Sonic Representations of Categorical Difference in Diegetic Video Game Music Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Maenhout, John
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Music, Musicology Graduate Program
  • In artistic works combining music and narration, composers have long used music to make statements about the works’ characters. Though much related scholarship exists concerning opera and film, little has been written about video game music and characters. This thesis argues that video game composers have used diegetic music – music making in which game characters participate – to draw attention to the categorical differences that distinguish characters of minority groups from the game’s majority. Drawing from scholarship on music and gender, critical race theory, and traditional Western music theory, I argue that the characters in three Fire Emblem games perform music inspired by real-world musical stereotypes associated with women and racially peripheral groups. Finally, I identify and fill, through a proposed syllabus, a lacuna in game music pedagogy so that undergraduate students might be taught to critically engage with these subject matters in and through video games.
Date of publication
Resource type
  • Bohlman, Andrea
  • Harcus, Aaron
  • Bonds, Mark Evan
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2018

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