Definition of The Enigma Variations from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


The Enigma Variations

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the name usually given to a popular piece of music by Edward Elgar called Variations on an Original Theme, written in 1899. An enigma is a mystery, and Elgar said that the music had a secret connection with another well-known tune, though no one has discovered for certain which tune it is. Some people think it may be Auld Lang Syne, while others argue that it is Rule, Britannia!. The Variations also contained another mystery, as each of the 13 parts was intended to represent one of Elgar's friends, but there were clues to them and they have all been identified.