Jazz Genius<!-- --> | <!-- -->Ben Pettis
Ben Pettis

Jazz Genius

May 01, 2021

A black and white photograph of Louis Armstrong mid-bite with a large forkful of spaghetti
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Jazz Genius is an experimental Digital Humanities project that interrogates the conventions and trends of jazz lyrics. The website contains thousands of songs collected from Genius.com and enables users to browse this collection and explore connections. Jazz Genius also offers several tools for analyzing this collection—including topic analyses, TEI markup, and various data visualizations.

Inspired by the Linked Open Jazz Project, our project develops novel exploratory analyses of the application of Digital Humanities methods to a corpora of jazz lyrics from American jazz singers in the 20th century. This includes the use of web scraping, TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) encoding, text classification, topic modeling, and various forms of data visualization. Specifically, we are interested in exploring how these methods can be applied to a non-standardized form of text like song lyrics and, as important, what the social, political, and discursive power of song lyrics can tell us about American history throughout the 20th century. This project demonstrates the utility of digital humanities methods to answer research questions about texts that are considered figurative and discursive in nature.