Taking Note: A Study of Composers and New Music Activity in the U.S. (2008) (ICPSR 36325)

Principal Investigator(s): Jeffri, Joan, Columbia University. Research Center for Arts and Culture


Commissioned by the American Music Center (AMC) and the American Composers Forum (ACF), the two largest composer service organizations in the nation, the Research Center for Arts and Culture examined how composers create their work within the broad new music landscape. As RCAC's Taking Note is the first known national study of living American composers, the research methodology broadly included 90 interviews with composers and field experts from around the country, a national online survey returned by 1,347 respondents, focus groups, and a series of in-depth investigations into innovative resources available to composers. The report includes insights into composers' work, business practices, income, affiliations, collaborations, diversity and education along with extensive discussion on the opportunities and challenges facing the field of new music. Additionally, RCAC posits a series of recommendations for how composers' work may be better employed within the American musical ecology and provides a series of spotlights showcasing the work of organizations breaking new ground for composers in the United States.

Access Notes

  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.


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Study Description


Jeffri, Joan. Taking Note: A Study of Composers and New Music Activity in the U.S. (2008). ICPSR36325-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2016-01-28. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36325.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36325.v1

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This study was funded by:

  • National Endowment for the Arts

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    arts, arts education, arts organizations, income, music, musicians

Smallest Geographic Unit:    state

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 2008-04-01--2008-05-13

Date of Collection:   

  • 2008-04-01--2008-05-13

Unit of Observation:    individual

Universe:    American composers

Data Type(s):    survey data

Data Collection Notes:

Others contributed to the study. Eric J. Oberstein and Trevor Reed served as research coordinators. Elizabeth H. Perlmutter was the project coordinator for AMC/ACF. Oscar Torres-Reyna contributed as the data consultant. Taking Note was made possible by a grant from an anonymous foundation and additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

This data collection was previously distributed by the Cultural Policy and the Arts National Data Archive (CPANDA). The CPANDA Identification Number (study number) is a00251. CPANDA conducted the following processing steps for release of this collection: produced a codebook, checked for undocumented codes, performed consistency checks, provided frequencies, performed recodes, and reformatted the data.

Quick facts for this data collection, "How many jazz musicians are there?" and "The Arts and the Internet: How Has Technology and the Internet Impacted San Francisco Area Artists?" are available from the Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies (CACPS) at Princeton University.

To protect the anonymity of respondents, all variables that could be used to identify individuals have been masked or recoded. For details regarding these changes, please refer to the Codebook Notes provided in the ICPSR Codebook in this data collection.


Study Design:    The RCAC conducted 90 in-the-field interviews with composers and related experts including board members of the American Music Center and the American Composers Forum, directors of national music service organizations, performers, conductors, presenters, funders, music publishers, licensing organizations and a variety of other professionals and stakeholders in the new music field. In addition, the RCAC conducted an online survey of composers, which was returned by 1,347 respondents, and created eleven "spotlights" to illustrate models in different areas of the new music field.


Feasibility study see the Arts and Cultural Research Web site; and for study7 see using Respondent-driven sampling and Appendix B in the report associated with this dataset.

Time Method:    Cross-sectional

Mode of Data Collection:    face-to-face interview, web-based survey

Extent of Processing:   ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Created online analysis version with question text.

Restrictions: Users of the data must agree to the Terms of Use presented on the NADAC Web site and available through the link in each codebook.


Original ICPSR Release:   2016-01-28

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