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The mathematics of music history

Patriotism in music is expressed through use of speech rhythms from the composer's native language

Date:
October 6, 2016
Source:
Aarhus University
Summary:
Experts have analyzed thousands of musical themes composed by French, Italian, and Austro-German composers living in 1600-1950. During these years, rhythmic variability in French music was initially low -- just like in Italian music and language. Later on, it increased towards the natural equilibrium for Austro-German music and language before the rhythms of French music finally diverged into two separate stylistic schools of composition, they report.
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Together with colleagues from London and Amsterdam, MIB postdoc Niels Chr. Hansen, analysed thousands of musical themes composed by French, Italian, and Austro-German composers living in 1600-1950.

During these years, rhythmic variability in French music was initially low -- just like in Italian music and language. Later on, it increased towards the natural equilibrium for Austro-German music and language before the rhythms of French music finally diverged into two separate stylistic schools of composition.

Niels Chr. Hansen's research provides the first quantitative test of key assumptions in historical musicology regarding national influences on European. Specifically, the findings support that (North-)Italian music culture dominated Europe throughout the Baroque Era, followed by increasing influence from Austria and Germany in the Classical Era. In the (National-)Romantic Era, European music culture became more decentralised. The analysis also disproves recurring claims that French composers stubbornly resist foreign influence.


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Materials provided by Aarhus University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. N. C. Hansen, M. Sadakata, M. Pearce. Nonlinear Changes in the Rhythm of European Art Music: Quantitative Support for Historical Musicology. Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 2016; 33 (4): 414 DOI: 10.1525/MP.2016.33.4.414

Cite This Page:

Aarhus University. "The mathematics of music history: Patriotism in music is expressed through use of speech rhythms from the composer's native language." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 October 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161006122528.htm>.
Aarhus University. (2016, October 6). The mathematics of music history: Patriotism in music is expressed through use of speech rhythms from the composer's native language. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 24, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161006122528.htm
Aarhus University. "The mathematics of music history: Patriotism in music is expressed through use of speech rhythms from the composer's native language." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161006122528.htm (accessed May 24, 2017).

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