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[Commlist] Call for Papers: The Soundtrack: Musical Disruptions in Video Games Special Issue

Thu Feb 07 22:36:15 GMT 2019

The Soundtrack

Special Issue Call for Papers: ‘Musical Disruptions in Video Games’
Guest editor: Stephanie Lind (Queen’s University)

Deadline for submission: 15 March 2019

While music in many video games is often designed to seamlessly embed
into the player’s experience, thus contributing to immersion, in some
games music functions instead as a disruption, interrupting the
gameplay experience.

For example, in rhythm games such as Guitar Hero, these disruptions
function as cues to the player about their progress through a level
game; a failed level means that the audio is cut (literally
disrupted).  But in subtler cases, musical disruptions may function as
anachronisms, or as dramatic contrast meant to emotionally engage the
player. For example, in Assassin’s Creed, electronically-distorted
music and sounds are a reminder to the player that their character is
a modern-day victim transported virtually to the past through memory.
In Battlefield 1’s ‘Flight of the Pigeon’, a shift of orchestration
from percussion-heavy, low-register brass and strings to a
higher-register piano is a dramatic contrast that highlights the shift
from human to bird perspective, disengaging the player from the heavy
emotional impact of battle to a spacious, uplifting moment of freedom.

These musical disruptions can signal elements of narrative, of success
versus failure in gameplay, of changes in perspective and more. As a
result, these disruptions are a key element of the game experience,
contributing not only to the narrative of the game but also to its
emotional impact on the player.

We seek a range of work on the topic of musical disruption in video
games incorporating musical and/or interdisciplinary perspectives,
including but not limited to: musicology, ethnomusicology, music
theory/analysis, communication/media studies, cultural studies, sound
studies and cognition studies. Questions about the suitability of a
possible proposal are encouraged and may be sent to the e-mail listed
below before the deadline.

All articles submitted should be original work and must not be under
consideration by other publications. Emerging scholars are encouraged
to apply and, if accepted, will be given an opportunity for early
feedback in the writing process.

Please send expressions of interest of approximately 500 words to
(gamemusicqueens /at/ or (stephanie.lind /at/ by 15 March
2019.  Authors will be notified by 15 April 2019 regarding whether
they will be invited to submit a full article based on their
expression of interest.

Full articles should be 6000–8000 words in length. Completed articles
will be due by 30 July 2019. Final acceptance will be subject to blind
peer review.

The Soundtrack is a cross-disciplinary journal that brings together
research in the area of sound and music studies in relation to film
and other moving-image media. Drawing on a range of critical
traditions such as film studies, media studies, musicology and
cultural studies, as well as interactive and emerging media, the
journal welcomes articles that address a diversity of topics, and
which contribute to the development of this increasingly important
field of study. We encourage writing that is accessible to audiences
from a diversity of intellectual backgrounds and disciplines as well
as providing a forum for practitioners.

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