What’s in my LP Collection?

Biographic Notes

2011-07-27 — Original posting (in Blogger)
2014-10-28 — Re-posting as is (WordPress)
2016-06-19 — Brushed up for better readability

music collection

An Attempted Statistical Analysis

This blog entry is probably a bit boring, “pseudo-scientific” … sorry about that: can’t always suppress my science background! Numerically, the top favorites in my vinyl collection are likely nothing special, certainly at the top end:

  • Bach — 387 LPs
  • Beethoven — 280 LPs
  • Mozart — 170 LPs
  • Handel — 102 LPs
  • Haydn — 98 LPs
  • Schubert — 88 LPs
  • Brahms — 68 LPs
  • Mahler — 61 LPs
  • Monteverdi — 33 LPs
  • Wagner — 33 LPs
  • Tchaikovsky — 30 LPs
  • Mendelssohn — 28 LPs
  • Chopin — 26 LPs
  • Bruckner — 24 LPs
  • Vivaldi — 23 LPs
  • Schumann — 21 LPs
  • Liszt — 17 LPs
  • Dvořak — 16 LPs
  • Telemann — 13 LPs
  • Rachmaninoff — 11 LPs

and so on — up to composer #212 with a small composition on an LP with a collection of small pieces. I evaluated these numbers by collecting each composer’s yearly additions from my card registry into a spreadsheet. Yes, for once my elaborate card registry was useful — I wanted to have some benefit from the hundreds of hours invested over all the years! This may have been more tedious than counting the LPs in the shelves, but it has the added benefit that I can now play with these numbers / data!

The Alphabetic View

For instance, here’s a graph that shows  the yearly additions of LPs for each composer represented by at least one LP, in alphabetic order:


I selected a view along the “Bach / Beethoven alley”. Every horizontal graph stands for a year, 1967 in the foreground, ending with the late 89’s in the back. Sporadic additions are shown as individual, small “peaks”, composers with regular / frequent additions are seen as “ridges”.The two rows of peaks at the very left represent Bach and Beethoven.

To the right of Beethoven (sorry, there isn’t enough space to label 150+ composers!) you see the ridges for Brahms, Bruckner and Chopin. The next major ridge (in the middle, with the yellow peak in the center) stands for Handel and Haydn, followed by Mozart (3 peaks of similar height, preceded by Mendelssohn and Monteverdi). Then, there’s the ridge for Schubert and Schumann, and at the far right there’s Wagner. The green peak happens to be “Der Ring des Nibelungen” (predecessor to “The Lord of the Rings”!) with Furtwängler conducting.

Second Try: Chronological View

That is boring and not very instructive, i.e., it doesn’t provide much more information than the simple list above. How about sorting composers by their birth year rather than alphabetically? The result is a little more informative, as we can now see how the music in my collection is distributed over the past 700 (roughly) years:


I have rotated the graph such that we look “down the Bach/Handel – Beethoven alley”, with Haydn and Mozart in-between. To the left of (i.e., earlier than) Bach/Handel, Monteverdi is the only composer with significant presence (OK, Vivaldi is hidden behind the “Bach ridge”). While in the baroque and classic segments, musical “monster personalities” are dominating, the romantic and more recent periods see a more even distribution among various composers. Note that the time axis is not linear — “width” in the graph indicates the presence of (numerous) “minor” composers in my collection.

All this is of course just my LP collection and by no means indicating the overall productivity of given composers or time periods. Note that Telemann (who composed more than Bach and Handel combined) is not even visible in this graph: along with Vivaldi he falls “prey to the Bach ridge” …

Last, but not least: this may give you an idea why I’m sorting my LP and CD collections in chronological rather than alphabetical order.

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