…the cover image is a collage of photographs taken of my ever growing vinyl collection, it is intended solely as a homage to the individuals who have made these works of art and this page possible…
chromaticism, (from Greek chroma, “colour”) in music, the use of notes foreign to the mode or diatonic scale upon which a composition is based.
Chromatic tones in Western art music are the notes in a composition that are outside the seven-note diatonic (i.e., major and minor) scales and modes. On the piano keyboard, the black keys represent the 5 chromatic tones that do not belong to the diatonic scale of C major; black and white keys together add up to the chromatic scale of 12 tones per octave.
In European medieval and Renaissance music, chromaticism was associated with the practice of musica ficta, which facilitated, and in some instances required, half-tone steps outside the church modes. In the 16th and early 17th centuries, notably in the secular Italian and English madrigal, chromaticism was used to heighten expressiveness; the Italian composer Carlo Gesualdo and some of his contemporaries pushed this tendency to extremes that distorted the perception of modal scale structure.
Melodic use of the chromatic scale became widespread in Baroque instrumental music. At the same time, chromatic tones were systematically incorporated into the diatonic system of harmony and were indicated in the musical text as accidental signs, that is, sharp (♯), flat (♭), or natural (♮) signs for notes that are outside the key. There are five common uses of chromatic tones in tonal harmony.
- inflection of the normal degrees of the scale in the minor mode, such as the use of G♯ in the key of A minor
- nonharmonic tones (that is, melodic notes that differ from the tones of the supporting harmony)
- secondary dominants (that is, chords having a dominant relationship to degrees other than the tonic, or primary note of the scale, often expressed “V of V” or “V of II,” for example)
- modulation to a new key or keys when the key signature does not change
- certain kinds of harmony—such as the diminished seventh chord (built with three minor thirds)—that include chromatic tones in their essential structure