This interesting article by pianist and composer Kurt Ellenberger, recently brought to our attention by our Nameless Wizard on the message boards and via email by Niclas (thanks to you both!), contains a description of the use of this interval in Ghost's music:
"[...] they also rely heavily on one of the favorite motifs of the early 20C atonal expressionist composers like Anton Webern and Arnold Schoenberg. The motif is identified by music theorists as Forte Set 4-9 or (0167). This "set" is a collection of four pitches containing two tritones, a half-step apart, which is quite a dissonant collection of pitches. "Tritone" is the term used to describe the distance or "interval" between two pitches that are six half-steps apart, and it has a long and storied career in music owing to its inherent tonal instability and generally "spooky" qualities. For centuries, it was actually referred to as diabolus in musica-"the devil in music" or the "Devil's Interval." Additionally, (0167) is a set that cannot, like major and minor chords, be transposed to twelve different pitches; this set actually repeats itself when transposed at the tritone, so there are only six possible transpositions. Ghost's music is thus steeped in (0167) and its subsets. The set can be heard in many of their songs as part of the harmony and bass activity, but it can also be heard as the melody in 'Death Knell' from Opus Eponymous, which is notable because it is such a dissonant set of pitches.[...]"
Six, of course. Could this be any more brilliant?
Perhaps many Slayer fans among us already have read a lot about this, since the band even named one of their albums "Diabolus In Musica", but for those of us who haven't, as interesting and intriguing this can be, here are some further readings:
|"Le Songe de Tartini" ("Tartini's Dream")|
by Louis-Léopold Boilly
"The Devil's Music", By Finlo Rohrer , BBC News Magazine
"The Devil’s interval", by Jimmy Veith
"The Devil's Chord - Exploring the history of the tritone",By Brian Allan
Excerpt from "Devil's Trident", Richard Merrick
"The Devil’s Interval",By Jerry Tachoir
Not surprisingly, it has been used also in the soundtrack of one of our favorite movies, "Blood On Satan's Claw", as this article on The Guardian explains:
"Satan's all-time greatest hit", by Will Hodgkinson
So yes, like many of us use to say describing the effect of Ghost's music, when we have claimed to be "under their spell", we were actually right. ;)