Video Game Music

  • 9.4: Nate Mitchell, “Variations on a Theme by K.K. Slider: Variation Sets and the Hourly Music of Animal Crossing: New Horizons” – treats the soundtrack of Animal Crossing: New Horizons as a modern example of theme and variations form; suitable for introducing theme and variations at all levels

  • 2.2–2.3: Steven Reale, “Variations on a Theme by a Rogue A.I.: Music, Gameplay, and Storytelling in Portal 2” (Part 1 and Part 2) – This 2-part video series could be used to teach aspects of musical meaning, music fundamentals, and musical form in video game music. The first video explores the relationship between the musical score and characterization. Teaching topics include textural analysis (arpeggiated textures versus block chords), cadences (plagal versus authentic), voice-leading (conjunct vs. disjunct), collections (hexatonic & octatonic), triadic qualities (major, minor, and augmented), triadic inversion (major chords invert to minor chords, augmented chords invert to augmented chords), and musical meaning. The second video discusses musical variation techniques and connects them to gameplay. Teaching topics include musical form & analysis, developing variations, and musical parameters which are developed within the music of this video game, such as synthesizer timbres, chord qualities, and harmonic rhythm; musical meaning could also be addressed.


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