Mapping music: Cluster analysis of song-type frequencies within and between cultures

Patrick E. Savage, Steven Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding cross-cultural patterns of musical diversity requires some method of visualizing these patterns using maps. The traditional methods of cross-cultural comparison have been criticized for ignoring the rich diversity of musical styles that exists within each culture. We present a compromise solution in which we map the relative frequencies of different "cantogroups" (stylistic song-types) both within and between cultures. Applying this method to 259 traditional group songs from twelve indigenous peoples of Taiwan, we identified five major cantogroups, the frequencies of which varied across the twelve groups. From this information, we were able to create musical maps of Taiwan. (This article refers to a supplementary speadsheet that can be found at

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-155
Number of pages23
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Dec 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Music


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