Melodies within the Vargo Gothic cards


This is so cool... this is one for the music lovers out there, and I'm afraid it may not make sense unless you read music. But if you're clairaudient like me, it's unbelievably cool.

Recently while discussing the Seven of Cups, I associated the very structured placement of the cups as musical notes, actually as a fingering exercise for piano. One - Three - Two - Four - One - Three - Two.

In the key of C (major or minor... I prefer minor, and I will use C as the key I'm transcribing to for all the tunes in this message) :

C - E - D - F - C - E - D

It's a haunting little refrain, if ever there was one, and the image shows a woman who appears to have opened a Pandora's box, with demons unleashed as she listens to the tune.

September Pixie was clever enough to include this link, played on the harp, for those who wish to hear it :

I hear the melody played two octaves above this version (i.e. one octave above Middle C) and more staccato, like a music box~! :D

But melodies can resonate at any level for the reader/listener, which is what is brilliant about these musical messages.

September Pixie mentioned she found more notes, which led me to grab my deck this morning. And thanks to her tip, I was flabbergasted to find MANY cards that suggest a tune!

This music box tune was the only one I found for the Cups suit.

The next most prevalent suit with music was the Wands. Some of these transcriptions take some imagination, but are worth the peek if you're game.

The Seven of Wands, a gargoyle perched with flaming red pendants (like notes) around him. This one seems to jump the octave, and I've roughly translated as :

D - C - High C - A - B - E - B

Very strange melody, and if you factor in the spaces between the wands, there are some interesting ways to add "rests" to the transcribed notes above that I didn't yet add in to this version.

(Really, if you add some musical theory to any of the following tunes, you could really work up some catchy melodies indeed, but this is my attempt to just transcibe the visual images into music).

The Nine of Wands, our Black Widow is holding a wand, which I've not transcribed, however next to her is the following melody :

C - E - D - A - D - F - B - D

This is is difficult transcription, but also very strange and haunting. Almost sounded, to me, like this Black Widow's theme song of sorts.... In the minor key, it's more effective.

The Ten of Wands, a long melody for 10 notes. Our graceful ghost descends the stairs, greeting us. The melody is kinda strange, disjointed, as if it almost picks up a tune, then abandons it for another.

C - F - D - G - Low B - E - Low B - G - E - A

I see no rests in this tune, as fi each note is a quarter note, with no pauses between.

Lastly, the Swords suit. The suit with the most tunes to hear, and some of the most complex. This took some doing on the piano to pick apart, and others might see a slightly different version if tempted to transcribe their own cards for themselves.

The 5 of Swords, the gleering jester clown. Oh this is classic, folks. Really...

If you take the stairs to be the treble clef, the following notes appear where the skulls are sitting around his feet :

High C - A [Rest] F - High C - A

Nah-nah.. ne-nah nah.... the classic children's "ha-ha" song we all know! And if that isn't the atmosphere of the Vargo's Five of Swords, I don't know what is....

The Seven of Swords, this tune MUST be played in the minor key for the proper effect, of that I'm sure. Again, use the steps as the treble clef.

C - E - G [Rest] E [Rest] G - E - C

This is a simple arpeggio-like tune, but if played in the minor key, it becomes a bit more suited to the dark bat woman we see poised over these notes.

The Nine of Swords, another must-be-minor tune. Our wicked gargoyle with the flaming red eyes would have it no other way, of this I'm sure. There are no rests in this tune :

C - B - A - C - E - D - C - B - C

And lastly, the 10 of swords. To be honest, I haven't the right mind to unravel this tune yet. As I look at these swords, I am tempted to see not just notes, but half-notes as well, and this morning I am rushed to get going, but obsessed with sharing these discoveries first.

So the 10 of swords will wait for now. And I hope others with instruments and/or the Gothic Vargo will enjoy these musical mad woman ramblings in the meantime! })

Have I mentioned lately how much I love this deck??? :D


Alissa said:
Have I mentioned lately how much I love this deck??? :D

Not enough my dear, not enough!

Pas assez souvent, ma chère, pas assez!

Of course we love this deck!!! My best friend took a look at my entire collection, and beside positive comments on the Fantastical (she might get one for Christmas), she said that they were pale in comparison to the Gothic. Who can resist to the Gothic? Who? Who dares?

I've read the musical comments on the other thread and downloaded the small piece of music. It's cute. I'm glad to see that this subject has its own thread now. With my limited musical knowledge, I couldn't do this. I have no idea what you're talking about, with your C's and your D's, but I'm glad you do, and some others do: otherwise we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Vargo is also a musician, he has made three CDs, that I hope to get one day along with all his stuff, so the idea that he might have put small musical scores on his cards is far from being ridiculous. I'm just eager for some musician here to record the musics so that we can all enjoy them along as we enjoy the cards.


That's lovely Pixie~! :D How did you visualize the music from the cards? I'm intrigued as to your own artistic process!

And thank you so much for posting the audio links, they are tremendously helpful.

September Pixie

Well... I used regular scale, and then kept them all the same tone as the harp melody... Some of the cups are equal height which could indicate for example "B - B - B - B" or just a long "B" which is what I did...I tried to keep the tempo the same.. I am going to try and attempt to add the court cards into the cups and then spruce it up a bit, and then attempt the wands... some of the wands have a weird melody attached to them so it will take some time to prune them because some of the wands could be one note or another...

BUT I am anxiously trying! :D


September Pixie said:
... some of the wands have a weird melody attached to them so it will take some time to prune them because some of the wands could be one note or another...
I noticed this as well, it can be tricky transcribing it when there is a *hair* of a difference between the placement of the "notes".

Great fun~! :D


Those are pretty wild!!!!

You just need somebody to record some more demo's...that was cool!!

I wonder what kind of an arrangement you would have if you laid out all the cards in a specific order....hehehe.

How clever would THAT be?

September Pixie

thats what we are trying to figure out :) going from Ace - King and wondering if its even one long song? and if so, which arrangements. I've been down yesterday evening with a slight tooth ache :( but today so far so good! If all goes well, I will try and record some more tonight.

How exciting is this!?


Cool stuff...

I ran over and turned on my electric piano, and switched it to Pipe Organ...too cool...

Ya know, you oughtta send this thread off to Joseph Vargo at Monlith Graphics...get his input.

Did he intend this, and sit back and wonder how long it would be before sombody noticed? Or is it simply a wonderful example of serendipity.

September Pixie

I thought of that too Umbrae :)