Recently I was informed that the augmented 4th has historically been viewed as satanic or "the devil in music" and wanted to start a collection of relatively modern (say 20th century onwards) songs that include this rather strange three tone interval. I understand that this is used in jazz fairly frequently so I would like to discount most songs from this genre, on the other hand if a certain jazz song is particularly interesting in using augmented 4th chord patterns I'd love to hear about it!

So far I have found a small collection of songs/melodies that use the interval:

Britten's War Requiem touches on the F#-C tritone during the Requiem Aeternam in the knell of the chimes

The Beatles in Blue Jay Way, amongst a few others from Harrison

"The Song of Healing" from the video game "Majora's Mask"

Jimi Hendrix's Purple Haze

(Interestingly, though slightly off topic, while watching an episode of "The Clangers" one hears a tritonic scale used throughout)

Are there any other modern uses of this? Sorry if I have broken any unspoken rules over question asking here; this is my first post.

3 Answers 3


The Simpsons theme (The Siiimp -- sons :-)

Maria, from Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story

are the ones that come to my mind.

A note of caution, though, the association of the expression "diabolus in musica" with Satanism seems to be an historical equivoque, as it was originally used only metaphorically to express the abhorrence to the dissonance of that interval felt by music scholars since the middle ages. So it was because of that epithet that the tritone may have been associated with Satanism, not the other way around.


A number of metal bands, such as Black Sabbath (in the eponymous song, for example) have used it. Thrashers Slayer even have an album called Diabolus in Musica, a gave numerous interviews expounding the virtue of the augmented fourth.


The tritone note is part of the blues scale (for example in C: C Eb F Gb G Bb). Plenty of modern music, especially rock/metal genres, base songs off this scale as it is merely the minor pentatonic scale (in C: C Eb F G Bb) with one extra note, the tritone.

In terms of using the tritone melodically, an immediate example that comes to mind is 'The Beautiful People' by Marilyn Manson, which traverses the tritone as the main riff.

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