Topology and Evolution of the Network of Western Classical Music Composers
Schich, Maximilian ((UT Dallas)
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The expanding availability of high-quality, large-scale data from the realm of culture and the arts promises novel opportunities for understanding and harnessing the dynamics of the creation, collaboration, and dissemination processes - fundamentally network phenomena - of artistic works and styles. To this end, in this paper we explore the complex network of western classical composers constructed from a comprehensive CD (Compact Disc) recordings data that represent the centuries-old musical tradition using modern data analysis and modeling techniques. We start with the fundamental properties of the network such as the degree distribution and various centralities, and find how they correlate with composer attributes such as artistic styles and active periods, indicating their significance in the formation and evolution of the network. We also investigate the growth dynamics of the network, identifying superlinear preferential attachment as a major growth mechanism that implies a future of the musical landscape where an increasing concentration of recordings onto highly-recorded composers coexists with the diversity represented by the growth in the sheer number of recorded composers. Our work shows how the network framework married with data can be utilized to advance our understanding of the underlying principles of complexities in cultural systems.