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Math Colloquium: Mark Glickman, Harvard University

Thursday, November 11, 2021 4:45pm to 5:30pm

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Data Tripper: Distinguishing Authorship of Beatles Songs through Statistical Modeling -
The songwriting duo of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, the two founding members of the Beatles, have composed some of the most popular and memorable songs of the last century.  Despite having authored songs under the joint credit agreement of Lennon-McCartney, it is well-documented that most of their songs or portions of songs were primarily written by exactly one of the two.  Some Lennon-McCartney songs are actually of disputed authorship. For Lennon-McCartney songs of known and unknown authorship written and recorded over the period 1962-66, we extracted musical features from each song or song portion. These features consist of the occurrence of melodic notes, chords, melodic note pairs, chord change pairs, and four-note melody contours. We developed a prediction model based on variable screening followed by logistic regression with elastic net regularization. We applied our model to the prediction of songs and song portions with unknown or disputed authorship.

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