Influences On: Some Additional Statistics

In this and its twin page (re the 'Musical Influences' data), some additional statistics are offered in an effort to further summarize the influences data given in the "Composers" section on a composer-by-composer basis. In that section the relative remote age of influence is conveyed in the last two fields by preceding the names in each list with '+' and '-' signs; in the 'Has Influenced' field a name is so tagged as follows: (1) no tag: indicates that the composer influenced is younger than the subject composer, and was alive during the latter's life; (2) one plus ( + ): indicates that the composer influenced was born 0 to 25 years after the death of the subject composer; (3) two plusses ( ++ ): indicates that the composer influenced was born 25 to 100 years after the death of the subject composer; (4) three plusses ( +++ ): indicates that the composer influenced was born more than 100 years after the death of the subject composer; (5) one minus ( - ): indicates that the composer influenced was older than the subject composer. In Tables C and D below these data have been summarized on a by-composer basis. Tables A and B, concerning the 'Musical Influences' data (on the twin page), contain the same variables and data, but have been sorted according to other of these variables/data.

The first three columns in the tables give the 'Mean Age' of the influencing composers, simply by assigning the values 0, -1, -2, -3, and +1 to the conditions described above, and then taking the sums and means. For example, it turns out that Carl Orff's influences code as: -3 -3 -3 0 0 -3 -3 -3 0 0, which summed comes to a value of -18., which divided by the number of influences involved (10) produces a mean value of -1.8. The second column relays the number of influences (in his case, 10). The third column relays an unusual statistic: the number of composers influencing the subject composer who were younger than he/she was. Columns four through six provide a slightly different look at the 'Has Influenced' data: column four consists of the total number of plusses connected to the subject composer; column five relays the total number of composers influenced by the subject composer; and column six the number of composers influenced by the subject composer who were older than he/she was.

To create the "111 Most Influential Composers" list, I left out of my calculations any name in the influences lists that either had a '?' appended to the name, or was not from the basic list of 500 ( i.e., any of the names appearing within brackets [ ] ). This, in the interest of conservative and equal appraisal. To produce the lists here (and for tables A and B), however, I have included all names in the influences lists. However, composers in the "Composers" list who influenced, or were influenced by, fewer than six other composers were not counted. This makes comparisons among the remaining names a bit more realistic. However, as a result one cannot "rank" them, only put them in order. Tables A and B contain data on just over half of the names from the list of 500; Tables C and D, just under thirty percent. This is not as bad as it sounds, as most of the major composers are represented in both lists, and somewhere around half of the 500 produced no or only one significant influences on later figures anyway. Remember also that we are trying to identify a population here, not just taking a sample.

In Table C below, the highest possible value obtainable for the fourth column, 'Total, + ', would be three times the number of composers influenced, and the lowest, 0. Of all the composers I investigated, J. S. Bach is clearly the composer whose large-scale long-term influence is the greatest in this sense. These numbers are of course influenced by the sliding scale they are based on, but at worst they provide a different perspective from the "111 Most Influential" list, which focuses on mass of influence on currently significant figures.

The fifth column, gives the number of instances of influence involved for each subject composer.

In Table D, data in the sixth column form the primary sort: to emphasize those composers who influenced the most composers older than themselves. The "winners" here include Stravinsky, Ravel, Mozart, Rossini and Richard Strauss. One may interpret these folks to be the greatest "movers and shakers" of their time, at least to the extent that even several composers senior to themselves felt the need to incorporate their advances into their own work.

For parallel information focusing on the 'Musical Influences' data (columns one through three), see the twin page in this section.

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