WINNIPEG — AN Italian musicologist is accusing a Manitoba jazz musician of plagiarizing his discovery of music embedded in a famous Leonardo da Vinci painting.
The Milan-based literary agent for Giovanni Maria Pala says his client is consulting his lawyers to see what court should hear the case.
St. Andrews-based jazz guitarist Jeari Czapla has garnered attention for his YouTube video in which he reveals a 40-second composition hidden in Leonardo's late 15-century painting The Last Supper.
But Pala, who is also a drummer and author, says the composition is virtually identical to the one he "discovered" and wrote about in 2007.
"It is note for note the same as the one this Canadian guitarist has on the web," said Tuvia Fogel of the literary agency Il Caduceo.
Fogel said that a California-based publisher, The Americas Group, is releasing a young-adult version of Pala's book on the subject, Leonardo Da Vinci's Musical Gift and Jewish Connections.
"Pala thinks that Leonardo's mother was Jewish," Fogel said. "It would explain his familiarity with the ideas of Jewish mysticism at the time."
Czapla, who has been trying to sell his own jazz song inspired by Leonardo's alleged music, admits that he discovered Pala's theories online in 2007 while he was researching the idea himself.
He insists that his discovery was independent of Pala's and grew out of ideas he had while a music student in the late 1980s.
Czapla also says he has tried to contact Pala with the idea of a collaboration, but the latter did not respond to his emails.
"I'm not trying to take anything away from him," said Czapla, who teaches music in St. Andrews. "Kudos to him. It's fascinating that of the seven billion people in the world, only two of us have hit upon this idea."
Two Winnipeg music historians who have looked at Czapla's YouTube video dismissed it as foolish.
Hidden meanings in The Last Supper also figure prominently in American writer Dan Brown's blockbuster novel The Da Vinci Code.