Student Transcribes 500-Year-Old “Butt Song From Hell”

Amelia Hamrick, an honours student in music and information systems at Oklahoma Christian University, has transcribed what is being called the “butt song from Hell,” which she and a friend found hidden in The Garden of Earthly Delights by Netherlandish painter Hieronymus Bosch.

Bosch’s hallucinatory triptych dates back to between 1490 and 1510 and has long been the subject of scholarly debate as to its meaning. But what piqued the interest of Hamrick and her friend Luke was what appeared to be music written on the hind parts of one of the painting’s many figures.

“Luke and I were looking at Hieronymus Bosch’s painting The Garden of Earthly Delights and discovered, much to our amusement, music written upon the posterior of one of the many tortured denizens of the rightmost panel of the painting which is intended to represent Hell,” wrote Hamrick.

According to a post on Hamrick’s blog, which has since amassed 56,817 notes and garnered media coverage, she decided to transcribe the Gregorian chant notation which she’d studied into modern notation, “assuming the second line of the staff is C, as is common for chants of this era.”

“So yes this is LITERALLY the 600-years-old butt song from hell,” she concluded. According to classical music blog Classicalite, Hamrick is allegedly the first person ever to transcribe the gluteal tune to a recorded medium. Readers can hear the results for themselves, below.

According to an update on Hamrick’s blog, “there are indeed errors in the transcription and this is indeed not a very good recording,” due to it being thrown together “in like 30 minutes at 1 in the morning.” She is currently working with her school’s music department to revise the transcription.

Listen: “Butt Song From Hell”

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