How the Use of Atonal Harmonies Help Make the Classic Jethro Tull Song ‘Aqualung’ So Powerful

The amusingly doodling, rapidly talking and extremely knowledgeable music theorist 12Tone musically breaks down one of his favorite songs – “Aqualung” by Jethro Tull. In doing so, 12Tone points out how the use of atonality, specifically atonal harmonies, makes the song as powerful as it is .

..we’re looking at one of my favorite songs off probably my favorite album of all time! Jethro Tull’s biggest hit features incredibly complex musical ideas that it hides behind a veil of folky charm, telling a dark and powerful story both in its lyrics and in its composition. Borrowing influences from a wide range of musical styles, Aqualung ties everything together so well that you barely notice how much it’s actually doing.