Eighteenth Century London Concerts: 6 – Repertoire

This article looks at the types of repertoire included in eighteenth-century London concerts. As discussed in the first article of this series, information on the works performed is encoded, in a complicated way, in the “programme” field of the dataset.

The data is based on concert advertisements in newspapers, so there is considerable variation in the detail provided. Some advertisements spell out details of all of the works and who will perform them, but it is more typical for the focus to be on the performers, with the works often vaguely specified, such as “a concerto by Handel” (if you are lucky, it will say what instrument it is for).

Continue reading →

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.

Continue reading →

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?

Continue reading →