American Symphony Orchestra Repertoires 1842-1970, sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Indiana University Foundation, is the result of 32 years of data collection efforts by Kate Hevner Mueller and John Henry Mueller, with assistance from numerous friends and colleagues including Elizabeth Kirkpatrick Vrenios, Ann Louise Davidson, and Mr. and Mrs. Robert Griffith. The study cataloged the repertoires of 27 major symphony orchestras in the United States from the 1842/1843 season through the 1969/1970 season, including the length of the pieces performed, the composers, and their nationalities. "Major" was defined as a symphony whose expenditures exceeded $500,000, as listed in 1972 by the American Symphony League. The population of repertoires included only regular subscription series concerts. The purpose of this data collection was to transfer these data to the computer so that future scholars may be spared the tedious tabulations and calculations which constitute the major drawback for socio-musical research. With the permission of the Indiana University Foundation, 127 years of symphony orchestra data are now easily accessible in an electronic format.
Indiana University Foundation
Smallest Geographic Unit
Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
1842 -- 1970
Date of Collection
1940 -- 1972
Data Collection Notes
Others contributed to this project. Elizabeth Kirkpatrick Vrenios supervised undergraduate workers. Ann Louise Davidson served as typist-linguist-chartmaker-researcher. Mr. and Mrs. Robert Griffith searched for and documented timings of each composition. Document Solutions Inc. (Oakland, CA) scanned and digitized the data collected by the original researchers. The project was produced by Indiana University Press, 1973, Bloomington, Indiana.
This data collection was previously distributed by the Cultural Policy and the Arts National Data Archive (CPANDA). The CPANDA Identification Number (study number) is a00225. 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.
Three orchestras also classified as major were not included in this study because of short histories and difficulty in securing records: The American Symphony founded 1962; Honolulu, Hawaii; and San Antonio, Texas, founded 1939.
Data may not be categorized according to modern classifications. For example, when nationality of composers was recorded, it included, as separate categories: England, Scotland, and Britain.
Assigning nationalities to composers was not always a straightforward task for the researchers. The book described the decision-making process as follows: "For most composers the place of birth gives immediate national identification, except in those cases where political boundaries have shifted in two world wars, notably in the Balkan areas. There are always those special cases however, of composers who change their citizenship either by choice or necessity. 'Unless there are strong reasons to the contrary a composer is allocated for present purposes to the country in which he has produced his major works and in whose culture he has shared and participated. . . Handel is counted as British, Chopin as French. . . Theodore Thomas and Walter Damrosch as American. . .Stravinsky, Schoenberg and others who migrated with mature reputations to the United States are assigned to their respective European origins.'" (Quoted text within the book was cited as originating in Mueller, John H. THE AMERICAN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: A SOCIAL HISTORY OF MUSICAL TASTE. Indiana University Press, 1951.)
An error exists in the printed source document regarding the death year of Johan Sebastian Bach. It is given as 1850, but the correct year is 1750.
Due to limitation in Stata, the original open-text REVIEW variable was divided across REVIEW1 and REVIEW2 variables created by ICPSR. Blanks in these variables were recoded to -9 and labeled as "Blank."
Due to the limit in the number of allowable rows of 65,536 in Excel 97-2003 (file ending, xls), the Excel file being distributed with this collection is in the later version of Excel (file ending of xlsx).
As the author, Kate Hevner Mueller, stated in the acknowledgements of the print version of these data, "eventually these data must be transferred to the computer, so that future scholars may be spared the tedious tabulations and calculations which constitute the major drawback for socio-musical research." With the gracious permission of the Indiana University Foundation, 127 years of symphony orchestra data, laboriously collected over the span of 32 years, are now easily accessible in an electronic format as the author intended.
By examining the content of orchestra program booklets and other relevant materials, researchers collected data about 87,175 pieces performed by 27 symphony orchestras over a span of 127 years. The researchers conducted a content analysis of orchestra program booklets, along with research on timings conducted through catalogs, card files of radio studios, and publishers' lists. The following symphony orchestras were included in the study: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York Philharmonic, New York Symphony, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Rochester, St. Louis, San Francisco, Seattle, Utah, and the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington DC. CPANDA commissioned Document Solutions, Inc. (Oakland, CA) to scan and digitize the data collected by the original researchers. The digital file was triple-checked by Document Solutions to ensure that data entry errors were minimized. Potential problems or irregularities in the original data source noted by Document Solutions are provided in variables REVIEW1 and REVIEW2 of the data set.
The researchers conducted a census of major symphony orchestra repertoires. The data collected include all performances in regular subscription concerts by 27 major symphony orchestras in the United States. "Major" was defined as a symphony whose expenditures exceeded $500,000, as listed in 1972 by the American Symphony League.
American symphony orchestra repertoires
Unit(s) of Observation
administrative records data
Mode of Data Collection
Description of Variables
The study cataloged the repertoires of 27 major symphony orchestras in the United States from the 1842/1843 season through the 1969/1970 season, including the length of the pieces performed, the composers, and their nationalities.
Original Release Date
2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
- Mueller, Kate Hevner. American Symphony Orchestra Repertoires 1842-1970 [United States]. ICPSR35235-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2015-01-23. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR35235.v1
2015-01-23 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.
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.