Danny Elfman

The Devil’s Music: 10 Songs Based Around the Tritone Interval


If you’ve ever studied any music theory or are just given to reading about music, you’ve probably heard of the tritone — it’s an interval that’s three whole tones apart, and its dissonance means that it sounds sinister as hell. Some time in the 18th century, possibly earlier, it was dubbed diabolus in musica (the devil in music), and its use has historically been frowned upon in liturgical music, which generally relies on unison and harmony. (This, perhaps, gives rise to the oft-repeated story that the tritone was banned by the Catholic Church.) All this, of course, means that using it in your songs carries a certain inherent badassness — something exploited by the musicians who populate this list.
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