Author: Mark Sweeney

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!

New Game Music and Audio Post Graduate Degrees

ThinkSpace Education, a partner of the Ludomusicology research group, have finally revealed their new programmes dedicated to Game Music and Audio! Our colleagues and friends at ThinkSpace were a major sponsor of our recent five-year anniversary conference, held at Southampton University in April, and their participation was a significant part of its success. We are very excited to see their hard work in putting together these new courses come to fruition.

To show how the ThinkSpace approach differs from other current options in the academic world, Matt Lightbound, Course Producer of the Game Music and Audio courses has very kindly taken the time to lay out for our Ludo audience what ThinkSpace is striving to do.

When I joined ThinkSpace it became abundantly clear that everybody at the institution cared about game music. Our staff are built of 100% active practitioners, I myself am a Sound Designer working in video games right now, and everybody else is either working on games or has very recently. It’s a great environment to be in and it’s a great opportunity to pass that experience onto our students. Unlike traditional institutions, everyone our students speak to have current experience in the field they want to be in. From contacting support or even calling our office, students get to speak to their own kind the whole way through their course.

thinkspace-faculty-2016This is because the main objective of all three courses is to get students the most up to date information possible, so they can go and work in the industry to the best of their ability. The courses are focussed on creating the same content you will be expected to make when working at the biggest or the smallest game studios. Again all our tutors work on games right now, some of which are successful Audio Directors on some of the biggest and most exciting games being made today.

It’s also a key factor on why we teamed up with the Ludomusicology Research Group. We are all genuinely interested and passionate about both the professional and academic side of the practice. Dr Tim Summers will be heading up our research modules on the courses and all our students will receive access to selected recordings of the Ludo 2016 conference.

Attending the event this year was a great experience, meeting the many different minds and workflows that build up the academic community in Game Music and Audio. Other presenters such as Blake Troise (PROTODOME), are staff members here at ThinkSpace, and he will be providing students with lessons on Chiptune composition for those looking to master that particular sonic aesthetic.

I have been asked what makes ThinkSpace’s courses different from the small number of GMA qualifications available currently. Apart from the fact it’s taught entirely by working, not past composers and sound designers, it is also online. Created in partnership with the University of Chichester, students from anywhere in the world are able to take part and still receive a fully accredited post graduate qualification.

To add to this, unlike other courses, our degrees are practical project focussed. Students will work on games, using the same technology they need to know in the industry. By the end of the course they would have built up a substantial portfolio of work, showing a variety of styles and approaches, as well as receiving vital information on how to find work, written by the employers and practitioners themselves. The entire purpose is to teach them in a non-isolated environment, to keep students looking at what trends and developments are happening now and in the near future.

If you want to see more about the course, check out the webpages here:

MFA Game Music and Audio

MA Composing for Video Games

MA Sound Design for Video Games

Feel free to get in touch and chat about our courses or about your current situation, we’d love to hear from you!

Thank you for a wonderful #ludo2016!

Another year is over, and it has gone by very quickly! We are so grateful to be part of this (still-growing) community; 55 individuals attended the conference – a record number, and we also had a record number of submissions. The quality and diversity of the papers has been staggering, from the first session on Japan, two sessions on chips & chiptunes, a session on representation, ethnicity & national identity, and music ‘beyond games’. There will be a fuller (less biased!) review published in due course, but my personal highlights included ,  (I wonder how many of us have been frequenting eBay looking to replicate his gear…),  which was immediately followed by , ), and . And who will ever forget Tim’s efforts to demonstrate the death music in … We cannot thank the speakers and delegates enough for their amazing presentations and contributions.

Special thanks must also go to our keynote speakers, Neil Lerner and Andrew Barnabas. Neil’s keynote address was entitled ‘Hearing Death in VGM’s Silent Era: PacMan’s Failure Sound’ and reminded us of the importance of understanding the technical (software & hardware) aspects of VGM/S production. The audio code is a form of music notation and we would all do well to improve our literacy! Barn gave us unique insights into the industry, covering topics from composition and technology to business and client management. Barn also participated in a fascinating roundtable with Stephen Baysted.

Our sincerest thanks go to Kevin Donnelly for inviting us to Southampton and being such a welcoming and accommodating host. We’re fortunate to say that everywhere we’ve held the conference has been a great venue and location, but this year the atmosphere was really special. Of course, that is in no small part thanks to our wonderful local team who did so much of the behind-the-scenes work – thank you Alex Glyde-Bates, Geena Brown, Joe Manghan & Beth Carroll for your invaluable help in planning and running Ludo2016.

Finally, thank you also to Music & Letters and ThinkSpace Education for their sponsorship, without which Ludo2016 would not have been possible. We’d also like to thank the ThinkSpace Education team for attending, filming and participating – you were at once delegates, media & education professionals, and speakers; your knowledge and involvement throughout the conference was an important part of making Ludo2016 the success it was and we look forward to collaborating on future events and projects together!

We hope everybody who attended were suitably intellectually stimulated and that you all had as wonderful a time as we did. We forward to seeing you again in the near future.

Mark, Tim & Michiel

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