Quick question on tritones.

Generally, you see tritones explained as augmented fourths. Is there any case in which you would see it described as a flattened fifth?

For example, a scale with a natural fourth followed by a flattened fifth?

As you probably know, they would fall on the same note, but I'm not totally clear on the concept. Is a tritone a nickname strictly for an augmented fourth, and wouldn't apply to a flattened fifth? I dunno.

As always, thanks in advance. Any help is appreciated. And if possible, don't be a d!ck. Yeah, not everyone knows as much as you may, but don't be an asshat about it.
I think the term tritone applies in all cases regardless of weather it would be best described as an augmented 4th or a diminished 5th - the term tritone comes from the fact that it is built from adding/stacking (dont know the right word) three tones (six semitones).

If you are talking about a scale or a chord which has a perfect fifth and a tritone interval from the root then you would call it an aug4, and if it had a perfect fourth and a tritone interval from the root then it would be a flat5.

I hope someone better informed comes to confirm/deny/clarify this.
But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do
A tritone is an interval distance of 3 tones (tri=3 tone).
Much like a semitone is a half tone, it is also a minor second interval.
a whole tone is major second.

It is just as valid to referred to a diminished fifth as a tritone as it is a diminished fourth.

Probably the most commonly found use of the tritone is in a dominant seventh chord. It is a diminished fifth.

For example look at C7
C E G Bb
E to Bb is a diminished fifth interval.
It is a tritone.

============
In the major scale the distance between the fourth degree and the seventh degree of a major scale is an augmented fourth.
C Major scale
C D E F G A B C (The distance from F up to B is a tritone and it is an augmented fourth.

But the G7 chord is G B D F the distance from that B up to F is a tritone but is a diminished fifth.

A diminished fifth inverts to an augmented fourth and vice versa.

A tritone inverts to a tritone.

An augmented fourth is just as validly a tritone.

C D E F G A B
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Mar 31, 2012,
That clears up a lot. Thanks so much.
An diminished 5th is just an inversion of an augmented 4th

Take the C Major scale for example
C D E F G A B C

Take the 4th and 7th note, F to B which makes an augmented 4th

The same notes inverted, B to F is an diminished 5th

An augmented 4th wants to expand, while a diminished 5th wants to contract.

Aug 4th: F - B wants to resolve to E - C; each note moves outwardly in stepwise motion

Dim 5th: B - F wants to resolve to C - E; each note moves inwardly in stepwise motion

The term tritone only indicates the special nature of this interval class, as it is the catalyst for resolution. Aug4/Dim5 specifies exactly what form it takes.

...modes and scales are still useless.

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Last edited by Xiaoxi at Mar 31, 2012,
yeah, there the same thing. I got confused kinda like you but it was on sightreading. I saw E# and B# written in the score. But, I later found out that its notated like that because of the key signature it was it. Xiaoxi is right, context is important
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yeah, there the same thing. I got confused kinda like you but it was on sightreading. I saw E# and B# written in the score. But, I later found out that its notated like that because of the key signature it was it. Xiaoxi is right, context is important

They're not the same thing precisely because of context.

Take F - B for example. Now, without context or knowing that this is notated F - B, two things can happen.

It could go to E - C; aug 4th, expanding; tonality of C major

But it could also go to Gb - Bb (from F - Cb); dim 5th, contracting; tonality of Gb major

Wagner exploited this concept to reach the limits of tonal harmony.

A better way to express what you meant is to say that the intervallic distance is the same (6 half steps).

...modes and scales are still useless.

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Last edited by Xiaoxi at Apr 1, 2012,
I think seeing them both on a staff can help explain why one is called one. Two notes that are a 4th apart (any 4th) have a line and a space between them. Notes that are a 5th apart (any 5th) have a line and 2 spaces between them.
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