Ludomusicology: Normalizing the Study of Video Game Music

This article, published in the latest issue of ‘Journal of Sound and Music in Games aims to describe the current situation and some of the main lines of work in video game music studies, a continuously developing field of investigation which, to date, has received limited consideration in Hispanophone academic circles.

Issue Cover

The paper is divided into three parts. In the first, the origins of ludomusicology are contextualized within the framework of interest in video games as an object of study that emerged at the beginning of the present century, and the problems that it has faced from the start with being recognized and valued within professional and academic worlds. The second part is a critical summary, with personal contributions, of some approaches that have begun to consolidate as research areas in ludomusicology and that indicate the need to model new research paradigms for analyzing the music of digital ludic products. I study the unique creation of meaning in video game music through the lens of ludomusical literacy in several specific examples, then analyze the importance of using new methodologies, sources, and conceptual tools—like immersion, performativity, and particular forms of diegesis—when properly assessing musical video game products. To conclude, I briefly reflect on the values that the study of music in video games can contribute to the renewal and enrichment of the academic discourse of musicology by dismantling the barriers between the real and the virtual.

The article was originally published in Anuario Musical 75 (2020): 181–99 and has been translated for the Journal of Sound and Music in Games.