Eighteenth Century London Concerts: 1 – The Data

Ranelagh Gardens 1754

This is the first in a series of articles looking at Simon McVeigh’s fascinating dataset “Calendar of London Concerts 1750-1800“. In this article I will describe the data and consider how it can be put into a form suitable for statistical analysis. A second article will look at finding the locations of the concert venues, and I will then move on to some analysis of the dataset.

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Desert Island Discs

“Desert Island Discs” is the UK’s longest running radio show, still going strong on BBC Radio 4 over 78 years after the first episode on the BBC Forces Programme in January 1942. Each episode, an interviewed “castaway” chooses the eight pieces of music they would take with them to a desert island. They also select their favourite of these tracks, plus a book and a luxury item.

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Time at the top: classical vs popular music

One of the things that seems to distinguish ‘classical’ from ‘popular’ music is the fact that the same classical composers and works can remain at the top for very long periods of time – decades, even centuries – whereas popular music songs and artists can reach the top of the charts, sell millions of records, and disappear within a matter of months. But is this difference real?

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Music Honours

Yesterday saw the announcement of the 2019 New Year Honours in the UK, recognising those who have made a particular contribution to public life. Although we hear about Honours given to various celebrities and other well-known names, most of them are awarded to ordinary people for their service in science, education, charity work, the arts and other fields. I thought it would be interesting to investigate those given Honours for services to Music.

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Christmas Music

Christmas music is everywhere at the moment, so I thought I would look at the history of it. In the British Library Music Catalogue, of the one million or so total publications, almost 10,000 – very nearly 1% – have the words ‘Christmas’, ‘Noel’ or ‘Weihnacht’ in the title. This chart shows the proportion by publication date…

Proportion of festive titles in the BL’s sheet music catalogue. The white snowflakes are the proportions of Christmas works among publications in each ten year period centred on the dates shown.
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