Lists, directories and databases about music have been compiled for well over two hundred years, and they are excellent sources for finding information about particular works, composers, or events. They can also be viewed as snapshots of the entire ‘population’ of works, composers, etc – and analysed using statistical techniques – giving a very different perspective on music history compared to traditional qualitative research.
This site aims to be a resource for anyone interested in using statistical techniques to study the history of music. It is in two main parts…
- The home page will contain posts on various topics to do with statistics and music history. Things like case studies, conference papers and presentations, interesting datasets, discussions of techniques, or anything else that comes to mind.
- The resources pages contain information on, and links to, a wide range of datasets related to music history; tools that can be used in the analysis or presentation of this data; and other projects or individuals working in this field.
All of the posts give you the ability to comment, argue, make suggestions or ask questions, and there are other ways to get in touch via the contact page. Feel free to join in!
If you can’t wait to read more, my PhD thesis can be downloaded here
This is a ‘work in progress’. There is an awful lot to say, and a surprisingly large number of resources to mention. I will post significant updates on the home page, so please check back regularly, and let me know if there are any requests for things that need to be covered.
Andrew Gustar graduated from Cambridge University with a first class honours degree in mathematics, and worked as an actuary for several years before pursuing his interest in music. He began studying music with the Open University, working through all of the undergraduate music modules and then the MA in Music. This led on to a PhD – ‘Statistics in Historical Musicology’ – completed in 2014 under the supervision of Professor David Rowland (music) and Professor Kevin McConway (statistics). The thesis brought together Andrew’s skills in music research with his experience in actuarial mathematics and statistical modelling and analysis.
Since completing the PhD, Andrew has continued statistical research into music history, and has presented at a number of conferences, as well as contributing course materials for the Open University’s MA in Music (A873).
Andrew is Company Secretary and Treasurer of a professional chamber orchestra, the Bristol Ensemble, and has previously been a regular volunteer at Dartington International Summer School. He also plays the piano and composes.
The Laws of Musical Fame and Obscurity, Significance 17 (5), pp.14-17 (2020) https://doi.org/10.1111/1740-9713.01443
Fame, Obscurity and Power Laws in Music History, Empirical Musicology Review 14 (3-4), pp.186-215 (2020) http://doi.org/10.18061/emr.v14i3-4.7003
The Bad Nauheim Hotels in The Good Soldier: A Re-evaluation, Last Post: A Literary Journal from the Ford Madox Ford Society 1 (2), p.22-52 (2019) http://oro.open.ac.uk/71263/
Quantitative perspectives, Early Music 43 (2), pp.365-6 (2015) https://doi.org/10.1093%2Fem%2Fcav033
Statistics in Historical Musicology, PhD Thesis (Open University) (2014) http://oro.open.ac.uk/41851/
The life and times of Black Ey’d Susan: the story of an English ballad, Folk Music Journal 10 (4), pp.432-448 (2014) http://oro.open.ac.uk/41849/
The closest thing to crazy: the shocking scarcity of septuple time in Western music, Journal of the Royal Musical Association 137 (2), pp.351-400 (2012) http://oro.open.ac.uk/41848/
The closed fund alternative (co-author). British Actuarial Journal 5 (4), pp.699-761 (1999) https://doi.org/10.1017/S1357321700000647