book Danny escape number). This also means that the Bluebeard number, 3:12, was chasing them there.
  • At 3:21 of the song (2:17:56) we’re actually 3:21 from the end of the movie, how cool is that? This also features a cut to Jack stumbling more, as the song plays out at 3:24, 5 seconds before Jack falls in the snow.
  • I also want to spare a thought for what was happening in the earlier manifestations of 3:00-3:24.
    • In the first instance, Jack was saying “Wendy? I’m home!” And then unlocks the door (3:07), and Wendy shoves Danny down the snow pyramid (3:12-3:24).
    • In the second performance, Danny was executing his first set of escape patterns, correlating to his earlier maze walk, almost running the wrong way at 3:21.
    • And in the third performance, there’s 5 seconds of Jack giving chase (he almost goes the wrong way, in fact), and then 3:05-3:24 is Danny’s complete first backward walk in the heart of the maze. At 3:12 is when he makes the first backward step and almost loses his balance.
    • So I guess the common denominators here are Danny’s escape and jack’s imprisonment. For Danny it goes, snow pyramid, first escape pattern backward walk, hugging mom and running to the snowcat. For Jack it’s announcing his “home” status, almost failing to even follow Danny’s footsteps in the maze, and then hollering in defeat. Not the most mind-boggling series of interconnections, but they’re the only passages that play in each performance of Kanon, which, as you can see if you read all this, is one of the most complex sound patterns in the film. It makes me wonder if there’s some special significance to the 3:00-3:24 passage, either for the numbers or for that part of Penderecki’s song. Like, did Kubrick have some insider knowledge about what these passages meant to the composer?
    • So, I just went through every chapter 3 from every applicable book in the bible, and found that only three of them stop at verse 24. The book of Genesis, the first book of Chronicles, and the first book of John. Chronicles 3:1-24 is just a list of sons and fathers, which does speak to what’s going on here. John 3:1-24 is interesting, because it’s mainly your typical “here’s how to be a good believer” kind of chapter, but at 3:12 (our Bluebeard number), it brings up Cain, almost out of nowhere. If you read the TIMING section for The Awakening/Dream of Jacob, you’ll recall that there seemed to be a subtle bible verse about Cain invoked in that song’s timing subtext. It’s for the version of the song that plays during Jack’s 237 experience. Genesis 3:1-24 is perhaps the most interesting of all, since it’s the story of Adam and Eve falling from god’s graces. Here, 3:12 is Adam passing the buck of blame unto Eve, and getting them both banished from paradise forever. And isn’t that just like the Bluebeard story? A male lord tells a woman not to gain knowledge from the forbidden room, and then tries to kill her for violating his edict. Actually, Chronicles 3:12 lists “Amaziah” as a descendent of Solomon, and the middle of his name is “maze”, which apparently meant “strength” in Hebrew. That’s similar to the meaning of Hercules’ original name, Alcides, which meant, “the strength of men”. In the film, the maze is correlated to the hotel’s forbidden room, by way of all the 237 patterns, and here we have a father trying to kill a son, and a son arranging conditions that kill the father. When Danny backward walks, he’s enacting one of the most visual aspects of the tenth labour of Hercules, the walking backwards of Geryon’s red cattle, so that they leave no trail. So I’d say there’s something to this.