I’ve got a ‘musicologist’ question and being 30+ years out of music school, I have no idea who/how to research. So I’m carpet-bombing everyone I even vaguely know who I think might have an answer. I hope you’ll find it interesting and reply with an answer or be able to refer me to someone who does. If not, please accept my apology and ignore. There will be no follow-ups for Reverse Mortgages or Knives That Never Need Sharpening. Here’s the question:
I’m looking for some ‘scholarly research’. I want to know if anyone has done the following type of study: Mapped the average length of various types of movements or compositions by composer.
Some examples: Does Beethoven have a certain preferred length +/- 10 seconds that he uses over and over for the majority of scherzi in piano sonatas? Or do most Bach organ preludes tend to have the same length +/-10 seconds? Do Verdi arias tend to be the same length +/-10 seconds?
My suspicion is that the answer is ‘yes’. And note that I am not talking about tempo; I mean the absolute length. I wonder if most composers tend to write the same length of sonata or aria or rondo or whatever over and over. IOW: if we all have a baked-in ‘favourite length of time’.
Background: Many musicians will notice that every guy seems to want to play similar pieces at the same tempi for a given style. In my case, I will almost always fall into 123bpm for one style, 96 for another, 71 for a third. I’ve compared recordings of myself (and others) over the past 30 years and it’s amazing how consistent this is. We all seem to have an internal ‘metronome’. So this is just an expansion of that idea.
No scholar me… but I think it likely that some grad student somewhere has done research like this for some arcane thesis. My suspicion is that there is a spreadsheet with a ‘frequency distribution’ laid out in very fancy statistical terms by composer, period, type of music, etc.
So… how would I find out about this? Is there some central ‘repository’ for such papers? And if so, how does a non-academic gain access?
Thanks In Advance!