The influence of composers and shifts in paradigmatic, dominant styles. (A) The common period designations and the living years of ten major composers in our data. (B)–(E) The mean influence η of the composers on the works composed at a given time t (±10 years). Each period is distinguished by the emergence of newly dominant composers that indicate paradigmatic shifts in composition styles, and provide quantitative support for period designations. (B) During the Baroque period Handel exerts a dominant influence on other composers. (C) In the Classical period initially Scatlatti’s influence increases, while Handel’s influence begins to wane. Then Haydn and Mozart’s influence rival Handel’s. (D) The Classical-to-Romantic Transition period is characterised by Beethoven who overtakes the most influential ones from the previous period (Handel, Haydn, and Mozart). (E) The Romantic period also witnesses the emergence of newly highly influential composers such as Schubert, Chopin and Liszt.