Journal Article - Strife

A Beginner's Guide to the Musical Scales of Cyberwar

| Dec. 28, 2016


With special thanks to Professor Eric Talbot Jensen of Brigham Young University Law School

A diagram summarizing "A Beginner's Guide to the Musical Scales of Cyberwar" may be downloaded below.


This article is a beginner's guide to the 'musical scales' of cyberwar. Using the analogy of a piano keyboard, it aims to promote an understanding of what constitutes a use of force in cyberspace and how a state may lawfully respond. To help achieve this, the article utilizes the concept of Middle C and musical intervals known as octaves to explain the range of permissible state conduct during times of conflict. By juxtaposing the law of war with a keyboard, the process of how states evaluate the scale and effects of a cyber operation, and determine a basis for resorting to a use of force under the Law of Armed Conflict, can be more readily conceptualized. And if music is indeed, the universal language of mankind, then by encouraging society to learn about the law of war, we can collectively better strategize ways to mitigate conflict in this domain.

For more information on this publication: Please contact Cyber Project
For Academic Citation: Malekos Smith, Jessica. A Beginner's Guide to the Musical Scales of Cyberwar.” Strife, (December 28, 2016) .