Author: Michiel Kamp

Just Published! Keys to Play by Roger Moseley

Although it may been out for a month or two depending on where you live, we would like to draw your attention to the publication of Roger Moseley’s monograph Keys to Play: Music as a Ludic Medium from Apollo to Nintendo with University of California Press. He may not have coined the term ‘ludomusicology’ (that honour goes to Guillaume Laroche), but he has certainly introduced it to the broader field of musicology and to us as a research group. Moreover, Moseley’s work has broadened the scope of ludomusicology far beyond video game music to concern the relation of music to play in general. Keys to Play is the first monograph length publication of this research.

Game music may not be the sole focus of the book, but it plays a crucial part, both as a starting point for Moseley’s research and as an end point for a long history of play, games and music, from the digitality of keyboard instruments to the playfulness of Mozart and Nintendo. The book is also available for free online through Lumimos open access publishing.

The publisher’s blurb:
How do keyboards make music playable? Drawing on theories of media, systems, and cultural techniques, Keys to Play spans Greek myth and contemporary Japanese digital games to chart a genealogy of musical play and its animation via improvisation, performance, and recreation. As a paradigmatic digital interface, the keyboard forms a field of play on which the book’s diverse objects of inquiry—from clavichords to PCs and eighteenth-century musical dice games to the latest rhythm-action titles—enter into analogical relations. Remapping the keyboard’s topography by way of Mozart and Super Mario, who head an expansive cast of historical and virtual actors, Keys to Play invites readers to unlock ludic dimensions of music that are at once old and new.

Roger Moseley is Assistant Professor of Music at Cornell University. Active as a collaborative pianist on modern and historical instruments, he has published essays on the interface of the keyboard, the performativity of digital games, the practice of eighteenth-century improvisation, and the music of Brahms.

Table of contents:
Acknowledgments xi
Prelude: Press Any Key to Start 1
Part I. Fields and Interfaces of Musical Play
Key 1. Ludomusicality 15
1–1 Orders of Play 23
1–2 Beyond Work and Play 33
1–3 The Sound of Gunplay 43
1–4 Bits and Beats 49
1–5 Playing Undead 58
Key 2. Digital Analogies 67
2–1 Apollo 1, Marsyas 0 72
2–2 Notes on Keys 78
2–3 Interface Values 90
2–4 (Key)board Games and Temperamental Tactics 99
2–5 Tristan’s Chord, Schoenberg’s Voice 109
Part II. Play by Play: Improvisation, Performance, Recreation
Key 3. The Emergence of Musical Play 121
3–1 Unforeheard Circumstances 127
3–2 Pantomimes and Partimenti 140
3–3 From Black Box to Glassy Shell 151
3–4 The Case of Winkel’s Componium 159
3–5 The Invisible Thumb on the Scale 167
Key 4. High Scores: WAM vs. LVB 178
4–1 Unsettled Scores 181
4–2 Mozart’s Two-Player Games 188
4–3 Concerted Action 200
4–4 Mozart and Mario Play the Field 212
4–5 Beethoven’s Recursive Feedback Loops 219
Key 5. Play Again? 236
5–1 Nintendo’s Brand of Ludomusicality 243
5–2 Analogous Digitalities 250
5–3 The Ludomusical Emergence of Toshio Iwai 258
5–4 High Scores: Nodame Cantabile 263
5–5 Replay: A Cento 271
Notes 275
Bibliography 365
Ludography 419
Index 423

Ludo 2014 Programme

The final Ludo 2014 programme is now available.

Games Researcher Survey

In order to gain insight into the views and needs of researchers working with/on digital games, three research organizations (DiGRA, ECREA and ICA) have joined hands to organize an international survey assessing the State of Digital Games Research.

Are you conducting or have you conducted research with or on digital games, then please take time to fill out the survey which should not take more than 10-15 minutes and which can be found here: https://ghentunipss.eu.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_6icrOwCGauS0Xkx.

Keyworded Bibliography!

We’ve completed the keywording of our online Bibliography.  You can type comma-separated keywords into the search box, alongside any other meta-data to instantly filter the table.

We hope you find it useful!

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