Analyzing cultural products: A new method of measurement

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19 Scopus citations


This research demonstrates a new technique for directly analyzing symbols. I present a full set of newly devised indicators allowing for the systematic measurement of musical symbols. Specifically, musical symbols are approached as symbolic codes; the measures classify these codes along several continua ranging from basic to embellished in design. Statistical tests assure us of the measures' validity. Using them, any piece of Western tonal music based on diatonic scales can be quantitatively measured in a precise and easily replicateable manner. Consequently, musical symbols become an accessible source of sociological data, amenable to all the rigorous research methods that are a central part of the sociological tradition. Potential sociological applications of the measures are presented and discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-352
Number of pages36
JournalSocial Science Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science

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