Category: News

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

Official Launch of The Society for the Study of Sound and Music in Games (SSSMG)!

We are very excited to announce the official launch of The Society for the Study of Sound and Music in Games (SSSMG)!

The SSSMG is a network that’s been developed by the Ludomusicology Research Group, the North American Conference on Video Game Music, Audio Mostly, and an extensive advisory board of leading academics and practitioners. The aim is to provide a hub to connect together people working on game audio and to support advances in the understanding of sound and music in games.

The SSSMG helps anyone who investigates game sound and music, whether in an academic or professional setting, to discuss the topic together, exchange ideas and information, and keep up-to-date with new research. Anyone can join, and the members are always looking for new approaches to the subject.

SSSMG will make publicly available:

  • General news
  • General Society contact info
  • Links to other affiliated societies/groups
  • Events Calendar (view only)
  • Newly revised, keyworded and searchable Bibliography

Registered members will have additional access to:

  • Network with searchable, keyworded members’ directory
  • Submit events for publication on the Calendar
  • Share conference presentations and Green OA publications in a subject repository
  • Compose and submit news posts
  • Contribute to Bibliography Project

Further member benefits and services will be added in the future. Visit www.sssmg.org to find out more!

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Ludo 2017 Call for Papers

We’re delighted to announce that Ludo2017, the Sixth Easter Conference on Video Game Music and Sound, will take place April 20th – 22nd at Bath Spa University, UK.

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Please share our Call for Papers poster online and around your institutions.

The organizers of Ludo2017 are accepting proposals for research presentations at the sixth annual Easter conference. While we welcome all proposals on sound and music in games, we are particularly interested in papers that support the theme of ‘Performance’, understood in the broadest sense. Possible topics on this theme include:

  • Chips and sonic outputs,
  • Playing with, and within, technological audio constructs,
  • Sound and ludic interaction,
  • Histories of developing techniques and tools,
  • Game audio aesthetics and approaches,
  • Composition with game technologies (chips, engines, etc.).

Presentations should last twenty minutes, to be followed by questions. Please submit your paper proposal (c.250 words) by email to ludomusicology@gmail.com by January 31st 2017.

Composers and practitioners may also submit a proposal to present work at the conference.

bath_spa_university_logo-svgWe also welcome session proposals from organizers representing two to four individuals; the organizer should submit an introduction to the theme and c.200 word proposals for each paper.

The conference will feature a keynote address by Kenneth McAlpine (Abertay University), author of Bits and Pieces: A History of Chiptunes (OUP, 2017), with further keynote speakers and guests to be announced shortly.

www.ludomusicology.org | #ludo2017
Hosted by Professor James Newman, Bath Spa University.
Organized by Melanie Fritsch, Michiel Kamp, Tim Summers, Mark Sweeney.

Melanie Fritsch joins Ludomusicology Research Group

We are delighted to announce that Melanie is officially joining our Research Group. Melanie has been an avid supporter of our conference over the years, and plays a critical role in championing research on video game sound and music in Germany. She has already been providing generous support to us (if you’ve noticed increased Twitter activity from us in recent months, that’s entirely thanks to Melanie) and we’re very excited to have her on board as we continue our work on the annual international conferences, as well as other projects.

melanieMelanie Fritsch M.A. has worked as research assistant at the Research Institute for Music Theatre (University of Bayreuth) between 2008 and 2013, and has taught in the Music Theatre Studies department at that very place (B.A./M.A.). Currently she is writing her PhD thesis “Performing bytes. Musikperformances der Computerspielkultur” (“Performing bytes. Music performances of video game culture“). Her recent publications appeared in Ludomusicology: Approaches to Video Game Music, Music Video Games: Performance, Politics, and Play, and the Oxford Handbook of Interactive Audio.

She is also editor of the 2011 issue of “ACT – Zeitschrift für Musik und Performance” focusing on video games and music, and has been a member of the AHRC research network “Guitar Heroes in Music Education? Music-based video-games and their potential for musical and performative creativity” in 2014-2015. She also co-organizes the researching games BarCamp 2017 in Berlin.

 

For more information (talks, publications, activities, full CV) see http://uni-bayreuth.academia.edu/MelanieFritsch or meet her on Twitter @myfritsch.

Upcoming talks: http://subotron.com/veranstaltung/ludomusicology/ and https://www.facebook.com/events/210114469366505/.

Latest thing: https://spielkult.hypotheses.org/1186.

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