Date(s) - 15/02/2019
A elfin hero clad in a green tunic explores an ancient ruin. Guided by the player, the hero solves a puzzle, unlocks a door, and discovers a large chest. The hero opens it, and hoists an item overhead from the chest, now curiously emitting rays of light. Then a brief, triumphant musical motif plays:
<DA NA NA NAAAAAAA!>
This fanfare serves as a potent nostalgic trigger for fans of the Legend of Zelda series. If you have ever adventured alongside Link (the game’s protagonist), then this music is likely echoing in your mind. You may be humming or singing it out loud. This four-note motif perhaps suggests a feeling of achievement, the joy of exploration and finding, or maybe a relief that comes with finding tools needed to overcome obstacles. Hearing the music as an adult may recall childhood pleasures, or it may awaken the desire to seek out adventure. Four mere notes can inundate you with memories, associations, and bittersweet emotion. This nostalgia engages the impossible. It taps into our virtual thinking—a longing for memories irretrievable, romanticized, or even imagined.
This text invites chapter submissions that examine nostalgia’s relationship to video game music and sound. We endeavor to theorize the nostalgia that drives fans to replay old games, clamor for re-releases, remix game themes, and reimagine familiar tunes in live performances in venues ranging from YouTube, to the jazz club, and even the concert hall. Nostalgia has grown into a palpable yet amorphous theme within discourses on game sound, particularly in the work of musicologists and music theorists. We aim for this volume to both engage this research, and to interrogate its unexamined assumptions via multifaceted, cross-disciplinary chapters. Although conceived within an academic purview, we recognize and respect the importance of this topic to a range of disciplines, subcultures, and readers. Accordingly, by diversifying this text’s methods and perspectives, we seek to broaden this book’s appeal to both a public and academic readership. We intend for this collection to address nostalgia through the following topics, of which provide the broadest boundaries for submission:
- Articulating Nostalgia: We must code a language that faithfully describes the nostalgic effect of video game music. Can you help define the effect many recognize, but few can articulate?
- Engaging Nostalgia: How does nostalgia work in video game music? What special role does video game music play in creating nostalgic connections?
- Confronting Nostalgia: Does this nostalgia create problems or conflicts? For example, can someone “own” nostalgia? Does it hurt creative production? Can nostalgia become exploitative?
For consideration, please submit the following information to Nostalgia.VGM[at]gmail.com by February 15: an article abstract of no more than 350 words and a 100-word description on which section of the anthology best suits your project and why.
Can Aksoy, Sarah Pozderac-Chenevey, and Vincent E. Rone
Can Aksoy is a professor of English at Los Angeles City College, visual artist, and dancer. He specializes in contemporary american literature, representations of business culture, consumerism, risk theory, and pop-culture. Can’s work explores how economic theory evaluates literary canon, and unveils its connectivity with videogames, film, and popular music. An avid gamer since childhood, he has also held a strong interest in video game music ever since recording the Sonic the Hedgehog soundtrack from the game’s music select screen to his walkman.
Sarah Pozderac-Chenevey is a PhD candidate in musicology at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, finishing up a dissertation on the narrative use of pre-existing music in video games. She has presented her research at Music and the Moving Image, Music and Media V: Music on Small Screens, and the North American Conference on Video Game Music, and her work on video game music and nostalgia has been published by Divergence Press. She is also active as a professional vocalist in Northeast Ohio, where she lives with her husband, daughter, and small dog.
Vincent E. Rone is an active musicologist, organist, composer, and director of choral music at Bayonne High School in New Jersey. He specializes in music used to suggest the fantastical in sacred, film, and video game music. Vincent’s work has been published in the Journal of Musicological Research, Journal of Music and the Moving Image, as well as chapter contributions in publications by the Church Music Association of America and the American Guild of Organists. His work on video game music is forthcoming in a collected anthology on the mythopoeic significance of The Legend of Zelda series.