The Google Books Ngram Viewer is a powerful tool for analysing historical text data. It uses the enormous corpus of books scanned by Google to analyse the frequency of words and phrases over time. An n-grams is just a combination of words – so a single word is a 1-gram, a pair of words a 2-gram, etc. The Google viewer has data up to 5-grams.
This has potential uses in many fields – including musicology. Here we will use the ngram viewer to analyse the rise and fall of ragtime music.Continue reading →