Readings and resources

Computational Music Analysis, CU–Boulder, May 2016


CorpusMusic group on GitHub

Python Hidden Markov Model - Michael Hamilton, Colorado State University

The McGill Billboard Project - a large data set of harmonic annotations of songs from several decades of the Billboard Top 100 list.

“A Corpus Study of Rock Music” - David Temperley and Trevor de Clercq’s data and programs for analyzing the harmonic progressions in a corpus of 200 songs from Rolling Stone magazine’s “Greatest [Rock] Songs of All Time.”

The Million Song Dataset - “a freely-available collection of audio features and metadata for a million contemporary popular music tracks” (Columbia Univ.).

Open Music Theory – an online “textbook” for music theory and aural skills.


Spotipy – a lightweight Python library for the Spotify Web API.


Albrecht, Joshus and Daniel Shanahan. 2013. “The Use of Large Corpora to Train a New Type of Key-Finding Algorithm: An Improved Treatment of the Minor Mode.” In Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal 31/1, 59–67.

Bryson, Bethany. 1996. “‘Anything but heavy metal’: Symbolic exclusion and musical dislikes”. In American Sociological Review 61/5 (Oct. 1996), pp. 884–99.

Burgoyne, John Ashley. 2011. “Stochastic Processes & Database-Driven Musicology.” Ph.D. diss., McGill University.

De Clercq, Trevor and David Temperley. 2011. “A corpus analysis of rock harmony.” In Popular Music 30/1, pp. 47–70.

Everett, Walter. 2004. “Making Sense of Rock’s Tonal Systems.” In Music Theory Online 10/4.

Foucault, Michel. 1972. The Archaeology of Knowledge. New York: Pantheon Books.

Gibbs, Frederick W. and Daniel J. Cohen. 2011. “A Conversation With Data: Prospecting Victorian Words and Ideas.” In Victorian Studies 54/1 (Autumn 2011).

Gjerdingen, Robert O., and David Perrott. “Scanning the dial: The rapid recognition of music genres.” Journal of New Music Research 37, no. 2 (2008): 93-100.

Huron, David. 2006. Sweet Anticipation: Music and the Psychology of Expectation. MIT Press.

Koh, Adeline. A Letter to the Humanities: DH Will Not Save You In Hybrid Pedagogy.

Meyer, Leonard. 1997. Style and Music. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Ramsay, Stephen. Who’s In and Who’s Out

Sample, Mark. The digital humanities is not about building, it’s about sharing

Shaffer, Kris. “Harmony in pop/rock music”

Shaffer, Kris. “Introduction to musical functions.”

Shaffer, Kris. 2012. “Averages, clusters, and hidden patterns.” July 27, 2012.

Shaffer, Kris. 2013. “Harmonic syntax in corpus studies.” January 12, 2013.

Shaffer, Kris. 2013. “Push, Pull, Fork: GitHub for Academics.” May 26, 2013.

Shaffer, Kris. 2014. “What Is Music Theory?” In Hybrid Pedagogy, “Page Two” blog. March 1, 2014.

Smith, Jordan Bennett Louis, John Ashley Burgoyne, Ichiro Fujinaga, David De Roure, and J. Stephen Downie. 2011. “Design and creation of a large-scale database of structural annotations.” In ISMIR, pp. 555-560.

Stommel, Jesse. 2013. “The Digital Humanities Is About Breaking Stuff.” In Hybrid Pedagogy. September 2, 2013.

Summach, Jason. 2012. “Form in Top-20 Rock Music, 1955–89.” Ph.D. diss., Yale University.

Underwood, Ted. 2012. “How Not to Do Things With Words.” Personal blog. August 25, 2012.

White, Christopher and Ian Quinn. 2014. Draft of primer on hidden Markov modeling in music.

Yim, Gary. 2012. “Affordant Harmony in Popular Music: Do Physical Attributes of the Guitar Influence Chord Sequences?” In Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition and the 8th Triennial Conference of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music., July 23–28, 2012.


“Major scales and keys”

“Minor scales and keys”


“Analyzing Triads”

“Guitar Harmony”

Twitter accounts of authors

Dan Cohen: @dancohen
Jesse Stommel: @Jessifer
Ted Underwood: @Ted_Underwood
Chris White: @chriswmwhite