[Smt-talk] Identifying a composer's hand using statistics

Nicolas Meeùs nicolas.meeus at paris-sorbonne.fr
Fri Dec 3 04:47:38 PST 2010

  I can quote examples where this has been done, which does not really 
answer the question, but might give clues.

- My former PhD student Anne-Emmanuelle Ceulemans has done an extensive 
statistical analysis of the treatment of dissonance in Josquin's Masses 
and convincingly (I believe) argued, partly on the basis of her 
statistics, that Josquin's Mass "Une mousse de Biscaye" probably is not 
by him. (Her paper is in Tijdschrift van de Koninklijke Vereniging voor 
Nederlandse Muziekgeschiedenis 1998).
- My former PhD student Bertrand Desbordes made an extended statistical 
analysis of harmonic progressions in Mozart's recitatives and 
convincingly claimed that his results allowed a datation of the works, 
i.e. that if an unknown recitative was found, he could chronologically 
locate it in Mozart's output. Bertrand unfortunately did not publish his 
results, but his thesis must be available in the Library of theses in 
the Sorbonne.

Nicolas Meeùs
nicolas.meeus at paris-sorbonne.fr

Le 1/12/2010 20:43, Dmitri Tymoczko a écrit :
> Hi Everyone,
> I have a student -- a physics grad. student, actually, with a strong 
> music background -- who was interested in using statistical analysis 
> to do authorial identification, somewhat in the way people have done 
> with literary texts.
> Question: can anyone think of an interesting piece -- say from the 
> Renaissance onward -- where (1) authorship is uncertain and (2) the 
> composer *might* be someone very well known (so that there is a 
> substantial body of work to compare it to)?
> For instance, I know there is some disagreement about Magnus Es Tu, 
> Domine, which is often attributed to Josquin.
> In any case, I'd like this to be more than an academic exercise, so it 
> would be great to choose some piece where there's substantial doubt.
> Thanks!
> DT
> Dmitri Tymoczko
> Associate Professor of Music
> 310 Woolworth Center
> Princeton, NJ 08544-1007
> (609) 258-4255 (ph), (609) 258-6793 (fax)
> http://music.princeton.edu/~dmitri
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