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Video games open portals into fantastical worlds where imaginative play prevails. The virtual medium seemingly provides us with ample opportunities to behave and act out with relative safety and impunity. Or does it? Sound Play explores the aesthetic, ethical, and sociopolitical stakes of our engagements with gaming's audio phenomena-from sonic violence to synthesized operas, from democratic music-making to vocal sexual harassment. Author William Cheng shows how the simulated environmentsof games empower designers, composers, players, and scholars to test and tinker with music, noise, speech, and silence in ways that might not be prudent or possible in the real world. In negotiating utopian and alarmist stereotypes of video games, Sound Play synthesizes insights from across musicology, sociology, anthropology, communications, literary theory, and philosophy. With case studies that span Final Fantasy VI, Silent Hill, Fallout 3, The Lord of the Rings Online, and Team Fortress2, this book insists that what we do in there - in the safe, sound spaces of games - can ultimately teach us a great deal about who we are and what we value (musically, culturally, humanly) out here.
Music has been a vital part of leisure activity across time and cultures. Contemporary commodification, commercialization, and consumerism, however, have created a chasm between conceptualizations of music making and numerous realities in our world. From a broad range of perspectives and approaches, this handbook explores avocational involvement with music as an integral part of the human condition. The chapters in The Oxford Handbook of Music Making and Leisure present myriad ways for reconsidering and refocusing attention back on the rich, exciting, and emotionally charged ways in which people of all ages make time for making music. The contexts discussed are broadly Western, including an eclectic variety of voices from scholars across fields and disciplines, framing complex and multifaceted phenomena that may be helpfully, enlighteningly, and perhaps provocatively framed as music making and leisure. This volume may be viewed as an attempt to reclaim music making and leisure as a serious concern for, amongst others, policy makers, scholars, and educators who perhaps risk eliding some or even most of the ways in which music - a vital part of human existence - is integrated into the everyday lives of people. As such, this handbook looks beyond the obvious, asking readers to consider anew, "What might we see when we think of music making as leisure?"
This book bridges the existing gap between film sound and film music studies by bringing together scholars from both disciplines who challenge the constraints of their subject areas by thinking about integrated approaches to the soundtrack. As the boundaries between scoring and sound design in contemporary cinema have become increasingly blurred, both film music and film sound studies have responded by expanding their range of topics and the scope of their analysis beyond those traditionally addressed. The running theme of the book is the disintegration of boundaries, which permeates discussions about industry, labour, technology, aesthetics and audiovisual spectatorship. The collaborative nature of screen media is addressed not only in scholarly chapters but also through interviews with key practitioners that include sound recordists, sound designers, composers, orchestrators and music supervisors who honed their skills on films, TV programmes, video games, commercials and music videos.
Classical music is everywhere in video games. Works by composers like Bach and Mozart fill the soundtracks of games ranging from arcade classics, to indie titles, to major franchises like BioShock, Civilization, and Fallout. Children can learn about classical works and their histories from interactive iPad games. World-renowned classical orchestras frequently perform concerts of game music to sold-out audiences. But what do such combinations of art and entertainment reveal about the cultural value we place on these media? Can classical music ever be video game music, and can game music ever be classical? Delving into the shifting and often contradictory cultural definitions that emerge when classical music meets video games, Replay Value offers a new perspective on the possibilities and challenges of trying to distinguish between art and pop culture in contemporary society.
The Oxford Handbook of Computer Music offers a state-of-the-art cross-section of the most field-defining topics and debates in computer music today. A unique contribution to the field, it situates computer music in the broad context of its creation and performance across the range of issues - from music cognition to pedagogy to sociocultural topics - that shape contemporary discourse in the field. Fifty years after musical tones were produced on a computer for the first time, developments in laptop computing have brought computer music within reach of all listeners and composers. Production and distribution of computer music have grown tremendously as a result, and the time is right for this survey of computer music in its cultural contexts. An impressive and international array of music creators and academics discuss computer music's history, present, and future with a wide perspective, including composition, improvisation, interactive performance, spatialization, sound synthesis, sonification, and modeling. Throughout, they merge practice with theory to offer a fascinating look into computer music's possibilities and enduring appeal.
Film, Music, and Sound from M*A*S*H to A Prairie Home Companion
Author: Gayle Sherwood Magee
Publisher: Oxford University Press
American director Robert Altman (1925-2006) first came to national attention with the surprise blockbuster M*A*S*H (1970), and he directed more than thirty feature films in the subsequent decades. Critics and scholars have noted that music is central to Altman's films, and in addition to his feature films, Altman worked in theater, opera, and the emerging field of cable television. His treatment of sound is a hallmark of his films, alongside overlapping dialogue, improvisation, and large ensemble casts. Several of his best-known films integrate musical performances into the central plot, including Nashville (1975), Popeye (1980), Short Cuts (1993), Kansas City (1996), The Company (2003) and A Prairie Home Companion (2006), his final film. Even such non-musicals as McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971) have been described as, in fellow director and protégé Paul Thomas Anderson's evocative phrase, as "musicals without people singing." Robert Altman's Soundtracks considers Altman's celebrated, innovative uses of music and sound in several of his most acclaimed and lesser-known works. In so doing, these case studies serve as a window not only into Altman's considerable and varied output, but also the changing film industry over nearly four decades, from the heyday of the New Hollywood in the late 1960s through the "Indiewood" boom of the 1990s and its bust in the early 2000s. As its frame, the book considers the continuing attractions of auteurism inside and outside of scholarly discourse, by considering Altman's career in terms of the director's own self-promotion as a visionary and artist; the film industry's promotion of Altman the auteur; the emphasis on Altman's individual style, including his use of music, by the director, critics, scholars, and within the industry; and the processes, tensions, and boundaries of collaboration.
Whether social, cultural, or individual, the act of imagination always derives from a pre-existing context. For example, we can conjure an alien's scream from previously heard wildlife recordings or mentally rehearse a piece of music while waiting for a train. This process is no less true for the role of imagination in sonic events and artifacts. Many existing works on sonic imagination tend to discuss musical imagination through terms like compositional creativity or performance technique. In this two-volume Handbook, contributors address this tendency head-on, correcting the current bias towards visual imagination to instead highlight the many forms of sonic and musical imagination. Topics covered include auditory imagery and the neurology of sonic imagination; aural hallucination and illusion; use of metaphor in the recording studio; the projection of acoustic imagination in architectural design; and the design of sound artifacts for cinema and computer games.
The Oxford Handbook of Children's Musical Cultures is a compendium of perspectives on children and their musical engagements as singers, dancers, players, and avid listeners. Over the course of 35 chapters, contributors from around the world provide an interdisciplinary enquiry into the musical lives of children in a variety of cultures, and their role as both preservers and innovators of music. Drawing on a wide array of fields from ethnomusicology and folklore to education and developmental psychology, the chapters presented in this handbook provide windows into the musical enculturation, education, and training of children, and the ways in which they learn, express, invent, and preserve music. Offering an understanding of the nature, structures, and styles of music preferred and used by children from toddlerhood through childhood and into adolescence, The Oxford Handbook of Children's Musical Cultures is an important step forward in the study of children and music.