Analyzing Video Game Music: Sources, Methods and a Case Study
Tim Summers [+]
This chapter considers a very straightforward question: How does one go about analyzing video game music? With any youthful field of study, certain vital issues concerning the practicality of conducting research into the topic quickly arise. No guidance yet exists for students and scholars seeking to engage with video games as musical sources, and the chapter rectifies this lack of information. The chapter outlines the methods and sources available for analyzing video game music, as well as the problems faced by ludomusicologists. As such, it functions as a practical guide to researching and analyzing video game music, suitable both for the veteran researcher and the new analyst. The discussion is supported by case studies and a survey of the existing literature that enacts particular analytical approaches to game music. The body of the essay considers how the game code, game engine, music engine, hardware, recorded gameplay, music data, published scores and commercial audio recordings may be used for research. It provides examples of the analyses of these sources, as well as considering how each source type comes with particular advantages and disadvantages. These sources all have their own particular roles to play in the analysis of game music, and it is essential that analysts maintain a critical appreciation of the nature of each source that they use.