Joshua Ballance

Research Interests

Post-tonal analysis, Second Viennese School, corpus studies, digital humanities, computational musicology, music21

Area of proposed thesis

My research, supervised by Prof. Jonathan Cross, uses a corpus study approach to assess aspects of harmony in the post-tonal music of the Second Viennese School. Using scores as source material, I first encode the relevant works and then use music21, a Python-based toolkit for digital musicology, to investigate particular harmonic features from a statistical perspective. Primary examples include those harmonic ’types’ and sequences of types used most frequently, which give an empirical sense of the harmonic ‘language’ of these composers. Employing this digital strategy for collecting data allows me to locate long-term patterns that are not identifiable through conventional ‘manual’ analysis. In turn, this allows me to distinguish stylistically both between these composers, and within their particular bodies of work.


Joshua Ballance. 2020. Pitch-Class Distributions in the Music of Anton Webern. In Proceedings of The Workshop on The Computational Humanities, Folgert Karsdorp, Barbara McGillivray, Adina Nerghes, and Melvin Wevers (Eds.), Vol. 2723., Amsterdam, 214–224.

Joshua Ballance. 2021. The Path to the New Note: Interval Distributions in the Music of Anton Webern. In 8th International Conference on Digital Libraries for Musicology(DLfM ’21). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 59–66. DOI:



AHRC Open-Oxford-Cambridge Doctoral Training Partnership

Subjects Taught