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Big Music Data, Musicology, and the Study of Recorded Music: Three Case Studies

Cottrell, S.J. (2019). Big Music Data, Musicology, and the Study of Recorded Music: Three Case Studies. Musical Quarterly, 101(2-3), pp. 216-243. doi: 10.1093/musqtl/gdy013


This paper considers some of the interactions between Music Information Retrieval (MIR) and musicology, particularly in relation to Big Music Data and the analysis of recorded music. Since MIR is still not widely recognized within the musicological community, and the possible insights offered by analyzing Big Music Data even less so, the paper both briefly contextualizes some of this work for a musicological readership and provides three specific case studies that illustrate concrete musicological outcomes. These relate to: changing orchestral pitch over time; pulse salience beyond the EuroAmerican classical music tradition; and changing performance tempi in classical music. The paper concludes by considering some broader conceptual issues that arise from the relationship between Big Music Data, musicology and recorded music.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in Music Quarterly following peer review. The version of record Stephen Cottrell, Big Music Data, Musicology, and the Study of Recorded Music: Three Case Studies, The Musical Quarterly, Volume 101, Issue 2-3, Summer-Fall 2018, Pages 216–243, is available online at:
Publisher Keywords: Big Music Data, Musicology, Recorded Music, Digital Music Lab, Music Information Retrieval
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z665 Library Science. Information Science
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Performing Arts > Music
SWORD Depositor:
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