from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. the quality or state of being chromatic
  • n. the act or action of chromaticizing: the use of chromatic notes or tones (contrasted with diatonicism)

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In music: The use of chromatic melodies or harmonies, especially when extended or excessive.
  • n. A chromatic melody, harmony, or passage.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • "But he was a very innovative composer, and this music is fabulous — a post-Reger kind of chromaticism, experimental but still with a conservative sound."

    Portrait of the Artist as a Music Fan

  • In these sometimes bizarre works, many of which evoke the despair of the composer's old age (the wandering harmonies of "Nuages Gris"), Liszt flirted with the extreme chromaticism ("En Reve"), augmented chords and whole-tone scales ("La Lugubre Gondola") that would provide paths out of tonality for later composers.

    Pianists Andre Watts and Evgeny Kissin offer Liszt recitals

  • Much of Reger's music aims to reconcile post-Wagnerian chromaticism with a classical austerity that peers back through Brahms to Bach.

    Reger: Violin Concerto; two Romances – review

  • Mr. Grimley observes that "For Sibelius, Neilsen and, for that matter, for Vaughan Williams, the turn to diatonicism in the first decade of the 20th century was a strongly modernist gesture—a search for strength, clarity and tonal freedom through a positive move away from what they regarded as a decadent, emotionally saturated late-Wagnerian chromaticism."

    Nordic Exposure at Bard

  • That semiotically nostalgic cast had become more potent with the rise of atonality — when George Rochberg looked to rewind atonal modernism, for example, he opted for Mahlerian tonality — but, of course, the seeds of atonality can be found in the adventurous chromaticism of late Romanticism.

    Archive 2008-10-01

  • They articulate the evolution of English music from simple canonic rounds to the gorgeous chromaticism of Herbert Howells and scintillations of Benjamin Britten and Michael Tippett.

    The Book of Common Prayer, part 5: The importance of evensong

  • Tone color may have issued from Wagnerian chromaticism but it culminated in Schoenberg, whose music and paintings Kandinsky so admired that he translated his essays, wrote on his paintings and invited Schoenberg to contribute to the first issue of the Blue Rider Almanac, 1912, co-edited with the painter Franz Marc, which was to act as a kind of symposium for all the arts.

    Kandinsky's Futurity

  • I would be curious to know whether composers who work with just intonation came to it through diatonicism and then realized how cool it would be to adapt it to chromaticism, or whether they were chromatic from the start and just continually dissatisfied with the equal-tempered results.

    Arguments, agreements, advice, answers, articulate announcements

  • Many, many of us who work in just intonation do so in search of a more seamless chromaticism than a paltry 12 pitches can provide.

    Arguments, agreements, advice, answers, articulate announcements

  • The use of a cantus firmus was not essential, while big intervals in the melodic lines, chromaticism and homophony in crucial places were all allowed to help the understanding of the words.

    Archive 2009-06-01


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