• Who Else Wants To Understand The Harmonic Implication Of The Tritone?

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    In today’s lesson, I’ll be sharing with you on the harmonic implication of the tritone.

    The tritone is one of the most important intervals in music, not just because of its harsh nature, but because of its harmonic implication, which is our focus in this lesson.

    When the purpose of a thing is not known, abuse is inevitable.

    The tritone is usually abused in terms of its application and that’s usually by the vast majority of musicians who are yet to understand its harmonic implication.

    From my keen observation, 87% of musicians in the church circle do not really know the consequence of playing the tritone. If you belong to that league of musicians, then this lesson is for you.

    I guarantee you that after this lesson, you’ll have a complete grasp of the tritone.

    A Thorough Exposition On The Tritone

    The term tritone should not be new to you, especially if you’re a gospel musician. However, for the sake of those who would probably be coming across the word for the first time, let’s get started by doing an exposition on the tritone.

    Definition Of The Tritone

    The tritone is a product of the division of an octave into two equal parts.

    The octave (C-C):

    …consists of twelve half steps:

    Consequently, it can be divided into two parts – with each part consisting of six half steps each:

    C to F#:

    Gb to C:

    The term tritone literally means three tones (aka – “whole steps”) and this is because there are three whole steps within the compass of a tritone. In the tritone C-F#:

    …there are three whole steps:



    …and E-F#:

    Earliest Occurrence Of The Tritone

    The earliest tritone that was discovered is F-B:

    …which is the only tritone between two white notes. The inversion of F-B:

    …produces B-F:

    …an inverted tritone which consists exclusively of white notes.

    The tritone was attributed to the devil, hence, it was named the devil in music by a generation of musicians who were mainly church men.

    Intervallic Description Of The Tritone

    The tritone can be considered as an interval because it is a product of the relationship between two notes. The earliest tritone to be discovered (which is F-B):

    …is an augmented fourth interval and this is because it is larger than every other diatonic fourth like C-F:




    The inversion of the tritone (an augmented fourth interval), produces an inverted tritone (which is a diminished fifth interval.) The inversion of F-B:

    …an augmented fourth interval, produces B-F:

    …a diminished fifth interval.

    “In A Nutshell…”

    There are two intervals that are synonymous with the tritone:

    The augmented fourth interval

    The diminished fifth interval

    The tritone C-F#:

    …is an augmented fourth interval, while the tritone C-Gb:

    …is a diminished fifth interval.

    It’s important to note that C-F#:

    …and C-Gb:

    …are the possible products of the division of the C octave:

    …into two equal parts.

    Intervallic Property Of The Tritone

    The Consequence Of Playing The Tritone

    The Harmonic Implication Of All Twelve Tritones

    Final Words

    The following two tabs change content below.
    Onyemachi "Onye" Chuku (aka - "Dr. Pokey") is a Nigerian musicologist, pianist, and author. Inspired by his role model (Jermaine Griggs) who has become his mentor, what he started off as teaching musicians in his Aba-Nigeria neighborhood in April 2005 eventually morphed into an international career that has helped hundreds of thousands of musicians all around the world. Onye lives in Dubai and is currently the Head of Education at HearandPlay Music Group and the music consultant of the Gospel Music Training Center, all in California, USA.

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The "Official Guide To Piano Playing." Click here for more information.


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