What is the Devil’s Chord Called?

Unveiling the Devil’s Chord: What’s the unsettling sound haunting your ears in thrilling music? Dive into the depth of music theory to decipher this mysterious harmony.

It’s often said that music is a language that transcends boundaries. Be it a lullaby that lulls a baby to sleep or a heart-throbbing rock anthem that sets a crowd on fire, the power of music is undeniable.

But what if I told you that there’s a chord so sinister, so unsettling, it was deemed diabolical and feared by the medieval church? What is this devil’s chord called? Hold onto your hats, folks! It’s going to be a wild ride!

What is the Devil’s Chord Called?

Believe it or not, the “Devil’s Chord,” as it’s fondly called, goes by the name “tritone.” Sounds pretty harmless, doesn’t it? But don’t be fooled by its benign nomenclature.

This discordant interval of three whole steps in the scale, or six half-steps, creates a sound so dissonant that it was considered to be the work of the devil in the Middle Ages.

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The Tritone: A Leap into History

This infamous interval is found between the fourth and seventh degrees of a major scale. In the key of C, for instance, the tritone consists of the notes F and B. But why did this particular pairing create such a ruckus?

Back in the day, the Church was a key player in the musical world. And let me tell you, they weren’t fans of the tritone. The chord’s dissonant, eerie sound was considered so unsettling that it was said to summon the devil himself! The tritone was even dubbed ‘diabolus in musica’ or ‘the devil in music.’ Pretty spooky, right?

The Devil’s Chord in Modern Music

Now, you might be thinking, ‘Why on earth would anyone want to use such a dissonant sound?’ Good question, dear reader. Despite its contentious reputation, the devil’s chord has found a home in modern music.

Making Waves in Jazz and Blues

The tritone might have been the black sheep of the medieval music family, but it’s the belle of the ball in jazz and blues. The chord creates that oh-so-familiar tension and release that jazz cats go bananas for. If you’ve ever grooved to a blues track, chances are, you’ve heard the devil’s chord in action.

A Staple in Rock and Heavy Metal

From Black Sabbath to Metallica, heavy metal bands have long embraced the dark and edgy sound of the tritone. It adds an element of suspense and foreboding that’s music to metal heads’ ears.

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Mastering the Devil’s Chord: Tritone Substitution

Despite its devilish reputation, the tritone isn’t all doom and gloom. In fact, when used wisely, it can add a flavorful twist to your music. One way to do this is through tritone substitution, a popular technique in jazz.

Understanding Tritone Substitution

In tritone substitution, you replace a dominant seventh chord with another dominant seventh chord a tritone away. This results in some spicy chord progressions that can jazz up any tune. It’s a piece of cake once you get the hang of it, and it’s sure to impress your fellow musicians.

Demystifying the Devil’s Chord: FAQs

  1. What is the Devil’s Chord called?
    • The Devil’s Chord is called the tritone.
  2. Why is the tritone considered the Devil’s Chord?
    • The tritone was dubbed the Devil’s Chord due to its dissonant and unsettling sound, which was believed to summon the devil in the Middle Ages.
  3. How is the tritone used in modern music?
    • Despite its sinister reputation, the tritone is frequently used in genres like jazz, blues, and heavy metal to create tension and drama.
  4. What is tritone substitution?
    • Tritone substitution is a technique in jazz where a dominant seventh chord is replaced with another dominant seventh chord a tritone away. It creates exciting chord progressions.
  5. Is the Devil’s Chord banned in music today?
    • No, the Devil’s Chord, or the tritone, is not banned in music today. In fact, it’s widely used across many genres.
  6. Is the Devil’s Chord inherently evil?
    • Despite its name, the Devil’s Chord isn’t inherently evil. It’s merely a musical interval that creates a unique, dissonant sound.


Music is a language of emotion, and the devil’s chord, or tritone, is a testament to this. From being feared as a tool of the devil to being embraced as an integral part of modern music, the journey of the tritone is a fascinating tale of change and acceptance.

So, the next time you hear that eerie, suspenseful sound in a song, you’ll know – that’s the devil’s chord making its presence known.

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