Through the knowledge of the nature of the tritone, the church and church musicians have embraced and harnessed the tritone they once forbade. We call the interval of three whole tones between two notes a tritone. In music theory, the tritone is strictly defined as a musical interval composed of three adjacent whole tones. This tension occurs due to the existence of a tritone. The Devil in Music – backstory. The tritone then is the perfect interval to underpin the music in West Side Story. Years ago you could get banned from the church for even playing a tritone due to its very “harsh” or dissonant sound. One specific type of tritone, known as the augmented fourth interval, or the Tritonus, spans across three whole steps in the scale and is one of the most dissonant musical intervals. Final Words So, C to F# is a tritone. An interval is a distance between two points. We measure distance on the piano in intervals. An example of a tritone is between the notes F and B: The tritone effect provides one of the most complex dissonances in Western music. It used to be called the “devil’s interval”. The tritone features prominently in Michael Tippett's second symphony, while an earlier use can be heard in Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. Before the emergence of major and minor scales, the interval was consi But what is a tritone? It just didn’t make sense to people. That is, when we simultaneously play two notes that are three tones apart, we are playing a tritone. The tritone was avoided in the middle ages and renaissance as being difficult to sing and very unpleasant – western music of the time was mainly spiritual in nature, so why would you use these incredibly discordant sounds when praising god? Hildegard of Bingen, 1098-1179. The devil’s interval has finally made it to church. One of the easiest keywords to attract church musicians with, is the tritone!. A tritone is the distance between the root and the #4.