Diabolus in musica

January 19, 2006

I’ve been a big fan of Love in Reverse for years. They ceased to be a while ago, and I was never quite as fond of Amazing Meet Project, but Ferentino’s next project, Transfusion M, looks quite promising. In any case, if you haven’t heard any Love in Reverse you owe it to yourself to listen to some, especially if you’re fond of post-grunge or neo-prog (whatever those mean), which is how Allmusic has decided to categorize them.

I Was Here is my favorite album of theirs—I was such a big fan of it that a few days after I bought a copy for myself, I went back to the record store and picked up another 5 or 6 copies that I gave out to friends in an evangelistic furore. The reason I was able to do that, incidentally, is also the reason why you can pick up a copy on the cheap as well. While it’s depressing to see such a good album sold at “please just take it off our hands” prices, with the entire music distribution apparatus writing it off as a loss, at least it means you have no excuse not to get a copy for yourself. Of course, Words Become Worms (Pitchfork review notwithstanding) and the posthumously-released Another One for You to Hate are good too, but I Was Here just has a special place in my heart, or something.

Anyway, there’s this song on I Was Here named “Play For Dawn”. I liked the song enough that, after a whole lot of web searching turned up zero tablature for it, I decided to figure out how to play it. It wasn’t that hard: Em, modified Em; G, modified G; D, modified D; F… But what the fuck came next? While the little riff on the D they played might have been the most immediately recognizable meme from the song, the chord that came after the F is really what defined the song and held it together. It sounded a bit like the F before it, yet at the same time sounded vastly different. After literally hours of fumbling around and trying every random fingering I could think of, I stumbled over the answer, which, as it turned out, was only different from the F by one fret on one string.

123211, in case you were wondering.

It was around 4 years ago that I figured that out, and it wasn’t until today that it occurred to me to find out what that chord might be. As it turns out, it’s an Fdim5, and the bizarre interval in it, the one that defines the song and makes the chord sound so unusual, is the “tritone” that was once considered the work of Satan.

So it goes.

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