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Demographics, Analytics, And Trends - The Shifting Sands of an Online Engagement With Music Theory

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Demographics, Analytics, And Trends - The Shifting Sands of an Online Engagement With Music Theory
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   [1] Many greetings to you all, gentle readers of  MTO ! This year we celebrate the full fruition of an idea that nobody couldhave imagined just 22 years ago. The storied cast of characters collected in this secial collection has described  MTO shumble beginnings as well as its innovative use of technology and design. y the time # joined u as editor with Tim $oo%inin 2&&',  MTO  was already at the cutting edge. (ll rent )orgason, *ean (t+inson, and # had to do was sruce u the loo+ and udate a few features. #nstead, # concentrated my time as editor on growing our ool of authors and establishing abroader readershi, which was made significantly easier by the addition of oogle (nalytics in 2&&-. The ability to trac+ readershi in real time and to reach an ever increasing diverse grou of authors at the dro of a hat allowed and continues toallow/  MTO  to stay ahead of the curve, not just technologically, but also in its reaction to scholarly trends. #n articular, ane0ansion of  MTO s tradition of secial volumes devoted to articular toics gave us an oortunity to reach out to new authors. ven better, these secial volumes catured a raidly growing readershi. #ndeed, si0 of our eight most read volumes over the ast two decades are secial volumes, and nine of the twentyfive most read volumes are secial volumes,accounting for more than 3&4 of the readershi for this grou. 1/  My tas+ in the  present   secial collection is to relate  MTO shistory to our disciline, emloying data from web analytics as well as from submission and ublication reorts in order toe0lore trends in toics and demograhics across the journals 2& years of ublications. 5ltimately, this will rovide a uni6uerecord of the *ociety for Music Theorys most ublic voice while ointing to develoing trends. *o, lets start with a simle6uestion. I. Who Reads  MTO MTO MTO MTO ? [2] The answer is that many, many eole read  MTO . 5sing oogle (nalytics to trac+ readershi since 2&&- the first yearthat we imlemented this tool/, and conservatively estimating based on linear growth starting in 2&&7,  MTO  has had1,3&8,'11 uni6ue visitors and aro0imately 81','9: return visitors. #n the last seven years alone there have been over 8-,&&& ;olume 2&, <umber 1, =ebruary 2&18>oyright ? 2&18 *ociety for Music Theory  @emograhics, (nalytics, and TrendsA The *hifting *ands of an Bnline ngagement with Music Theory  Matthew *haftel <BTA The e0amles for the te0tonly/ C@= version of this item are available online atA httADDwww.mtosmt.orgDissuesDmto.18.2&.1Dmto.18.2&.1.shaftel.h$)EBF@*A  MTO,  history of theory, *ociety for Music Theory, demograhics. Received January 2014   1 of 7   visits to  MTO  lasting more than ten minutes, with many of them lasting significantly longer.[7] Figure 1  shows the tremendous growth of returning readershi to  MTO . The conservative estimate of linear growth isshown by the straight line to <ovember 2&&-. The wiggly grah that follows is actual data from oogle (nalytics.[8] Figure 2  shows just the seven years of oogle (nalytic data, counting reeat visits, rather than uni6ue visits. 2/  Theea+s in the blue reeatvisitor line generally coincide with the regular release of new volumes, which always bring a burst of interest in the journal. The very stee ea+ on *etember 1-, 2&17, for instance, coincides e0actly with the announcement of   MTO  volume 19.7. <ote, too, that the  MTO  audience has become increasingly Macintosh oriented, and, between Ganuary 2&11 and Bctober 2&17, there have been over 9,&&& return visitors using mobile devices, most of them on a gadget made by  (le. 7/  Mobile users still reresent only about 1:4 of  MTO !s readershi. This number is continuing to grow, however.[3] Figure 3  includes a grahic from oogle (nalytics that shows reeat visits disaggregated by country. <ot surrisingly,the vast majority of our readers hail from the 5.*. and >anada. However, we also have a number of readers from overseas. The nglishsea+ing world is well reresented, with the 5.$., <ew Iealand, and (ustralia among our most fre6uentinternational readers, but *ain and elgium have a larger number of readers. This is suorted by oogle translator data, which shows over 19,&&& reeat visitors who translated  MTO  ages into *anish. *ignificant numbers of return visitors thatis, more than 2,&&&/ have also translated  MTO !s ages into =rench, @utch, erman, and ra%ilian Cortuguese. 8/  #!ll now ta+ea closer loo+ at the statistics from uroe see Figure 4  /.[-] The number of reeat visits from readers in mainland uroe was steady for many years, but ic+ed u dramatically inmid2&11, driven largely by a temorary increase in traffic from elgium, which was then ic+ed u by traffic from ermany and the <etherlands. Bverall, though, a growing #nternet resence and the imrovement in web translators has increased  MTO !s overseas readershi, which accounts for 7:4 of our reeat readers. II. How many articles and essays are published in  MTO MTO MTO MTO ? [:] # will now turn away from overall readershi numbers and loo+ at submission rates, author diversity, and toic trends in  MTO !s history. This data is drawn from the volumes of  MTO  itself, from ublication reorts which are only e0tant starting in 2&&2/, and additional oogle (nalytics filters. 3/ ['] Figure   shows the number of articles and essays submitted to and acceted by  MTO  over the 2&year history, -/  and thenumber of these that were authored by women. @ue to the fact that ublicationscommittee reorts are not available rior to2&&2, submission data only reresents 2&&2J2&17. *ome oints of interest to noteA The overall number of submissions has grown substantially since 2&&2. #ndeed,  MTO  has consistently receivedbetween five and si0 times more submissions than it received in 2&&2.1. The total number of acceted items has also grown fairly steadily since around 1999. The first several years of thejournal saw a higher degree of activity, with aro0imately twenty items ublished er year. ( return to that degree of activity occurred around 2&&: and has settled around thirty to forty items er year since 2&&9.2.[9] The gender diversity of our authorshi is on the right trac+, as shown by the generally increasing number of submissionsby women authors u from four in 2&&2 to twentythree for each of the ast two years/, but still leaves a good deal of roomfor imrovement. Eith roughly 7&4 of our society membershi made u of scholars who are women, it is noteworthy that it was only in 2&&2, 2&&3, 2&12, and 2&17 that nearly but not 6uite/ 7&4 of the incoming submissions were by women. #n theyears 2&&7, 2&&8, 2&&3, 2&&', and 2&1&, 7&4 or more of the acceted items were by women. The year 2&&9 saw twelveublished items that were authored by women, but that number has not been sustained in the four years that have followed.[1&] Musictheoretical ublications tend to be rather significant in length, with some articles e0tending well over thirty agesof te0t. :/  These unusually long articles have generally been imractical to ublish in the more traditional rint journals inour field. #n addition, some scholars have lamented a lac+ of venues for more brief forays into musical considerations. =orthe ast two decades,  MTO  has been roviding a consistent venue for musictheory research of all lengths, and, while the 2 of 7  ercentage of ublished items that are brief has droed from :24 in its first three years to 724 in 2&11J2&17, the numberof brief essays and commentaries ublished each year is still significant see Figure !  /. III. What areas o research are ound in  MTO MTO MTO MTO ? [11] Figure #  shows the toics of ublished  MTO  items over the 2&year history groued into threeyear time sans/. <otethat an item may fit into more than one toic, so roughly 3&4 of items are double counted in this chart. The toics are listedin order from most to least common as reresented by the total number over the  MTO  lifesan/. =or instance, over the asttwo decades there have been :3 items on tonal subjects, 39 items that engage musical meaning or metahor, 32 that discussmusic from the earlytwentieth century, and 3& that focus on oular music toics. *ome oints of interest regarding =igure:A The number of toics engaged in each threeyear time san has grown steadily over time, with only ten toics in1997J1993, to thirteen in 1999J2&&1, to si0teen in 2&&'J2&1&, to seventeen in 2&11J2&17. This may be accounted forin art by the increased number of ublished items in each eriod, as shown in =igure -. Eith the one e0cetion of 199-J199', a relatively even distribution of major toics has continued to be manifest in  MTO . The to five toics in  MTO !s first years were each reresented by between ten and si0teen items. #n the mostrecent threeyear eriods, the si0 most oular toics have each been reresented by at least nine items. The outliershere are oularmusic and tonalmusic toics, which, while being significantly more reresented than other toics,have still only accounted for 2'4 of items over the ast si0 years. The change in the number of toics reresented in any threeyear eriod cannot be lin+ed directly to the addition of articular toics over time. =or instance, there were no earlymusic items ublished in the eriods starting in 1997,1999, and 2&&', but every other time san included at least three. Bn the other hand, wor+ on issues of disability wasintroduced in the secial volume in 2&&9, with one additional item ublished in 2&17.[12] Figure $  shows the relative distribution of individual toics over time, normali%ed as a ercentage of total itemsublished within a articular toic. The different colors reresent threeyear sans, from the earliest in dar+ blue on thebottom/, to the most recent in light blue on the to/. Toics are listed from most common on the left to least reresentedon the right, so one might note that, although cognition is the least reresented with only seven items over twenty years/,those articles have been relatively evenly distributed since the first cognition article in 199'. (s # stated reviously, many toics have maintained a fairly steady resence over  MTO !s lifesanA The three most common toics tonality, meaningDmetahor, and early twentiethcentury music/, have been relatively steadily reresented over  MTO !s lifesan.  MTO !s long commitment to ublishing *MT +eynotes and lenary sessions results in a relatively even resence of metatheoretical toics over the ast twenty years, although, as the overall number of items ublished each year hasgrown, this has become a smaller ercentage of the total. '/ Bther toics that have been relatively evenly reresented throughout  MTO !s lifesan include hilosohy andaesthetics, with greater reresentation both early and more recentlyK mathDmusic and edagogy, with fairly low numbers overallK and rhythm and meter, with a modest degree of recent growth, mostly driven by an overla in thenumber of oular music and nonwestern ublications that also engage rhythm and meter twelve items/.[17] =igure ' also shows a number of growth areas in scholarly researchACublications on nonwestern music are largely aggregated in two secial volumes devoted to the toic in 2&&&  ;olume -.1 / and 2&1&   ;olume 1-.8 /. (s mentioned reviously, research on disability is largely focused in a single combined secial volumeA 13.7 and 13.8. Ehile neither of these areas has shown linear growth, they clearly reresent areas of growth. 3 of 7  Coular music toics, however, have seen tremendous and steady growth, from a single ublication in 2&&1  Mar+  utler!s stunning article on electronic dance music /, to twentythree items in the ast three years.Bther growth areas include erformance and analysis, a recurrent toic throughout  MTO  history, and one that hasseen several secial volumesK and form, li+ely sar+ed by the ublication of ill >alin!s  199' / boo+ on classical form,Heo+os+i and @arcy!s  2&&- / boo+ on sonata theory, and the Tempest Sonata   secial  MTO  volume in 2&1&   ;olume1-.2 /. The ublication of research that focuses on more recent comosition has also seen consistent growth over  MTO !s lifesan. The toic of transformational theory saw tremendous growth between the first year of  MTO  and a flurry of ublications in 2&&', but has seen significantly less activity in the ast five years.[18] Figure % shows the toics and number of items submitted comared with the toics and number of items ublished.@ata for items submitted is drawn from ublications reorts, which cover a slightly variable tentotwelvemonth eriod,since the reorts are submitted sometime between (ugust and Bctober. The data for items ublished is ta+en from actual volume years, so there is some discreancy in terms of dates, but it still rovides a general icture of submissions vs.accetance. <ote, too, that this chart does not distinguish between solicited items for  MTO !s many secial issues which arestill subject to review and otential rejection, but tend towards a higher accetance rate/ and the items that are submitted andacceted through the traditional eerreview rocess for which the average accetance rate ranges between 2& and 7&4/. Thus, the small number of submissions and the significantly lower accetance rates for research in cognition 174accetance/ and early music 274 accetance/ may well be related to the lac+ of secial volumes in those areas. y contrast,the higher accetance rate in several areas is directly related to articles in secial volumes or collections of commentariesbased on a articular article as in the case of transformation, whose accetance rate and submission numbers were boostedin 2&&: and 2&&' by resonses to Michael uchler!s LFeconsidering $lumenhouwer <etwor+s, ublished in  ;olume 17.7 /.=inally, given the slightly higher accetance rates and the higher number of items ublished overall, one might conclude thatsubmissions that focus on osttonal toics, oular music, ja%%, or erformance and analysis are more li+ely to beublished. Bn the other hand, if everyone floc+s to a single corner of our disciline as tur+eys do in a thunderstorm/, theseareas of scholarshi are li+ely to become saturated.[13] Gust by oint of comarison, Figure 1& shows the toics of items submitted vs. items ublished for the ast si0 years in  Music Theory Spectrum   data drawn from ublications reorts/. The rofile is 6uite different, with a smaller range of toics, anda more significant reresentation of more traditional osttonal and tonal toics. This emhasis may be a roduct of thelarge number of submissions  MTS   receives in these areas. >ontrast  MTS  !s 7' oularmusicDja%% submissions receivedcomared to aro0imately 3& received by  MTO  over the same time eriod. Much more significantly, however, whereasoularmusic toics have a articularly high accetance rate at  MTO , they have a relatively low accetance rate at  MTS. Costtonal toics, however, have a comarable accetance rate at both  MTS   and  MTO . >ognition wor+ is also much moreli+ely to be submitted to and ublished by  MTS.  The net result is that the two journals have very distinct Lflavors, and #believe that our society finds value in this difference. I'. Which areas o research do  MTO MTO MTO MTO  readers pre er? [1-] Figure 11  draws from oogle(nalytic data for the 1&& most read articles over the ast si0 years, ta+ing the number of reeat readers for each article and aggregating by toic. The number ne0t to the toic name is the number of itemsublished in the relevant area of research. The figure rovides a rather incomlete icture, of course, since it does notmeasure anything ublished before 2&&-, and items ublished more recently have had significantly less time to accumulatereadershi. (s such, high readershi for articles ublished between 2&1& and 2&17 is articularly noteworthy. Ehile thereadershi may artly reflect the number of available articles in a articular toic, this is not always the case. Bne obviouse0cetion is the tremendous readershi of oular music toics, which outaces the readershi of tonal toics by nearly 7,&&& readers. The e0tra readershi is drawn entirely from ublications within the ast three years, which may reflect areference for very recent scholarshi in this area. #f that is the case, we should e0ect to see a drooff in the oularity of  4 of 7
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