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Using data science to measure a music revolution

Using Data Science to Measure a Musical Revolution

Stashed in: Music, Beatles!, Freakonomics

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Not useful, but fascinating:

This study is able to point out that, timbrally, Fall-out Boy is the most “guitar, loud, energetic” artist in the Hot 100 in the past 50 years. And it's also able to tell that minor 7th chord changes were basically introduced with disco in the 1970s and haven’t left pop music since.

We're still living through the change that happened in 1991.

The climactic periods in the history of American popular music are: the last quarter of 1963, the last quarter of 1982, and the first quarter of 1991.

As they write in the paper, the biggest revolution was the one in 1991 correlated to the proliferation of rap music to the popular charts. “The rise of rap and related genres,” the paper reads, “appears to be the single most important event that has shaped the musical structure of the American charts in the period that we studied.”


Leroi said he was surprised that the rap revolution of the 1990s made a bigger splash in the data than the Beatles and their generation did. 

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