Category: Publications

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

Book Just Published! Understanding Video Game Music by Tim Summers

New monograph book on video game music released from Cambridge University Press.

Cover of Understanding Video Game Music

 

This month sees the publication of a new monograph by Tim Summers (Royal Holloway, University of London) on video game music. The book is called Understanding Video Game Music and provides methods and concepts for investigating music in the video game.

You can view the introduction and index free at the Cambridge website. The foreword for the book was written by leading game composer James Hannigan, who was a speaker at Ludo14 conference at Chichester University. You can read the foreword here.

The book is highly influenced by the whole Ludomusicology conference community and owes a great debt to the thoughts and discussions that have been circulating in that environment over the past five years. It also draws upon research from further afield, both in terms of geography, and in terms of disciplinary landscape.

Receive 20% off your first order when subscribing to Cambridge Alerts.

 

Here is the publisher’s commentary on the book:

Understanding Video Game Music develops a musicology of video game music by providing methods and concepts for understanding music in this medium. From the practicalities of investigating the video game as a musical source to the critical perspectives on game music – using examples including Final Fantasy VII, Monkey Island 2, SSX Tricky and Silent Hill – these explorations not only illuminate aspects of game music, but also provide conceptual ideas valuable for future analysis. Music is not a redundant echo of other textual levels of the game, but central to the experience of interacting with video games. As the author likes to describe it, this book is about music for racing a rally car, music for evading zombies, music for dancing, music for solving puzzles, music for saving the Earth from aliens, music for managing a city, music for being a hero; in short, it is about music for playing.

  • Develops musicological understanding of game music, explaining concepts step by step without requiring extensive previous knowledge of musicology
  • Offers a wide range of examples ranging from the 1970s to 2010s, from puzzle games to role-playing games, and from well-known games like Final Fantasy VII to lesser-known games
  • Provides a useful appendix as a systematic guide to investigating game music

‘This outstanding book does much to establish an ‘extended techniques’ musicology, allying close analysis of music with crucial knowledge of gaming construction and procedures. Tim Summers’ years of ‘deep research’ into the subject make this a book of extreme sophistication and erudition that will define the field for years to come.’ K. J. Donnelly, University of Southampton

‘Tim Summers’ Understanding Video Game Music is among the most innovative musicological studies published in recent years. Combining musicology, game studies, and media theory, Summers provides an authoritative analytical framework for video game music. This book is timely, playful, and lucid. It will without doubt become a standard work in the field.’ Isabella van Elferen, Kingston University

 

Contents:

Introduction: Beyond the Candelabrum

Part I Analysing Video Game Music

1 The Video Game as a Source

2 Methods of Analysis

Part II Critical Perspectives

3 Texturing and the Aesthetics of Immersion

4 Music and Virtual Game Worlds

5 Communication for Play

6 Hollywood Film Music and Game Music

7 Musical Play and Video Games

Epilogue: Fun, Play and Music

Appendix: How to Hear a Video Game: An Outline

Just Published! Ludomusicology: Approaches to Video Game Music, Edited by Michiel Kamp, Tim Summers and Mark Sweeney

We are thrilled to announce that our volume, Ludomusicology Approaches to Video Game Music has just published! Supplementary materials to the book will be published on our website soon, so look forward to a further announcement about that in the coming weeks.

The last half-decade has seen the rapid and expansive development of video game music studies. As with any new area of study, this significant sub-discipline is still tackling fundamental questions concerning how video game music should be approached. In this volume, experts in game music provide their responses to these issues.

This book suggests a variety of new approaches to the study of game music. In the course of developing ways of conceptualizing and analyzing game music it explicitly considers other critical issues including the distinction between game play and music play, how notions of diegesis are complicated by video game interactivity, the importance of cinema aesthetics in game music, the technicalities of game music production and the relationships between game music and art music traditions.

This collection is accessible, yet theoretically substantial and complex. It draws upon a diverse array of perspectives and presents new research which will have a significant impact upon the way that game music is studied. The volume represents a major development in game musicology and will be indispensable for both academic researchers and students of game music.

Ludomusicology-Equinox2016Cover

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
    Michiel Kamp, Tim Summers, Mark Sweeney
  2. Analyzing Video Game Music: Sources, Methods and a Case Study
    Tim Summers
  3. Analyzing Game Musical Immersion: The ALI Model
    Isabella van Elferen, Kingston University, London
  4. Modularity in Video Game Music
    Elizabeth Medina-Gray, Independent Scholar
  5. Suture and Peritexts: Music Beyond Gameplay and Diegesis
    Michiel Kamp
  6. “It’s a-me, Mario!” – Playing With Video Game Music
    Melanie Fritsch, Independent Scholar
  7. Game and Play in Music Video Games
    Anahid Kassabian, Independent Scholar, and Freya Jarman, University of Liverpool
  8. ‘Listening’ Through Digital Interaction in Björk’s Biophilia
    Samantha Blickhan, PhD Candidate
  9. Palimpsest, Pragmatism and the Aesthetics of Genre Transformation: Composing the Hybrid Score to Electronic Arts’s Need for Speed Shift 2: Unleashed
    Stephen Baysted, University of Chichester
  10. Isaac’s Silence Purposive Aesthetics in Dead Space
    Mark Sweeney, University of Oxford
  11. Remixed Metaphors: Manipulating Classical Music and Its Meanings in Video Games
    William Gibbons, Texas Christian University

Thank you to all of our fantastic chapter authors for your hard work in bringing this volume together.

Technical Details

hb ISBN 9781781791974
£60 / $100
pb ISBN 9781781791981
£19.99 / $29.95
Pub date: July 2016
Extent: 240pp 15 Figures
Format: 234 x 156mm (9.21 x 6.14 inches)
Readership: scholars and students
Subjects: Popular Music
Series: Genre, Music and Sound

Receive 25% off quoting the code Ludo when ordering from the Equinox book page. To find out more about the book and to order visit:

https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/ludomusicology/

 

The Soundtrack 8:1-2 Update – Michael Austin’s Paper Nominated for Annual Game Music Award

The Soundtrack 8:1-2 Update (15 June 2016)
agmasWe’re pleased to report here that Michael Austin’s paper, “From Mixtapes to Multiplayers…” was nominated for the recent Outstanding Achievement — Publication, Broadcast, or Documentary category of VGMO’s Annual Game Music Awards. It is really exciting to see academic research being disseminated into and having an impact on the wider gaming community. Congratulations Michael on your excellent article!

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