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November 12, 2006, 02:39:35 PM
On the surface there might appear to be no link
between Black Sabbath, Wagner's Gotterdammerung, West
Side Story and the theme tune to the Simpsons.

But all of them rely heavily on tritones, a musical
interval that spans three whole tones, like the
diminished fifth or augmented fourth. This interval,
the gap between two notes played in succession or
simultaneously, was branded Diabolus in Musica or the
Devil's Interval by medieval musicians.


Useful illustration:

Re: Tritones
November 12, 2006, 03:09:17 PM

The dotted line is the tritone.

What is the cosmic significance of this?

HINT: "Fallen angels take my hand!"

EDIT: That's called the "septacle" or "septagram" for your Google-enhanced semiotic pleasure.

Re: Tritones
November 12, 2006, 03:26:27 PM
The septagram is a seven-pointed star, a symbol of synthesis and mystery due to its links with the number seven. Seven is an integrating number, encapsulating as it does the hierarchical orders of classical mystical thought. There are seven planetary spheres governed by the seven planets of classical astrology, seven colors in the rainbow, seven days of the week and seven distinct notes in a diatonic musical scale.

The number three relates to Heaven and the higher realms, not just through the concept of trinity but also as the vertical axis of three-dimensional space; and the number four pertains to the Earth and manifest realms, partly through its relation to the square and the four directions of two-dimensional space. Seven and the septagram can thus be considered as representing the sum of Heaven and Earth, and they allude to the seven directions of space - two directions for each dimension plus the center. As an aside, twelve, the number of signs in the zodiac, is a number of totality, expressing the multiplicative possibilities of Heaven and Earth as well as Heaven in a new mode (12 and 3 are numerologically equivalent, as 1 + 2 = 3).

As an expression of the number seven, and in representing occult intelligence and the beauty of wholeness (rainbows and symphonies are weaved from seven), the septagram is linked to the Kabbalistic sefira Netsach. Other seven-fold systems that can be related to the septagram include the seven latifah (subtle faculties) of Islamic mystical thought and the seven major Hindu chakras - the base chakra (Muladhara), the sacral chakra (Svadisthana), the solar plexus chakra (Manipura), the heart chakra (Anahata), the throat chakra (Vishuddi), the brow chakra (Ajna) and the crown chakra (Sahasrara).


Re: Tritones
November 12, 2006, 04:00:35 PM
It should be noted that the lines are fifths.

According to horrible joke band and numerologists The Bloodhound Gang in their song "The Roof is on Fire", "If man is five and the devil is six then that must make me seven."

It should be noted that when the tritone is taken away, the interaction between two of the points (the "wings" when viewed right side up), if its thought of them as having equally attractive forces, meet in the middle to cause the C-Major scale depicted to collapse into C Pentatonic Minor, or a pentagram, which could be interpreted as depicting the golden symmetry of the human body.

Pentatonic Minor is the absolute most defining scale of rock music. It came into vogue around the 60s, which corresponded to a great increase in humanism. I think its fucking boring.

The Major scale is the absolute most defining scale of boring Christian hymns. The notes which comprise the tritone are only supposed to be used as passing tones, since they are "the devil in music". Personally, when working within music theory. I like to use the prescence of a tritone in a scale as a way to seamlessly dive into a diminished scale.

Re: Tritones
November 12, 2006, 05:13:47 PM
I think the penatonic scale is very interesting.  I love it in relation with Enka music, but you probably find that boring as well.

Re: Tritones
November 12, 2006, 05:20:16 PM
I think the penatonic scale is very interesting.  I love it in relation with Enka music, but you probably find that boring as well.

It's certainly more interesting than most of the popular music to emerge from Japan.  Some of it is truly haunting.

Re: Tritones
November 18, 2006, 01:03:34 PM
Pentatonic scales are just overused, and many people forget that the blues scale is a pentatonic with a chromatic note added. It's not a statement of theory, nor was it recognized by early blues and rock artists. It's a convenient way to play that requires little knowledge of how harmony works in music.

I've noted the pentatonic and pentatonic minor shuffle before and find it boring, just like the use of "exotic" scales by shredder guitarists (Steve Vai, I mean you). The best work I've heard is from metal guitarists who think they're playing chromatic but compose melodies as if modally within that, getting the greatest power of expression into the music because they have the fewest confining shapes. You have to kind of know what you're doing however...

Re: Tritones
November 18, 2006, 01:32:16 PM
That raises an interesting question.  Can you accidently create great music?  If the intent wasn't there, is it still great?