Is it true that during the middle ages there were some musical chords that were forbidden by the Roman Catholic Church? I heard somewhere that you would be even punished by the inquisition then for playing those chords in public. If that's true, I wonder what chords were they?

I've read a few articles on the history of European music, similar to this one:


but couldn't find any mention of forbidden chords.


1 Answer 1


I guess you mean the Tritone - I think tales that it was banned or involved the Spanish Inquisition are fanciful.
[BTW, the Inquisition mainly just gave people a verbal slap on the wrist; a few Hail Marys to say - their history is also often fanciful ;) Between them it makes for a good meme, but not really an accurate history.

There are two accounts of the Inquisition on Wikipedia, though one is disputed…
Spanish Inquisition
Historical revision of the Inquisition

Probably the best known example of the tritone - & certainly right there if your face without having to search for it - is the introduction to Jimi Hendrix's Purple Haze

  • I cite Black Sabbath off volume Black Sabbath by Black Sabbath for tritone. Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 19:03

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