What's bad about an Augmented Fourth Interval

Discussion in 'Beginner's Q&A Forum' started by ronnieanand, May 6, 2005.

  1. ronnieanand

    ronnieanand n00bier th@n th0u

    This is a wierd but true thing. As you know from the basic interval theory and also from your own experiences, most commonly used interval progressions are I, IV and V which means notes or chords along the Root, Perfect Fourth and Perfect Fifth. The note between the Perfect Fourth and Perfect Fifth is called Augmented Fourth or Diminished Fifth or also called as the Tritone.
    If you take G, then the perfect fourth is C and perfect fifth is D and the tritone is C#.

    NOTE: Before you read further, remember the contents could be disturbing, so if you are one of those thin hearted, close the browser immediately and go home and drink milk. And also rep me for saving your life just in time.

    This interval has a disturbing effect to the brain and also quite evil to other beings as well as plants. In ancient days, this was called as a devil's interval and it went as far as to even ban this interval from being played in churches. This was also thought to be played by Devil in Hell. Musical Punishment, I guess ;) . This was also enough justification and reason for a lot of metal bands that began using this. Even now, your traditional band and straight forward band never uses it. The same note could figure in whenever a chromatic run or as an incidental note but usually gets avoided being played on the same intervallic difference.

    Flat Fifth Power Chord ......

    D ----+------+------+------+-------
    A ----+------+-b5--+--P5-+-------
    E ----+---R-+------+------+-------

    R = Root, b5 = Flat Fifth or Augmented Fourth or Tritone, P5 = Perfect Fifth

    5th Power Chord = R + P5
    Flat Fifth Power Chord = R + b5

    Play this Flat Fifth power chord and hear for yourself as how disturbing it sounds. It wont sound pleasant obviously. It's meant to be bad, wicked and evil.

    Flat Fifth Progression .......

    Lets take a chord progression of power chords for some Rhythm playing. I am not even going to tell you about the strumming pattern or timing. It's all on your own choice.

    G - C# - G
    C - F# - C

    Try these two evil progressions.
    These are just the basics and you could take it as far as your imagination can take you. You could take your Major or Minor chords and replace the fifths with the flat fifths and hear this "Home Made Evil".

    Finally, after you go home and play this, dont blast me because you got pissed off, someone at home fell sick, your dog started howling and your brother points a cross at you anytime he sees you.

    Anyway, you needn't use this, at least it's a knowledge you could be aware of.
  2. deathdr_87

    deathdr_87 Awesome Guitarist

    actaully theres some reasoning behind this...

    if u read my lesson on modal theory ull know that the locrian mode is the 'darkest sounding' mode of them all because it has the maximum number of flats as comapred to the ionian.

    the diminsihed chord is also chord based on the 1st, 3rd and 5th of the locrian... here the 5th will be flattened to give the interval of a flattened 5th - this is why the flattened 5th interval itself sounds very dark... its the disticnt sound of the dimished chord...
  3. ronnieanand

    ronnieanand n00bier th@n th0u

    True. Diminished chord is an evil by product of the evil interval.

    By the way, Locrian mode in ancient days was considered unplayable musically. But it was still put that way by the Greeks for the sake of completeness. Black Sabbath is the first band to put Locrian Mode into use. Later plenty of guys copied it.
  4. ronnieanand

    ronnieanand n00bier th@n th0u

    Hi Death,
    One small question. You said that there's a reason behind Flattened fifth sounding evil. But you have only said that diminished chord is from Locrian scale, which has a flattened fifth, hence it's evil. I though you might answer why it's evil, when you said that there's a reason behind it. Diminished chords are easily derivable from Major Chords. Infact I feel the name Diminished itself makes more sense if you look at it from a Major Scale point. The fifth interval is diminished by half a step.
    By the way, I am not challenging anything, just trying to see if we can explore more by questioning each other. It might help for some deeper understanding.
  5. deathdr_87

    deathdr_87 Awesome Guitarist

    yaya chill - i dont mind criticism... except when im not in the mood for it hahaha

    actaully a diminished chord can be derived from a minor chord - even though id generally avoid thinking of a dimished this way...

    u see.. a diminished is a minor chord with a flattened 5th - now in ur examples uve removed the third - so its neither minor or major...

    but otherwise dimsihed chords have the minor 3rd interval...

    now im not too sure of why the more flats there are in a mode - the more evil or dark it sounds..i ve been doing some work on this but ahvent actually got much...

    i think its just inherent in music...

    actually i just picked up my guitar and started aplying trhee modes - im really trying to understnd this - why does more flats mean a darker sound?

    from wat i heard afterplying - i think its something to do with the expectation of sound...

    ok this explanation is going to be really vgue but i think im onto something...

    u see- our ears are most acclamatised to the major scale...

    we like how it sounds... now thats something not too controversial...

    but when we play a note thats not on the major sclae- thus another mode... our ears pick up those notes as a change...

    something new different..

    now how does this lead to a darker sound?

    the further lower a note is from wat its supossed to be - the elss our ears like it - im nots aying we dont like it- but somehow our ears dont - ok this soudns funny when i read it but i cant say it better..

    thus more falts - its sounds darker - more 'wrong'... while we move up along the circle of fourths - we lie it- its all happy - down the circle of fifth - it gets sad...

    thats all i can say - ehnce locrian is most 'wrong' and evil....

    well... ok that makes no sense... but well im sorry - this subject is really abstract...
    tejas likes this.
  6. ronnieanand

    ronnieanand n00bier th@n th0u

    Mmmmm ok..... Wierd stuff. I gave you several thousand points for your explanations.
  7. rabi_sultan

    rabi_sultan <Bulla Ki Jana>

    excellent work guys!!

    btw i can't give you reps because it says i have to spread it around first. Any other ways of giving you reps?
  8. deathdr_87

    deathdr_87 Awesome Guitarist

    thanks - nice thread in the 1st place ronnieanand
  9. ronnieanand

    ronnieanand n00bier th@n th0u

    Thanks guys.

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