Example 2. Use of SPHINXES (= “acronyms”) related to the romantic relationship between Robert Schumann and Ernestine von Friken as found in his Carnaval (1834–35); original title: Fasching: Schwänke auf vier Noten von Florestan (intended for Ernestine but eventually dedicated to Carl Lipinski). The work is closed in ".fn_flat(A)." major, the key Schumann had associated with his earlier love Henriette Voigt and whose origin may be traced back to Florestan’s (!) aria “In des Lebens Frühlingstagen” in Beethoven’s Fidelio.

The Three SPHINXES (No. 9): unless otherwise noted, pitch classes occur in the soprano line of each piece’s opening measure(s).
 
SPHINX 1: S C H A = Eflat C B A (musical pitches in Schumann’s name). NOT used in music but found in title of “ASCH/ SCHA Lettres dansantes” (No. 11)
 
SPHINX 2: A S C H = A Eflat C B (Ernestine’s home town). Found in “Pierrot” (in tenor), “Arlequin,” “Valse noble” (as A Eflat B C), “Eusebius” (disguised), “Florestan,” “Coquette,” and “Papillons.”
 
SPHINX 3: AS C H = Aflat C B (another form of Ernestine’s hometown). Found in “ASCH-SCHA; Lettres dansantes,” “Chiarina“ (= Clara), “Estrella” (= Ernestine), “Reconnaissance,” “ Pantalon et Columbine,” “Valse allemande,” “Paganini” (m. 25), “Aveu,” “Promenade,” and the closing “Marche”.
 
In a letter to Moscheles (September 1837), Schumann admits adding the titles later and specifically mentions four pieces, all of which had ties to his romantic relation with Ernestine: “Estrella” = (Ernestine, “the kind of name one might put under a portrait so as if to fix it better in the memory,”), “Reconnaissance” (“a scene of reunion”), “Aveu” (“a declaration of love”), and “Promenade” (“a stroll arm-in-arm with one’s partner at a German ball”).