EPFL researchers analysis of Beethoven's writing style, applying statistical techniques to unlock recurring patterns.

Famed Classical/Romantic composer Ludwig van Beethoven had a distinct statistical signature to his compositional style, according to an innovative analysis published in a recent paper in PLOS ONE. The study is part of the rise of so-called "digital humanities," although much of the work to date in this burgeoning subfield has focused on textual analysis.

"New state-of-the-art methods in statistics and data science make it possible for us to analyze music in ways that were out of reach for traditional musicology," said co-author Martin Rohrmeier, head of EPFL's Digital Humanities Institute, which is devoted to achieving a better understanding of how music works. "The young field of digital musicology is currently advancing a whole range of methods and perspectives."

Per co-author Markus Neuwirth, "Our approach exemplifies the growing research field of digital humanities, in which data-science methods and digital technologies are used to advance our understanding of real-world sources, such as literary texts, music, or paintings under new digital perspectives."

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