From its earliest days as little more than a series of monophonic outbursts to its current-day scores that can rival major symphonic film scores, video game music has gone through its own particular set of stylistic and functional metamorphoses while both borrowing and recontextualizing the earlier models from which it borrows. With topics ranging from early classics like Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros. to more recent hits like Plants vs. Zombies, the eleven essays in Music in Video Games draw on the scholarly fields of musicology and music theory, film theory, and game studies, to investigate the history, function, style, and conventions of video game music.
Table of Contents
Preface: All Your Bass Are Belong to Us 1. Mario’s Dynamic Leaps: Musical Innovations and the Specter of Early Cinema in Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros. Neil Lerner 2. The Temporary Avatar Zone: Pico-Pico Parties in Tokyo Chris Tonelli 3. Nintendo’s Art of Musical Play Roger Moseley and Aya Saiki 4. Transcribing Musical Worlds, or, Is L.A. Noire a Music Game? Steven Beverburg Reale 5. Meaningful Modular Combinations: Simultaneous Harp and Environmental Music in Two Legend of Zelda Games Elizabeth Medina-Gray 6. Wandering Tonalities: Silence, Sound, and Morality in Shadow of the Colossus William Gibbons 7. Fear of the Unknown: Music and Sound Design in Psychological Horror Games Rebecca Roberts 8. Lawn of the Dead: The Indifference of Musical Destiny in Plants vs. Zombies K.J. Donnelly 9. Music, History, and Progress in Sid Meier’s Civilization IV Karen Cook 10. ‘The Place I’ll Return to Someday’: Musical Nostalgia in Final Fantasy IX Jessica Kizzire 11. From Parsifal to the PlayStation: Wagner and Video Game Music Tim Summers
K.J. Donnelly is Reader in Film at the University of Southampton, where he convenes the Film Studies masters program.
William Gibbons is Assistant Professor of Musicology at Texas Christian University. His primary areas of research interest are opera studies and music in video games.
Neil Lerner is Professor of Music at Davidson College, where he is co-coordinator of the concentration in film and media studies. He serves as Editor of the journal American Music.