Ludomusicology - Approaches to Video Game Music - Michiel Kamp

Ludomusicology - Approaches to Video Game Music - Michiel Kamp

Analyzing Game Musical Immersion: The ALI Model

Ludomusicology - Approaches to Video Game Music - Michiel Kamp

Isabella van Elferen [+-]
Kingston University London
Isabella van Elferen is Professor of Music and School Director of Research at Kingston University London. She publishes on film, TV, and video game music, musical critical theory, Gothic, horror, SF and fantasy, and baroque sacred music. Her most recent book is the award-winning Gothic Music: The Sounds of the Uncanny.


While quantitative studies show overwhelming evidence that music and sound are crucial for video game immersion, the definition of game musical immersion itself has only been hinted at in very general terms. Ermi and Mäyrä (2005) maintain that game soundtracks lead to ‘sensory’ immersion; Karen Collins describes audiovisual involvement as ‘imaginative immersion’ (2008); Timothy Crick (2011) and Gordon Calleja (2011) contend that soundtracks rather induce an ‘affective’ involvement. These claims illustrate the lack of academic consensus and understanding of musical game immersion, and urge a systematic theorisation of this aspect of gaming to offer insight into questions pertaining to how musical player involvement is brought about or which factors play a role in it. It is the aim of this chapter to outline a research model that can bridge the gap between the practice of and the reflection on game music. The chapter proposes three overlapping, music-specific working concepts leading to a comprehensive framework charting the conditions for and mechanics of musical player involvement. This framework, the ALI-model, shows how musical affect, literacy and interaction cooperate in a process of signification, identification and play leading to game musical involvement. The chapter will explore each of the three components of the ALI model.

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van Elferen, Isabella. Analyzing Game Musical Immersion: The ALI Model. Ludomusicology - Approaches to Video Game Music. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 32-52 Jul 2016. ISBN 9781781791981. Date accessed: 05 Oct 2022 doi: 10.1558/equinox.23901. Jul 2016

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