First U.S. video game music conference at YSU

Staff report


The North American Conference on Video Game Music, the first conference of its kind in the United States, will take place Jan. 18 and 19 at Youngstown State University.

The conference at the McDonough Museum of Art on the YSU campus will feature presentations and papers from scholars around the world on topics relating to music produced for video games.

“The study of video-game music is quickly emerging as a legitimate academic discipline,” said Steven Reale, assistant professor in YSU’s Dana School of Music and the lead organizer of the event. “This conference will focus on how soundtracks for various video games serve to heighten the game’s story, amplify its interactivity, position it culturally or serve as touchstones for music pedagogy.”

Bryan DePoy, dean of the YSU College of Creative Arts and Communication, added, “This innovative conference is evidence that we, as a college, are establishing ourselves as a destination for scholarship and education all along the creative industries continuum.”

Karen Collins, Canada research chair in Interactive Audio at the Canadian Centre of Arts and Technology at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, will give the keynote address. Collins is the author of “Game Sound and Playing With Sound: A Theory of Interacting With Sound and Music.” The keynote address is funded via the Earle and Ida Cliffe Fund.

Among the other conference presenters are William O’Hara of Harvard University, Elizabeth Medina-Grey of Yale University, Peter Shultz of the University of Chicago, Eugene Belianski of York University, Iain Hart of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and Nick Exler of the Eastman School of Music.

The program committee for the conference consists of Reale; Neil Lerner, professor of musicology at Davidson College; and William Gibbons, assistant professor of musicology at Texas Christian University. Reale published a scholarly article in 2011 in ACT Zeitschrift fur Music & Performance that examined the musical themes in the video game “Katamari Damacy.” He also is the author of a chapter, titled “Transcribing Musical Worlds; or, is L.A. Noire a Music Game?” in the forthcoming book “Music in Video Games: Studying the Playable.”

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