I have recently (by which I mean this year – what even is time anymore) had two book chapters published!
The first is a chapter in The Cambridge Companion to Video Game Music, edited by Melanie Fritsch and Tim Summers. The chapter is called “Semiotics in Game Music”, perhaps unsurprisingly! I really enjoyed writing this one, as the brief was to write for an undergraduate audience and I took that as affording a slightly less formal tone. The subject is essentially what it says on the tin: a slightly simplified version of my theory of ludomusicological semiotics. The case study of the themes of Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim was particularly fun to write, as I observed a link I hadn’t noticed before between the Morrowind and Skyrim themes (which was probably obvious to every other fan of the Elder Scrolls games).
The second is a chapter in Women’s Music for the Screen, edited by Felicity Wilcox, on the career and works of Winifred Phillips. The case study of the chapter is on the music of Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation, which is a fantastic score. Phillips wove together several geographical and sociocultural influences to create a musical experience that makes the game world more real than real. I found this particularly impressive given the game was originally developed for mobile phones, a platform where music (and, indeed, sound) has often been regarded as optional (though I hasten to note that this is now even less accurate than it would have been when Liberation was developed).
It has been an absolute honour for my writing to become a part of these two volumes. Please go and have a read if you can!
My article “Hard Boiled Music: The Case of L.A. Noire” has been published in issue five of the online journal Screen Sound: The Australasian Journal of Soundtrack Studies. It’s related to a paper I gave at the MSA/NZMS conference 2013 and the inaugural North American Conference on Video Game Music in 2014. It was fun to write — I’m a pretty big fan of Raymond Chandler’s novels so drawing links back to his work and style was pretty great.
From the abstract:
Comparing L.A. Noire to notable examples from film, television and literature, this article discusses the game’s explicit attempt to be an authentic jeu noir and its musical accompaniment to crime and justice in 1940s Los Angeles. By exploring the origins of the game’s musical aesthetic, this article determines L.A. Noire’s relationship with the noir tradition. Although the game’s strong links to period noir film are unsurprising, L.A. Noire’s nexus of period style and open-form gameplay connects the player to film noir’s earliest influences, allowing exploration of both a constructed history and the notion of ‘noir’ itself. Accordingly, L.A. Noire should be considered as a progression, rather than a derivation, of the noir tradition.
Go have a read! Also, Screen Sound is open access and is one of the few journals to focus on screen media music studies in this part of the world, so check it out while you’re there.
My article “Meaningful Play: Performativity, Interactivity and Semiotics in Video Game Music” has been published in Musicology Australia, the journal of the Musicological Society of Australia. It follows directly from a paper I gave at the Performative Voices conference at the University of South Australia in 2012, and which I also gave (slightly revised) at the Ludo 2013 and MaMI 2013 conferences.
From the abstract:
Through an understanding of interactivity as a performative act, we can treat the musical experience of gameplay as the text to be studied—a text the player has a non-trivial role in creating. The player’s unique series of actions during gameplay evolves into an interpretation of the designers’ complete, preconceived game experience. Similarly, although music is received in a series of unique contexts during gameplay, the player’s actions shape the music into an interpretation of the musical experience envisioned by the composer… Video game music exhibits a twofold semiosis, the analysis of which must contextualise both the music’s initial composition and the player’s interactivity in relation to the complete musical experience.
The article can be found online here. If you have institutional access, go have a read!