Music Puzzles

So during one of my many, many random thoughts, something occurred to me. As a big fan of maths puzzles (remember this post?) I pondered the idea of transforming a maths puzzle into a music one. After all, anyone who knows almost nothing about music knows that it’s pretty much maths with sound. The majority of maths puzzles are based on a square grid and require you to input symbols that represent quantities. ie 1, 2, 3, 4.

Well funnily enough, musical notes are exactly that. Symbols that represent quantities. Portions of a beat, or of a note, or … well forget the preferred definition. Below are some examples of how you could easily transfer the essence of a maths puzzle into a music puzzle.

I present to you… Musical KenKen… or should that be… KenKen Beatz. Ugh, no, the first one.

*edit: Surely MusiKenKen??

First, here’s the available notes for each puzzle…Technically a crotchet (the third one down) is a ‘quarter note’, but I’m pretty sure we can say it lasts one beat. My music notation isn’t THAT rusty. Just… 15 years since I last thought about it.

note key


So this is puzzle one. Fill in each coloured grid with the correct notes to add up to the total amount of beats provided. No notes can be repeated on rows or columns.

Figured it out? Scroll down.


Puzzle two lets you have an EXTRA NOTE at your disposal… the semi quaver!


and the answer is below:


And finally puzzle 3, which allows you a fifth note, the mighty semibreve:



Answer below:


You could make them easier by providing a few notes here and there. You could also make them harder by introducing rests or dotted notes, or demisemiquavers etc, or different ‘operations’ like “-1″ meaning ‘the difference between the lengths of the two notes is 1 beat.”

Fun! Why do I occupy my brain with such random things? Who knows.

Pretty sure you could do this with a few other maths puzzles too… hmmm…

edit* Futoshiki would barely need altering:

v1 v2


3 thoughts on “Music Puzzles

  1. This is super cool!
    Have you figured out a “recipe” for converting a regular addition-only KenKen into a musical one? I’m guessing you just map each note to a number and adjust totals as needed? Any other tips?

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