Sure, acclaimed young composer-lyricist Adam Guettel and American Theatre's probing interviewer David Savran talk with great sophistication (in our lead feature, page 26) about what makes Guettel's score for the new musical The Light in the Piazza so special--its dramatic use of tension and release, its richly expressive chromaticism
, its debt to classical and contemporary influences.
This strategy measures "degrees of deviance" along a chromatic slide, and this graded chromaticism
seems to be based on a measure of mimetic efficacy.
It became customary to employ swifter rhythms, running figures, and diatonicism for joy, and slower rhythms, longer note values, and chromaticism
The Random House Dictionary seems pretty sound, if a bit stuffy, on the subject, suggesting that after originating in New Orleans at the beginning of the twentieth century it developed "through various increasingly complex styles, generally marked by intricate, melodic freedom, and a harmonic idiom ranging from simple diatonicism through chromaticism
to, in recent developments, atonality.
It is very close to a counterpoint in which potential modal centers have no identity and the chromaticism
is pervasive--a practice very similar to Charles Seeger's "dissonant counterpoint.
He sensed his mission as the bringer of a salvational musical system that would lead harmonic usage out of the dead end of tonality vitiated by excessive chromaticism
He went on to record works by William Corbett (an English contemporary of Bach's, whose "Bizzarie Universali" is on Manze's 1993 Channel Classics release CCS 1391) and Giovanni Antonio Pandolfi Mealli (an Italian-born contemporary of all the above with a flair for unusual chromaticism
and harmonic daring, on the 1994 Channel Classics release CCS 5794).
Indeed, after the chromaticism
, octatonicism, symmetries and experimentation with pitch, mode, texture and timbre of works such as Machines agricoles of 1919 (p.
The preceding passage (bars 425-32) is exceptionally striking in its use of the highly chromatic musical figure passus diriusculus, particularly as the piece is almost devoid of chromaticism
until this point.
, too, looked to Faure and Szymanowski.
Neither is it only a matter of the revolutionary chromaticism
that Wagner ventured, driving tonality to its limit (as in the much-discussed "Tristan Chord"), nor of his consequent influence on the theoretical developments definitive of the second Viennese school, without which twentieth-century music is unthinkable.
His former use of intense tonal chromaticism
and elaboration of signs at the limit of geometry, is enriched in these new works by the incorporation of a new symbolism, a reference to art history, and allegorical allusions.