Published November 13, 2023 | Version v1
Conference paper Open

A network approach to harmonic evolution and complexity in western classical music


I recently introduced the concept of dynamical score network to represent the harmonic progressions in any composition. Through a process of chord slicing, I obtain a representation of the score as a complex network, where every chord is a node and each progression (voice leading) links successive chords. In this paper, I use this representation to extract quantitative information about harmonic complexity from the analysis of the topology of these networks using state of the art statistical mechanics techniques. Since complex networks support the communication of information by encoding the structure of allowed messages, we can quantify the information associated with locating specific addresses through the measure of the entropy of such network. In doing so I can then introduce a measure of complexity that can be used to quantify harmonic evolution when applied to an extensive corpus of scores spanning 500 years of western classical music.



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