Why do I often use chromaticism, yet keep a sense of tonality in my music?
For the same reason I am sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.
I have been asked this question multiple times in various ways, so I would like to explain a bit more.
How often do we think of good and evil as equal opposites? They are opposing each other in terms of their characteristics, however we cannot forget that they are not equal in power. Good is far more powerful than evil. Evil is not equal to good and it is not independent of it. Good always has control-even over it's greatest enemy, evil.
It is easy to think that Dualism exists since these two opposing powers exist together. It requires a deeper level of thinking to hold both of these powers in the same hand and see that dualism is false. In order for dualism to be true, both powers would need to be eternal and equal. We prefer good over evil, why is that? We call one power good for good reason. We see that evil is wrong in comparison to God. Badness is goodness in a fallen state. It is corrupted goodness. At Lucifer's fall, goodness was spoiled. Lucifer rebelled against God and now there is a war happening. The key point though, is that this is not a war of equal competitors. God already conquered and in the meantime He is using evil for His good purposes in order for us to become more than conquerors (Rom 8)
In Romans 8, Christians are called more than conquerors through Christ. This begs the question: How can someone be not just a conqueror, but more than a conqueror? Have evil be used for the opposite purpose it intends. Evil wants to hurt and destroy you. But what if instead of destroying you, it ends up refining you? That is being more than a conqueror. True victory is when pain or suffering is used for your benefit. For good. While we complain and lament about pain and suffering (and we should on one level, as it is a serious matter and God does not take it lightly), we must remember that it does not win. This is why I can say with Paul, we are sorrowful, yet always rejoicing. Sorrowful, because this life has much pain involved with it. Yet rejoicing, because this pain leads to joy. Evil serves the Christians. Even the greatest enemy of all, death, serves the Christian.
Why do I bring all of this up when I'm trying to discuss musical matters? Because the truth about good and evil can be applied to the nature of consonance and dissonance. Consonance and dissonance are not equal opposites, but there is still opposition in terms of stability. The dissonance can be purposeful, as it strengthens our sense of tonal center (God). Dissonance is a metaphor for fallenness. It is not bad itself, but it can display fallenness, uneasiness etc. So, who ultimately has the control in tonal music? Tonic. Or the tonal center (in centric music). The gravitational pull is toward this center. Composers in the music realm, just like humans in life, can choose to ignore this reality. They can try to keep the transcendent out of their world. There are plenty of atonal compositions that show this worldview. Chromaticism and dissonance threaten to take us away from tonic, just as evil and suffering threaten to take us away form what is truly good. However, dissonance can also be used to strengthen our sense of tonic, just as God can use suffering to give us more of His presence and lead us to that which is Good.
Dissonance, when used in the context of tonality, serves a good purpose. Dissonance outside the realm of tonality serves no purpose. It lacks meaning, for it is not in relation to anything.
So, why does my music have a great amount of dissonance, yet also have a deep tonal flavor? Because I worship a Man who used evil for Good. This is reality.