The Use of "Computer-Assisted Contrapuntal, Intervallic, and Motion Analysis" as a Tool to Help Determine the Authorship of Organ Works in the Neumeister Collection
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe noted Bach scholar Christoph Wolff and two other researchers made one of the more noteworthy musicological finds of the late twentieth century in 1984, when they first rediscovered and then published MS LM 4708 of the John Herrick Music Library of Yale University. This MS, which was published under the title The Neumeister Collection, contains 82 organ chorales, many previously unknown, by members of the Bach circle. Of those 82 chorales, five pieces appear without attribution and six works have been published that were previously attributed to other composers. Wolff's edition, which lists composers for all 82 chorales, relies largely upon stylistic analysis when assigning attributions for pieces with multiple attributions. This document introduces a new analytic tool that can be used to generate information relevant to questions of authorship in the Neumeister chorales; this important tool is a computer program called MATLAB. MATLAB can compile and tabulate information about the melodic, intervallic, and contrapuntal content of musical compositions by analyzing XML computer files produced by standard music software programs such as Finale or Sibelius. This data then can be used to generate graphs that can be compared between compositions. Such analysis sheds new light upon the musical choices of composers represented in The Neumeister Collection and makes possible more informed judgments about pieces with multiple attributions.
Degree ProgramGraduate College