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Traditional and Emotional Stylometric Analysis of the Songs of Beatles Paul McCartney and John Lennon

Cynthia Whissell
Computers and the Humanities
Vol. 30, No. 3 (1996), pp. 257-265
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30200392
Page Count: 9
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Traditional and Emotional Stylometric Analysis of the Songs of Beatles Paul McCartney and John Lennon
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Abstract

Traditional stylometric measures such as word usage, word length, and word repetition were paired with six new measures that described word emotionality in terms of a word's pleasantness, its activation level, and the combination of these factors. All measurements were applied to the songs composed by Beatles Paul McCartney and John Lennon between 1962 and 1970. Stylistic and emotional differences between composers and across years were found to be in agreement with observations made by critics and analysts of Beatles' songs, suggesting that emotional stylometry is a valid instrument for the analysis of text. Lennon was the less pleasant and the sadder lyricist, and the Lennon-McCartney lyrics became less pleasant, less active, and less cheerful over time. Several other differences were observed and reported. A technique for summary emotional description (the emotion clock) was also introduced.

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