Analyzing Flow

We have our theories, and we have our data. Analysis is how we put them together. We can use our theories to analyze and understand data. We can analyze data to help us improve our theories.

rapscience has two analysis pages:
1) The Visualizer page is a place where you can do your own flow analyses, using MCFlow data.
2) The Studies page presents my own analyses of rap flow that I've made using .

There are two main approaches to analyzing music: close reading and corpus analysis. At rapscience we mix and synthesize the two approaches.

Close reading

Close reading is detailed study of specific songs or even just parts of songs. Close reading is the traditional, humanistic approach to studying music. Close reading is the best way to explore the subtle, beautiful, personal experience of music.

Theory can guide our close reading, and close reading can give us ideas about theory. However, because close reading is conceded with subtle, often intangible details and specifics, is is not a great way to test general theories. We tend to become more emotionally involved in our close reading, since it so close to our experience of music. Thus, close reading provides us data, but it is often emotionally colored, nonrandom, or biased data, and is not appropriate for testing hypotheses.

The rapscience Visualizer creates flow diagrams of rap verses which can be useful for close reading analyses. The Studies page currently includes one close reading study of cross-rhythm in rap.

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Corpus analysis

Corpus analysis is a newer, more empirical approach to studying music. Corpus analysis involves analyzing large numbers of songs in mass using a computer. Corpus analysis requires that data be gathered and measured in a precise, systematic manner. Corpus analysis is good for making stable generalizations about musical structure.

Corpus analysis can be used to test hypotheses and theories. Corpus analysis can also uncover unanticipated facts about music, which can help improve our theories.

The rapscience Visualizer creates flow diagrams of rap verses which can be useful for close reading analyses. The Studies page currently includes five corpus analyses of MCFlow, most of which are published in my Dissertation, and/or in an article in Empirical Musicology Review.

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