About this Project Analytical Rubric Using the Dashboard

About This Project

This project began in 2019 as joint venture between the Milken Archive and the UCLA Lowell Milken Center for Music of American Jewish Experience. The aim was to create a data set that would allow us to both analyze and visualize the music of the Milken Archive according to a variety of criteria (defined below).

The Milken Archive was founded in 1990 to preserve and disseminate—through new recordings—a large body of music pertaining to the American Jewish experience. Much of this music had not been recorded previously and had never been well known. Though heavily concentrated in the twentieth century, these works span the entire history of Jewish musical life in America.

The design of the Milken Archive was done methodically. There was an editorial comprised of various experts from different fields and they outlined specific criteria for considering both the genres of music that were to be included and for the ways in which a piece of music could be construed as Jewish.

Some examples:

  • symphonic and chamber works based on cantillation and folk motifs
  • songs from the American Yiddish theaters and vaudeville houses
  • historical dramas based on Jewish history,
  • music that is conceptually connected to the Jewish experience
  • sacred music composed for Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform religious observances

For this project, we aimed to apply a series of analytical criteria across all of the music in the Milken Archive. The goals of the project were:

  1. To formulate a concrete and systematic analysis of the Milken Archive’s repertoire along several different axes.
  2. To look for relationships among and within these different axes.
  3. To look for changes and trends over time.
  4. To create a discovery tool that would allow our website users to find particular musical works using these criteria.

(For advice on using the tool, see below.) 

Analytical Rubric

The analytical rubric for the Milken Archive includes thirty-seven criteria across seven distinct categories.

  • Work Information: This category includes the name of the composer, composition title, year composed, duration, and the Milken Archive thematic volume in which the work appears.
  • Commission information: This category specifies if a piece was commissioned, and includes a typology of institutions and individuals responsible for the commissions and their names.
  • Genre/Instrumentation/Form: Here each work is assigned a label that describes its primary genre orientation, the instrumentation for which it was composed, and its formal design.
  • Sacred/Secular: Each work has been categorized as sacred or secular; in rare cases a piece has been designated both sacred and secular.
  • Judaic/Jewish Indicators: This category assesses how a particular work relates to a Jewish context or is being framed as Jewish. The possibilities are: Musical, Conceptual, Textual, Functional, Sonic, and Social and are based on criteria used by the Milken Archive’s editorial board to determine the Milken Archive’s repertoire.
  • Stylistic Indicators: This category assesses different music styles that are present in a given piece. The current possibilities include: classical, klezmer, cantorial, folk, jazz, devotional/solemn, popular, and theatrical.
  • Linguistic/Textual Indicators: This category assesses whether or not a piece has a text, the type(s) of text(s) used, and what language(s) they are written in. 


Using the Dashboard

Each element in the visualization acts as a filter. When you click on an item within a category, the visualization changes to reflect the data corresponding to that particular item. For example, clicking on a year on the timeline will show all musical works that were composed in that year, who composed them, and an aggregate visual profile. The visualization is weighted, so different proportions within the various categories will appear in relation to their associated quantitative data, much like a standard pie chart or bar graph.


Clicking on the title of a work in the works table will reveal that work’s visual profile. Hovering over parts of the graphic will reveal specific data.


Clicking on a composer’s name will reveal that composer’s visual profile, which is an aggregate of our analyses of each work by that particular composer that is part of the Milken Archive. This provides a kind of bird’s eye view of a composer’s body of work. You can activate multiple filters simultaneously to drill down on a particular data point.

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To see all of the works commissioned by a particular type of institution, click on one of the items in the “Commissions” section. This will reveal the range and breadth of the repertoire in each category.

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Tip: Clicking on many filters sometimes makes it difficult to backtrack. Reloading the page in your browser will reset the dashboard to its original state.

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