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Chromaticism: A theoretical construction or a practical transformation?

Author(s): Katsanevaki Athena

Journal: Muzikologija
ISSN 1450-9814

Volume: 2011;
Issue: 11;
Start page: 159;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: chromatic | hemitonic pentatonic | anhemitonic pentatonic | the Balkans | Nikriz

Chromaticism is a phenomenon which is shared by different musical cultures. In the Balkans it is evident both in ecclesiastical and traditional music. In antiquity it was attested by ancient Greek writers and was described in theory. It is also apparent in different forms in ancient Greek musical fragments. Nevertheless it is disputed whether it represents a theoretical form (genus) or reflects a musical practice and its formation. Apart from any theoretical analysis of ancient Greek testimony, ethnomusicology can contribute to an explanation by classification and interpretation of various forms in which chromaticism is found in the Balkans. In Northwestern Greece many different forms can offer us various melodic paths that, if followed by vocal or instrumental musical practice, result in special chromatic melodic movements. Such movements reveal the genesis of tense chromatic and actually reveal some implications about the differences between the two chromatic shades (tense and soft) in traditional and ecclesiastical music.
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