Exploring rock music data with MELODY

One of the tools Polifonia will release is MELODY. It stands for ‘Make mE a Linked Open Data StorY’ and is a place where you can make sense of Linked Open Data and publish text-based as well as visual data stories. Earlier this year, students of the University of Bologna explored data through this tool. Let’s see what they have found and learned about… rock music.

13 December 2023

One of the tools Polifonia will release is MELODY. It stands for ‘Make mE a Linked Open Data StorY‘ and  is a place where you can make sense of Linked Open Data and publish text-based as well as visual data stories. Earlier this year, students of the University of Bologna explored data through this tool. Let’s see what they have found and learned about… rock music:

Impressions of MELODY

“Rock, also called rock and roll […] is a form of popular music that emerged in the 1950s. It is certainly arguable that by the end of the 20th century rock was the world’s dominant form of popular music”.
Encyclopedia Britannica

The American roots of Rock
Rock and Roll and Rockabilly originated in the United States in the 1950s. In the USA, it developed into genres such as rhythm-and-blues and country. By the 1960s, rock also infected the rest of the world, thanks in part to beat music and the British invasion. Rock became more popular each decade after and grew into a music movement with a plethora of subgenres. In the late 1960s, psychedelic rock emerged, followed by hard rock and punk in the 1970s. In the 1980s and 1990s, new wave, heavy metal and grunge were popular. To this day, rock is one of the most listened-to genres worldwide. Let’s take a look at what the all time favorite rock acts are in rock’s native country, the USA:

Chart by Giulia Montesanto, Agnese Musacchio

Rock children of the ‘60: Pink Floyd
Rock music made an excellent landing in the United Kingdom, and blues rock in particular could win the approval of the future members of Pink Floyd. The following overview shows the releases that emerged from the band’s creative flight: 


 

album date
The Piper at the Gates of Dawn 1967
A Saucerful of Secrets 1968
Ummagumma 1969
Soundtrack From The Film “More” 1969
Atom Heart Mother 1970
The Best of The Pink Floyd 1970
Meddle 1971
Relics 1971
Obscured by Clouds 1972
The Dark Side of the Moon 1973
A Nice Pair 1973
Masters of Rock 1974
Wish You Were Here 1975
Pink Floyd: Animal Instincts 1977
Animals 1977
The First XI 1979
The Wall 1979
A Collection of Great Dance Songs 1981
The Final Cut 1983
Works 1983
Prism 1987
A Momentary Lapse of Reason 1987
Delicate Sound of Thunder 1988
Pink Floyd in Venice 1989
A Perfect Reception 1990
Tonite Let’s All Make Love In London 1991
The Early Singles 1992
Shine On 1992
A Passage of Time 1994
Nothing Is Changed 1994
Q21496116 1994
The Division Bell 1994
Pulse 1995
1967: The First Three Singles 1997
Is There Anybody Out There? The Wall Live 1980–81 2000
Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd 2001
Oh, by the Way 2007
The Best of Pink Floyd: A Foot in the Door 2011
Discovery 2011
Wish You Were Here – Experience Edition 2011
Another Movie in Long Island 2013
The Endless River 2014
The Early Years 1965—1972 2016
Cre/ation – The Early Years 1967-1972 2016
The Later Years 1987–2019 2019
The Later Years 2019
Live at Knebworth 1990 2021

Table by Alessia Perrone and Martina Santarini

They made at least 15 studio albums, of which those from the 1970s became best known to the general public: The Dark Side of the Moon (1973), Wish You Were Here (1975), Animals (1977) and The Wall (1979). The Cambridge-based band grew to become one of the most famous and influential musical bands of all time. They became known for being at the cradle of two new genres of psychedelic space-rock and blues-based progressive rock, and made a name for themselves with their biting political, social and emotional commentary.

Rock loving nation: Italy
The story of rock in Italy hits off in the 1960s. Despite their brief existence, the in 1962 formed New Dada had a lasting effect on the Italian rock music scene, influencing future generations of musicians. Their music is still regarded as a monument to the dynamic age of Italian rock in the 1960s. The 1970s were heavy on the progressive rock, with the best example being Goblin. Italian rock took a more accessible and commercial turn in the 1980s, mixing elements of punk, new wave and pop. Alternative, metal and indie rock bands emerged in the 1990s and early 2000s, bringing a fresh and varied approach to rock music, merging numerous genres and introducing electronic elements. The most iconic example of Italian rock music from the 2010s is Måneskin. The band achieved international acclaim after winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 2021, and now has become one of the most prominent rock bands of recent times, attracting listeners worldwide with addictive songs, rebellious energy and glam-rock appearance. Through data in MELODY we can learn what bands were their biggest inspiration:

Chart by Fiorella Di Matteo and  Marika Di Matteo

MELODY allows mapping not only data at the national level, but also regionally. Looking at the Emilia Romagna region, we discover the following most popular rock artists:

Name Birth Place Sex Image
Lucio Dalla 1943-03-04 Bologna Male
Vasco Rossi 1952-02-07 Zocca Male
Zucchero 1955-09-25 Reggio Emilia Male
Luciano Ligabue 1960-03-13 Correggio Male
Scialpi 1962-05-14 Parma Male
Gianluigi Cavallo 1968-08-09 Parma Male
Nek 1972-01-06 Sassuolo Male
Laura Pausini 1974-05-16 Faenza Female
Alessandro Cortini 1976-05-24 Bologna Male
Tabe by Giulia Bergamaschi and Federica Ceccoli

One way to measure their popularity is to map the number of Twitter followers. From this chart we learn that Luciano Ligabue (1960) has the most online following.

Chart by by Giulia Bergamaschi and Federica Ceccoli

Currently MELODY is under review by the Polifonia team, in order to track down bugs and get it ready for the end user. Keep an eye on this website to learn more about the release of this dashboard that allows you to transform SPARQL queries into beautiful charts.

Sources
Text and charts are based on data stories written and constructed by University of Bologna students:
Italian Rock Bands by Camilla Ruggeri and Isabela Serrano
Måneskin by Fiorella Di Matteo and Marika Di Matteo

Exploring the Rock music genre by Giulia Montesanto and Agnese Musacchio
Pink Floyd by Alessia Perrone and Martina Santarini
The Popularity of Rock Music in Emilia-Romagna by Giulia Bergamaschi and Federica Ceccoli

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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement N. 101004746