Computer announced the most original classical composer in history

03.02.2020

Sergei Rachmaninoff is the most original composer in the world of those who worked in the era of Baroque, Classicism, and Romanticism. A computer algorithm created by Korean scientists made this conclusion. The famous Russian musician was ahead of Bach, Brahms, and Mendelssohn.

The experts set themselves the task of determining the greatest innovator in music – for this they evaluated the novelty and degree of impact on the listener of nine hundred pieces for piano, written by 19 composers from 1700 to 1900.

Authors who were associated with four musical periods were selected for the study: Baroque (Handel, Bach, Scarlati), Classicism (Clementi, Haydn, Mozart), Transition (Beethoven, Schubert) and Romanticism (Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Rachmaninov, Liszt, Debussy, Schumann, Chopin, Ravel, Albenis, Mendelssohn).

In their work, the researchers created a computer model that divided the compositions into segments – “keywords”, each of which consists of three notes. Then, various compositions were compared for the use of specific sequences of these segments.

The authors came to the conclusion that the music of the romantic era (1820-1910) was distinguished by the greatest novelty, and Sergey Rachmaninov became the leader by this indicator. His creative heritage has great musical diversity and is significantly different from the works of the other 18 authors included in the study.

“Our model allowed us to calculate the degree of borrowing melodies between past and future works and to observe the evolution of Western musical styles, demonstrating how well-known composers can influence each other,” explained the authors of a work published in the journal EPJ Data Science.