‘Ludomusicology’ Explored


Ludicologist Ryan Thompson

Ludomusicology – the study of music as it applies in videogames. I’ll bet you didn’t know it exists! Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) host Emily Reese is crazy about classical music and video game scores, and her fascinating interview with ludomusicologist Ryan Thompson explores the music of “Final Fantasy 6.”

“The opera sequence itself kind of sums up, in a neat way, the whole plot of ‘Final Fantasy Six,'” which features a space jockey’s love with an opera singer as a major story point.  There’s a crazy octopus that winds up onstage, trying to foil the opera. “This is starting to sound more and more like Wagner the longer I talk about it!,” Thompson tells Reese. Indeed!

Reese, curates a wonderful blog about video game music, TopScore. Her rather un-NPRish hobby earned her a recent profile in Business Insider.

Learn more about the disciplined minds studying this subject at ludomusicology.org.

Founded in August 2011, it’s  a UK-based research group “taking a musicological approach to videogame music, drawing together researchers from Oxford, Cambridge and Bristol Universities.” What distinguishes them from other such projects: “is the musicological approach to videogame music, as opposed to the non-performative visual arts, or non-interactive film, for example.  This also sets our project apart from the related ‘game sound’ groups, which are generally more industry based, and where they do cross over with musicology, often lean toward a consideration of sound in general, instead of music.  Our aim is to promote inter-university academic collaboration, establish game music as a research strength for UK academic musicology, act as a hub or point-of-contact to advertise the research of the group members (and of other academics working in the field) and serve as a general attempt to create a coherent direction and body of knowledge for this sub-discipline.”

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