Music in Colors

Music in Colors

Dimitrios Margounakis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece), Dionysios Politis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece) and Konstantinos Mokos (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 34
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0264-7.ch005
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The evolutional course of music through centuries has shown an incremental use of chromatic variations by composers and performers for melodies' and music sounds' enrichment. This chapter presents an integrated model, which contributes to the calculation of musical chromaticism. The model takes into account both horizontal (melody) and vertical chromaticism (harmony). The proposed qualitative and quantitative measures deal with music attributes that relate to the audience's chromatic perception. They namely are: the musical scale, the melodic progress, the chromatic intervals, the rapidity of melody, the direction of melody, music loudness, and harmonic relations. This theoretical framework can lead to semantic music visualizations that reveal music parts of emotional tension.
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The Qualitative Nature Of Chromaticism

An important attribute of a musical composition is its chromaticism, defined first in Ancient Greek Music (West, 1994). According to that musical system, there were three genuses: the “diatonic”, the “chromatic”, and the “enharmonic”. From these concepts, the separation in “chromatic”, “harmonic”, “melodic” and “diatonic” entities has evolved for the Western music paradigm. Furthermore, additional musical phenomena have been detected in Oriental music, in Byzantine music and in prosodic vocal phenomena, which cannot be exactly categorized with these predicates for tonal distributions (Politis et. al., 2002).

Whereas the term chroma is widely used, especially in comparative musicology, there is not yet a clear definition for “musical chroma”. That is the reason why music chromaticism is yet an open research problem (both practical and theoretical). There is a great deal of many considerations and approaches from many different points of view. For instance, in the expression “European chroma, Oriental or Greek chroma” the differentiation is associated with cultures, uses of sounds and feelings. Shepard (1999) has defined with chroma the note’s position within the octave and has created a nonlogarithmic pitch helix, the chroma circle that clearly depicts octave equivalence. This has led to rather complex pitch-space representations in which the chromatic tone scale, the circle of fifths, octave circularity and other properties are all accounted for. This approach perceives chroma as extension to the concept of tonality. It has been argued that the dimension of tone chroma is irrelevant in melodic perception (Idson & Massaro, 1978).

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