Category: Publications

Ludomusicology Conference Alumni Contribute to New Collection

A new book of essays has been published, featuring a number of contributions on game music.

The Routledge Companion to Screen Music and Sound

The Routledge Companion to Screen Music and Sound

Some of these chapters have been written by scholars who have joined us for the Ludo conference in previous years.

The book is The Routledge Companion to Screen Music and Sound, edited by Miguel Mera, Ronald Sadoff and Ben Winters and published by Routledge. The essays include:

  • ‘Musical Dreams and Nightmares: An Analysis of Flower’ by Elizabeth Medina-Gray (Ludo2013),
  • ‘Music, Genre, and Nationality in the Postmillennial Fantasy Role-Playing Game’ by William Gibbons (Ludo2013 keynote),
  • ‘Drive, Speed, and Narrative in the Soundscapes of Racing Games’ by Karen Collins (Ludo2015 keynote) and Ruth Dockwray, 
  • ‘Simulation: Squaring the Immersion, Realism, and Gameplay Circle’ by Stephen Baysted (Ludo2014 host and conference regular),
  • ‘Dimensions of Game Music History’ by Tim Summers (Ludo regular),
  • ‘Roundtable: Current Perspectives on Music, Sound, and Narrative in Screen Media’, featuring Anahid Kassabian (Ludo2012 keynote and Ludo2013 host) and Roger Moseley (Ludo2017 keynote).

There are also essays by Kevin Donnelly (Ludo2014 keynote and Ludo2016 host) and other essays that include game sound:

  • ‘Emphatic and Ecological Sound in Gameworld Interfaces’ by Kristine Jørgensen (eminent game sound scholar),
  • ‘Idolizing the Synchronized Score: Studying Indiana Jones Hypertexts’ by Ben Winters (Hollywood music specialist and noted film music expert).

The table of contents, listing all 46 chapters, is available on the publisher’s website here.

Congratulations to Miguel, Ron and Ben on their achievement, and for producing a fascinating volume!

Spread the word and tell any interested libraries or other parties.

New Book Series: Studies in Game Sound & Music

Studies in Game Sound and Music, Intellect Academic Publishing

Series Editors: Michiel Kamp, Tim Summers and Mark Sweeney

We’re delighted to announce the launch of a new book series for academic peer-reviewed books presenting high-quality research on video game music and sound.

The series includes both monographs and edited collections. It does not seal game audio into a scholarly suburb, but instead seeks to engage game audio practitioners and researchers from a range of disciplines, including anthropology, computer science, media studies, psychology, sociology, sound studies, as well as musicology.

The books present new research, such as analysis, historical studies, practical investigations and conceptual/theoretical issues. However, they are also designed to support the growing number of graduates and undergraduates who study in this field.

Book types that are suitable for this series include, but are not limited to, books about

  • Particular games or game series (e.g. a book on Final Fantasy games)
  • Specific types of games (e.g. a collection on sound in horror games)
  • Distinct sonic phenomena in games (e.g. a volume on audio in MMORPGs)
  • Cultures surrounding games (e.g. a study of fan cultures about video game music)
  • Histories and interactions with other media (e.g. histories of game audio, projects comparing game and film sound)
  • Conceptual issues and approaches (e.g. investigations into immersion and audio in games, perspectives on alterity and music in games)
  • Particular practices of game audio (e.g. explorations of voices and dialogue recording in games)

The books include conceptual, technical and sonic detail, but remain accessible to those with less formal education. Similarly, the authors are asked to ensure that those less familiar with the game medium are able to follow the arguments. Technological discussions are necessary, but they are explained in plain English and in such a way that the sonic implications are clear. The books are easily readable by advanced undergraduate students.

For further information, refer to the proposal guidelines here, or contact us at ludomusicology@gmail.com.

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

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