The Ancient Chromatic Genus (chrōma) — from Antiquity to the Present Day


The article traces the life of the motif, derived from the Greek chroma genus (so-called antique chrōma, conditional g–e–es–d). In line with the interest for antique culture peculiar to European humanists this motif was caught up by the Renaissance and Early Baroque composers (N. Vicentino, L. Marenzio, C. Le Jeune, P. Nenna, C. Gesualdo, M. Rossi, G. Trabaci, G. Frescobaldi, etc.). The article analyzes examples of specific development of the antique chrōma i n their oeuvre. Special attention is paid to the problem of the modal harmonization of the motif; furthermore, its semantics is revealed.
Neglected in the Classical and Romantic periods, antique chrōma had attracted attention of some composers in the 20th century. The stylistic potential of the “classical” motif is far from being exhausted as some of the analyzed examples show (A. Shnittke, S. Sciarrino).