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Researchers: Rachmaninoff was most innovative composer ? #3027324 02/03/20 01:43 PM
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Strays Dave Offline OP
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Rachmaninoff was determined by researchers to be the most innovative composer between 1700 and 1900. I dunno.

This article appeared on my Android phone recently. I'm always skeptical when I read something about researchers and music. Do they actually know about and understand music ? Drilling down into the research, I saw what appeared to be statistical formulas and such that I don't understand. I could find very few references to actual music. I did find a mention of Debussy's use of scales being his primary innovation - but saw no mention of Debussy's use of harmony.

This is over my head scientifically but I know something about music. Their lack of specific musical examples makes me even more skeptical.

https://epjdatascience.springeropen.com/articles/10.1140/epjds/s13688-019-0214-8

Last edited by Strays Dave; 02/03/20 01:49 PM.
Re: Researchers: Rachmaninoff was most innovative composer ? [Re: Strays Dave] #3027337 02/03/20 03:03 PM
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Dave Bryce Offline
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Mildly interested to know how something like that would be comprehensively measured - seems to me there were an awful lot of composers in that 200 year period. idk

Should be an interesting read.

dB



Re: Researchers: Rachmaninoff was most innovative composer ? [Re: Strays Dave] #3027356 02/03/20 04:44 PM
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Not much to read here if you're not a math person. Especially college level math.

This article is sure to launch a spirited debate. Measuring innovation using a formula then graphing it? That's a stretch. Methinks they left out crucial variables in the formula, as well as omitting other important composers.

One parameter you can't put in a formula: inspiration. I'm talking about the seeds that give root to an idea, a motif that launches a thousand notes. Good lucking abstracting THAT to a formula...

Math was useful for figuring out musical scales (equal, tempered, exotic, microtonal, etc), designing instruments (tubing of valve instruments, placement of air columns in reeds and flutes, etc), designing electronic instruments (reactive components, circuit analysis, LaPlace/Fourier transforms, etc), Fourier Theorem for harmonic series... I think it'd be pretty hard to apply math to measure compositional innovation, while this study may not be comprehensive it does lay the foundation for future studies. Sorry that's my college educated brain talking...

Re: Researchers: Rachmaninoff was most innovative composer ? [Re: Strays Dave] #3027360 02/03/20 05:04 PM
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Mike Rivers Offline
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Dialog between Louis Armstrong and Bing Crosby in the 1956 movie "High Society"

"You dig Rachmaninoff?" "On and off."

Re: Researchers: Rachmaninoff was most innovative composer ? [Re: Strays Dave] #3027365 02/03/20 05:10 PM
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The first sentence tells you what you need to know.

"Recent advances in the quantitative, computational methodology for the modeling and analysis of heterogeneous large-scale data are leading to new opportunities for understanding human behaviors and faculties, including creativity that drives creative enterprises such as science"

The interest here is not music, the interest is in expanding the potential of "quantitative, computational methodology."

They wanted something that has lots of data points and is also interesting to people. Music fit the description, that's it.


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: Researchers: Rachmaninoff was most innovative composer ? [Re: Strays Dave] #3027532 02/04/20 07:21 PM
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I had enough statistics at the graduate school level to understand that all these attempts to quantify such fuzzy and culturally-variable concepts such as "innovation" are typically a lot of sophisticated math built on a foundation of somewhat arbitrary assumptions.

That doesn't mean I have contempt for such studies - but I do think the public inevitably misunderstands these sorts of studies, accepting them as if they were hard science ventures that "discover" or "prove" things. The media constantly provides news on "studies" that "link" things. A single study is typically pretty worthless considered all by itself. Scientists slap their forheads at how the public, fails to understand the extremely incremental and communal manner in which science proceeds. Science progress operates more like decades-long conversations, back and forth, with many, many dead ends, than it is like explorers discovering discrete totally new things at one go. Sure, astronomers find new planets and such, physicists find new particles, medical research finds new "cures". But even then, each step starts from the place the last attempt left off. And there are far more misteps than firm new ground, especially when it comes to any particular study.

There's a never-ending thread of study that attempts to quantify "quality of life" in general statistical terms. Goes way back to trying to answer such questions as "did the industrial revolution raise or lower quality of life for the working class in England in the mid-1800s?" Same thing - very sophisticated techniques employed upon certain fundamental assumptions - change the assumptions and the analytical results change. And the assumptions are almost always highly colored by the politics of the researchers.

Personally, I think the media is irresponsible in the way they make "news" out of single studies. But man, these articles get around and sell copies and generate clicks, no question.

nat

Re: Researchers: Rachmaninoff was most innovative composer ? [Re: KuruPrionz] #3027561 02/04/20 10:36 PM
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David Holloway Offline
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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
The first sentence tells you what you need to know.

"Recent advances in the quantitative, computational methodology for the modeling and analysis of heterogeneous large-scale data are leading to new opportunities for understanding human behaviors and faculties, including creativity that drives creative enterprises such as science"

The interest here is not music, the interest is in expanding the potential of "quantitative, computational methodology."

They wanted something that has lots of data points and is also interesting to people. Music fit the description, that's it.


This exactly - there's no real claims made musically and any news articles reporting otherwise don't know how to read a research paper wink

Re: Researchers: Rachmaninoff was most innovative composer ? [Re: Strays Dave] #3027588 02/05/20 01:33 AM
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harmonizer Offline
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This character string "rhythm" appears twice in the text of the article, not counting a third occurrence in the title of a referenced article.
The math appears to be analyzing notes (pitch), but not rhythms. Even if one condones a math-based approach, this seems a major omission.

I also wonder if any math-based approach could adequately measure the innovation of Miles Davis' cool or minimalist approach to music and solos, expertly executed on his album "Kind of Blue".
I love Coltrane, and his "more" was innovative, but "more" is not the only way to innovate musically.

Re: Researchers: Rachmaninoff was most innovative composer ? [Re: harmonizer] #3027607 02/05/20 02:57 AM
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Nowarezman Offline
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Originally Posted by harmonizer
This character string "rhythm" appears twice in the text of the article, not counting a third occurrence in the title of a referenced article.
The math appears to be analyzing notes (pitch), but not rhythms. Even if one condones a math-based approach, this seems a major omission.

I also wonder if any math-based approach could adequately measure the innovation of Miles Davis' cool or minimalist approach to music and solos, expertly executed on his album "Kind of Blue".
I love Coltrane, and his "more" was innovative, but "more" is not the only way to innovate musically.


All valid points. Still, if you don't ask too much of studies like the one referenced, there is potential to glean some interesting info. Once you think of studies like this as just one of many in a long, long stream that are subject to peer review and criticism, the pressure is off for any particular study to cover all bases, reach some sort of end point, or encapsulate complex concepts in their entirety.

nat

Re: Researchers: Rachmaninoff was most innovative composer ? [Re: Strays Dave] #3027738 02/05/20 10:31 PM
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My fear is that music streaming services will use this kind of information for evil purposes smile I was having dinner with [not going to namedrop] the other night, and we were discussing the algorithms that YouTube and others use to feed you with what they think you'll like. If I was king, I would order them to make half of all recommendations "happy accidents" with a minimal connection to The Almighty Algorithm. For example if someone likes a Led Zeppelin song that goes at 110 BPM, then the algorithm would suggest something by Bach or Wes Montgomery that's at 110 BPM smile

My own research proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that I like to listen to music I like. I think some of it is quite innovative. And some of it isn't smile

Re: Researchers: Rachmaninoff was most innovative composer ? [Re: Strays Dave] #3028119 02/08/20 09:56 PM
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I can't see the claim being true. He was clearly an excellent pianist and composer. Most innovative? I don't think it could be substantiated. What changes did he bring to the orchestra? Or to the craft of composition? What new orchestration devices did he uniquely pioneer compared to a Ravel? What changes in structure were greater than what Beethoven did to the symphony or Wagner with his leitmotifs, etc... I enjoy Rachmaninoff deeply, but I'm not sure I can follow the claim. Seems like music-nerd clickbait.

Re: Researchers: Rachmaninoff was most innovative composer ? [Re: Strays Dave] #3028139 02/09/20 01:38 AM
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Here, I'll save people the trouble of having to read the original article. You're welcome!

* Music that people like is a balance of familiar stuff and new stuff.
* Computer databases are big Rachmaninoff fans.

Next smile


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