Workshop Network analysis and new approaches to music history


Provisional timetable

Suggested reading


This workshop explores the opportunities and challenges arising when network analysis is applied to the study of music history. It is aimed at both digital humanities specialists who wish to gain new perspectives from the domain of music, and musicologists who wish to learn more about the concepts and techniques of network analysis. By the end of the workshop, attendees should have gained a clearer understanding of: how network analysis can illuminate musicology (particularly the branches of musicology using large quantities of data), how network conceptualisations can be translated into data-driven methodologies, and how other disciplines might benefit from approaches developed specifically for studying music. Music has a particularly multi-layered, multimodal nature, involving compositions, performances, audiences, critical discourses, social contexts, etc. The workshop will discuss how these elements can be modelled and analysed as networks, and how music’s multimodal nature can offer new perspectives for network analysis in other disciplines (for instance, how literary studies can address the performative networks surrounding texts and authors).

Following initial introductions, the workshop will begin with a conceptual discussion, tackling such questions as:

  • How can the approaches of Social Network Analysis and Actor-Network Theory be reconciled with a data-driven approach to the study of music history?
  • How can the analysis of musical networks promote a more relational approach to music history?
  • What domain-specific challenges arise when analysing networks in music?

Provisional timetable

09.30   Introductions

09.40   Network analysis in the humanities and musicology; modelling data as networks

10.30   Analysing social networks (including data on Dutch radio ​play ​networks; networks of 18-century operatic musicians; networks of listeners)

11.00 to 11.30 Coffee break

11.30   Intra-musical networks (including Linked Data dataset)

11.45   Networks of musical sources (including statistical analysis of source relationships, and analysing RISM data)

11.55   Performances as multi-modal networks (including data relating to Dutch concert life)

12.10   Plenary discussion

12.30   End

Suggested readings

Ahnert, Ruth, and Sebastian E. Ahnert. ‘Protestant Letter Networks in the Reign of Mary I: A Quantitative Approach’. ELH 82, no. 1 (2015): 1–1.

Bae, Arram, Doheum Park, Yong-Yeol Ahn, and Juyong Park. ‘The Multi-Scale Network Landscape of Collaboration’. PLOS ONE 11, no. 3 (18 March 2016): e0151784.

Baptist, Vincent. ‘Inventory of European Performing Arts Data Projects’. Accessed 1 June 2018.!/vizhome/InventoryofEuropeanPerformingArtsDataProjects_0/InventoryofEuropeanPerformingArtsDataProjects.

Barabási, Albert-László. Network Science.

Berchum, Marnix van. ‘Linked Sources: A Network Approach to the Repertory of Sixteenth-Century Polyphony’. Leonardo 47, no. 3 (3 March 2014): 272–272.

Born, Georgina. ‘For a Relational Musicology: Music and Interdisciplinarity, Beyond the Practice Turn’. Journal of the Royal Musical Association 135, no. 2 (2010): 205–43.

Giannetti, Francesca. ‘A Review of Network Approaches in Music Studies’. Music Reference Services Quarterly 19, no. 2 (2 April 2016): 156–63.

‘Historical Network Research – Network Analysis in the Historical Disciplines’.

Park, Doheum, Arram Bae, Maximilian Schich, and Juyong Park. ‘Topology and Evolution of the Network of Western Classical Music Composers’. EPJ Data Science 4, no. 1 (December 2015).

Piekut, Benjamin. ‘Actor-Networks in Music History: Clarifications and Critiques’. Twentieth-Century Music 11, no. 02 (September 2014): 191–215.

Schich, Maximilian, Chaoming Song, Yong-Yeol Ahn, Alexander Mirsky, Mauro Martino, Albert-László Barabási, and Dirk Helbing. ‘A Network Framework of Cultural History’. Science 345, no. 6196 (8 January 2014): 558–62.

Spotify Insights:

Vugt, Ingeborg van. ‘Using Multi-Layered Networks to Disclose Books in the Republic of Letters’. Journal of Historical Network Research 1 (2017): 25–51.

Weingart, Scott. ‘Demystifying Networks – the Scottbot Irregular’.