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In February 2015 KenOC challenged us to estimate how much time we spent listening to various composers as a percentage of the total time we spent listening to music. Because I listen to music almost exclusively on iTunes, I was able to make a fairly precise reckoning. I will try to find that thread so that I can post my numbers from that time here.

Edit: Found it:

8.00% - Beethoven
7.69% - Bach
3.55% - Mozart
3.21% - Haydn
3.06% - Brahms
2.63% - Wagner
2.23% - Chopin
2.12% - Monteverdi
1.94% - Schubert
1.60% - Schoenberg
1.46% - Mahler
1.44% - Prokofiev

That was then. I did it again and these are my numbers from today (16/5/12), listing only composers that broke the 1% barrier:

Beethoven 8.58% (+.58%)
Bach, JS 6.62% (-1.07%)
Mozart 4.29% (+.74%)
Brahms 3.39% (+.33%)
Schubert 2.74% (+.78%)
Haydn 2.69% (-.52%)
Mahler 2.44% (+1%)
Wagner 2.21% (-.42%)
Chopin 2.00% (-.23%)
Schumann 1.47%
Schoenberg 1.46% (-.14%)
Monteverdi 1.24% (-.88%)
Prokofiev 1.06% (-.38%)
Shostakovich 1.06%

Which means I spend just over 41% of my time listening to just 14 composers, and almost 20% of my time listening to just 3.


Here I am again, almost a year later, with updated and hopefully improved statistics!

The major caveat is that of course I probably made some mistakes putting the data into Excel. That's life. The minor caveat is that my play count tool is iTunes, and that program is somewhat unreliable, as (for example) it sometimes changes the composer field on certain tracks back to whatever it was before I changed it to what it should be. So iTunes stinks. When I become a billionaire, I promise to pay some brilliant programmer to develop a better tool for us all.

Ok, here are the new numbers (the amount of time I have spent listening to composers as a percentage of the total amount of time I have spent listening to music on iTunes since the last time my iTunes crashed so badly that I lost my play counts [so this tally includes the previous tally plus the listening that I have done since then], minimum of one percent], followed by the change since the last tally):

Beethoven: 8.21% (-0.37%)
Bach: 5.32% (-1.30%)
Mozart: 4.18% (-0.11%)
Brahms: 2.97% (-0.42%)
Schubert: 2.76% (+0.02%)
Haydn: 2.48% (-0.21%)
Mahler: 2.42% (-0.02%)
Wagner: 2.13% (-0.08%)
Chopin: 1.62% (-0.38%)
Shostakovich: 1.24% (+0.18%)
Schoenberg: 1.22% (-0.24%)
Schumann: 1.17% (-0.30%)
Handel: 1.12% (N/A)
Prokofiev: 1.11% (+0.05%)
Tchaikovsky: 1.04% (N/A)
Monteverdi: 1.02% (-0.22%)

I'd like to welcome Handel and Tchaikovsky to the 1% club! Barely missing the list were Bartok, Sibelius, and Bruckner.

So now there are 16 composers who occupy at least 1% of my time.

Almost every composer moved down because I've made an effort to listen to all of my music; I still haven't listened to more than half of my music since the last crash. As I make more progress on this goal, it is likely that most composers in the 1% club will continue to fall, mainly excepting Mozart if I get to the Brilliant Box of his complete works.

The only really big mover was Bach, poor Bach!

The biggest climber was Shostakovich, but six composers fell more than he rose.

The big three have now occupied over 17% of my listening to music time, and the sixteen composers in the 1% club have claimed almost exactly 40% of it.

The next sixteen composers, assuming I didn't miss anyone, collectively occupied just over 10% of my time. They are Bartok, Sibelius, Bruckner, Dvorak, Ravel, Debussy, Stravinsky, Faure, Vivaldi, Mendelssohn, Rachmaninoff, Liszt, Verdi, Biber, Britten, and Richard Strauss.

The third tier of sixteen have claimed about 6% of my time, and they are Janacek, Saint-Saens, Vaughan Williams, Ives, Albeniz, Berlioz, Puccini, Byrd, Messiaen, Carter, Kodaly, Ligeti, Nono, Enescu, Berg and Hildegard von Bingen.

The fourth tier of sixteen have claimed almost 4% of my time, and they are Boccherini, Grieg, Joaquin, Purcell, Zelenka, Cage, Elgar, Delius, Palestrina, Gesualdo, Reich, Hindemith, Scriabin, Respighi, Martinu, and Franck. The last of that list, Franck, is at about a fifth of a percent.

I tallied 140 composers for this accounting, and all together they came to 69% of my listening time.

Hopefully iTunes and my hard drives will hold up for another year - I would not bet on that of course - and I will be able to do another progress report!
Likes Caroline, haziz liked this post

Updated Mar-24-2017 at 09:56 by science



  1. science's Avatar
    So here we go again! 'Tis May 15, 2018 (for some reason I started to type 1998 - shows where my head's at) and these are the numbers for all the composers whose music accounts for at least half a percent of my listening (followed in parentheses by the delta from the last tally, when known):

    Beethoven: 7.75% (-.56%)

    Bach, JS: 5.19% (-.13%)

    Mozart: 4.17% (-.01%)

    Brahms: 2.91% (-.06%)
    Schubert: 2.65% (-.09%)
    Mahler: 2.58% (+.16%)
    Haydn: 2.49% (+.01%)
    Wagner: 2.24% (+.11%)

    Chopin: 1.56% (-.06%)

    Shostakovich: 1.28% (+.04%)
    Schumann: 1.20% (+.03%)
    Monteverdi: 1.13% (+.11%)
    Schoenberg: 1.06% (-.16%)
    Prokofiev: 1.00% (-.11%)

    Tchaikovsky: .98% (-.06%)
    Handel: .97% (-.15%)
    Dvorak: .92%
    Bartok: .85%
    Bruckner: .84%

    Sibelius: .76%
    Faure: .71%

    Vivaldi: .69%
    Debussy: .68%
    Rachmaninoff: .67%
    Ravel: .67%
    Mendelssohn: .65%
    Stravinsky: .63%

    Liszt: .59%
    Verdi: .52%

    Ok! So now the big 3 come to 17.11% of my listening - roughly the same as before....

    The 14 composers in the >1% club, from which two members have been expelled, now account for 37% of my listening.

    The following fourteen (Tchaikovsky, Handel, Dvorak, Bartok, Bruckner, Sibelius, Faure, Vivaldi, Debussy, Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Mendelssohn, Stravinsky Liszt) account for a combined 10.6%.

    The following fourteen (Verdi, Biber [!], Janacek, Strauss, Britten, Puccini, Albeniz, RVW, Kodaly, Saint-Saens, Enescu [!], Berlioz, Ives, and Boccherini) account for 5.62%.

    And one more set of 14 (Byrd, Messiaen, Ligeti, Nono, Carter, Berg, Martinu, Josquin, Elgar, Purcell, Zelenka, Hildegard, Grieg, Donizetti) account for 3.83%.

    Enough of that! This time I tallied 146 composers, whose works combined to account for 67.82% of my listening.

    The Olympians in general are falling hard. The big gainer was Mahler, followed closely by Verdi and Monteverdi. But the drop in Beethoven alone is more than enough to compensate for the gains of all the composers whose gains are recorded.

    For the most part, the rank has been consistent. Mahler passed Haydn, Schumann passed Schoenberg, and... to get to the point, Monteverdi passed a bunch. But I am surprised that Monteverdi gained because I had to delete some corrupt files that were an album of Monteverdi madrigals, or that number would be even higher.
    Updated May-14-2018 at 19:21 by science
  2. science's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by science View Post
    Hello friends - I wonder if any of you have a recording of these works that you recommend? Or if some particular recording is famous, etc.?

    (Sorry if this is the wrong forum. I couldn't tell which forum this thread would belong in.)
    That is the earliest me-thread that I have found.

    Quote Originally Posted by science View Post
    This thread was a bad idea; maybe the mods can delete it?

    Sorry for the trouble! I promise to be good from now on...
    This is the earliest one I can remember starting.

    Quote Originally Posted by science View Post
    I go through phases. I've been in an "individual recordings" phase for a year or two. Might be getting back into big sets though... (I'm coveting Schiff's Schubert sonata set...)
    This is the earliest me-post that I have found.
    Updated Jul-04-2018 at 15:49 by science