Transpositions Within User-Posted YouTube Lyric Videos: A Corpus Study


  • Joseph Plazak Illinois Wesleyan University



YouTubeology, music communication models, digital audio manipulations, active listeners


There are many practical reasons why experiences of a given musical work tend to be heard repeatedly at the same pitch transposition level, especially recordings of musical works.  Yet here, a corpus study is presented that challenges this very basic assumption of music perception.  In 2011, an initial corpus of 100 user-posted YouTube videos was collected in order to investigate the prevalence of transposition and tempo alterations within these videos.  Results found 42% of these videos contained nominal changes of pitch (36%) and/or tempo (22%). Using the same methodology, a follow-up study was performed in 2015 and found only that 24% of user-posted videos contained these same alterations. Implications for these observations are discussed in light of musical communication models, YouTubeology, and absolute pitch memory.




How to Cite

Plazak, J. (2016). Transpositions Within User-Posted YouTube Lyric Videos: A Corpus Study. Empirical Musicology Review, 11(1), 88–96.