This is not a book!

This website is about how to use statistical techniques to study music history. It is based on my PhD thesis, and on more recent work developing the techniques, investigating various topics in music history, and discovering new datasets and ways of understanding them.

It is perhaps more common to develop a PhD thesis into a book, and I have considered this option. But a website seems a more sensible way to go, for three main reasons…

  • At present there are not many people using statistics to study music history, and it is not clear who the audience is for this sort of thing. A website can be promoted more widely to attract an audience, and can be adapted over time in response to what people actually want. It would be very easy to pitch a book at the wrong market.
  • This is a fast moving field. New software, techniques, and data are becoming available all the time, and more individuals and groups are taking an interest in using quantitative techniques in musicology – many of which have a historical angle. I will aim to keep this material up to date, so that it remains relevant. It would be easy to spend several years producing a book that was largely out of date by the time it was published.
  • I want to keep researching new stuff. A book would, of course, require lots of new material, but there would also be a lot of rewriting and editing that I think would be time better spent exploring new material and learning new techniques. A website allows me to tell you about my latest ideas and discoveries, and respond to your ideas and questions, as well as presenting existing material.

This is the first post, and it will take a while for these articles to build up to anything comprehensive. I will aim to post new articles every few weeks, and these will appear on this homepage. I have also added pages listing some of the interesting datasets I have found, and a few tools that you might like to play with. The about page gives a bit more background information. There is also a (currently empty) page of links to other projects or researchers in this field – there must be somebody else out there…

Please get in touch if you have any comments, questions or requests, suggestions of things to add, or are working in a related field. You can also subscribe to be notified of new posts by email.  Thanks for reading!

Cite this article as: Gustar, A.J. 'This is not a book!' in Statistics in Historical Musicology, 19th July 2017,

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