Musical style, psychoaesthetics, and prospects for entropy as an analytic tool

Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis, Andrew P. Beatty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Entropy has the ability to capture rough characteristics of musical styles when applied to individual musical parameters. The highest normalized entropy for melodic intervals was the bach chorales while the highest normalized entropy for contour was the well-tempered clavier. On the other hand, the highest normalized entropy for duration was the barbershop quartets but it has the lowest normalized entropy for melodic intervals. Entropy is found to be consistent both with the standard accounts of stylistic evolution and with the standard psychoaesthetic accounts of listening. However, the use of entropy has a problem with its selection of alphabet from which events are drawn as well as with the problem whether an individual corpus can be equated with psychological reality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64-78
Number of pages15
JournalComputer Music Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Media Technology
  • Music
  • Computer Science Applications


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