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The Beast in Music – The Devil’s Tritone

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Music is one of the encouraged ways of expressing emotions and has been followed by millions not only human but also other animals that alternate the frequency and pitch of their voices as a method of communication. Music can sound cheerful, distraught, cautious but today we’re focusing on a specific mood that is the eerie feeling that runs up our spines which is brought upon most popularly by The Devil’s Triad – the diminished Fifth.

The Devil’s Tritone (Triad/ Interval) and diabolus in musica  is a combination of tones that has led to the birth of one of the most chilling chord and hence creating mystical melodies in music history, leading it to be even banned by certain authorities and the Church as it is claimed to be the sound of the devil.

According to Carl E. Gardner, it is a composition of three whole tones, specifically one fundamental or starting note plus the third and fifth tones along its scale ( e.g. C, E, G) forming an independent or dependent chord.

John Sloboda, a professor of Music Psychology at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama, explained that the dissonant intervals of the Devil’s Tritone are particularly affecting because of the listener’s instinct to find resolution in music. (2012)

5 of the most renowned songs that use the Devil’s Tritone:

  1. Black Sabbath – “Black Sabbath
  2. Metallica – “Enter Sandman”
  3. Jimi Hendrix — “Purple Haze”
  4. Danny Elfman — “Theme from The Simpsons”
  5. Busta Rhymes – ” Whoa! Got You All In Check”

 

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