Lesson 3

Howdy Swiftie, welcome back to our exciting SQL journey using Taylor Swift's music data! To quickly recap what we've covered so far: first, we delved into the `COUNT`

function to quantify aspects of Taylor's discography. Then, we explored the `DISTINCT`

keyword to handle uniqueness within our data. Now, it's time to advance to the next level!

This unit shines a spotlight on the `SUM`

function in SQL. It's an incredibly useful tool for aggregating data or calculating the sum of numerical fields. Are you curious about the total duration of each of Taylor's albums? That's exactly what we're going to find out using the `SUM`

function!

The `SUM`

function is an aggregate operation in SQL, used to calculate the total sum of a numerical column in a database. Think of it as a mathematical operation that adds up all the numbers in a set—simple, yet profound!

The syntax is as follows: `SUM(column)`

where `column`

is the name of the column for which you want to calculate the sum.

You might be wondering, "When would I need to use `SUM`

?" Consider a situation where you have a music database like ours and want to determine the total duration of each album. That's a perfect opportunity to deploy the `SUM`

function. Let's see how it works!

Let's take a look at a query that does the above and then break it down:

`SQL````
1SELECT Albums.AlbumName, SUM(Songs.DurationMS) AS TotalDuration
2FROM Albums
3JOIN Songs ON Albums.AlbumID = Songs.AlbumID
4GROUP BY Albums.AlbumName;
```

It might seem complex, but don't worry! We're here to dissect it line by line.

`SELECT Albums.AlbumName, SUM(Songs.DurationMS) AS TotalDuration`

: This line tells SQL to extract two things—the`AlbumName`

from the`Albums`

table and the sum of the durations of the songs from the`Songs`

table—which is renamed as`TotalDuration`

using`AS`

.`FROM Albums`

: This line informs SQL that our main table in this operation is`Albums`

.`JOIN Songs ON Albums.AlbumID = Songs.AlbumID`

: Here, we express our intention to join the`Albums`

table with the`Songs`

table on the common field`AlbumID`

, essentially linking albums and their respective songs.`GROUP BY Albums.AlbumName`

: Finally, we use the`GROUP BY`

clause to group the total durations by album name. You will learn more about`GROUP BY`

in the next unit!

When working with the `SUM`

function, there are a few common pitfalls to be aware of:

- Bear in mind that
`SUM`

works with numerical data. Using it on non-numerical columns will result in errors. - The
`AS`

keyword, as seen in the code, can make your output more readable by renaming the result of our`SUM`

operation. Don't forget to use it as necessary.

Great job! You've made excellent progress in mastering SQL functions. In this lesson, we learned about the `SUM`

function and how to use it to perform aggregate calculations in SQL. We applied it to our Taylor Swift database and calculated the total duration of each album.

In the upcoming practice exercises, you'll get the opportunity to apply the `SUM`

function, deepen your understanding, and increase your confidence in handling it. Stay determined as you continue to unleash the power of SQL!