Aims & Scope
The Journal of Sound and Music in Games (JSMG) is a peer-reviewed journal that presents high-quality research concerning all areas of music and/or sound in games. It serves a diverse community of readers and authors, encompassing industry practitioners alongside scholars from disciplinary perspectives including anthropology, computer science, media/game studies, philosophy, psychology and sociology, as well as musicology. JSMG is the only journal exclusively dedicated to this subject and provides a meeting point for professionals and academics from any tradition to advance knowledge of music and sound in this important medium.
Though JSMG primarily focuses on video games, the journal welcomes studies of music and/or sound in any form of game (for example, sports, historical games predating video games, and so on). JSMG publishes original research articles, supplemented by a range of other content including review articles surveying important subjects, reviews of pertinent books and games, communications with responses, and interviews. The journal will also occasionally present topically themed special issues and conference proceedings.
As the journal of the Society for the Study of Sound and Music in Games, JSMG acts as a lively forum for the presentation and dissemination of knowledge, uniting theory and practice in this domain of musical-sonic activity.
To submit to JSMG, please refer to the instructions for contributors (below) in preparing your manuscript first. All submissions must then be processed by the editorial office here: https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/jsmg. If you have any questions you can contact the editorial office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|First Name||Surname||Role||SSSMG Profile|
|Elizabeth||Medina-Gray||Associate Editor (North America)||email@example.com||emedinagray|
|Timothy||Summers||Associate Editor (Europe)||firstname.lastname@example.org||tim-summers|
|Isabella||van Elferen||Board Member||isabellavanelferen|
|Ariel||Grez Valdenegro||Board Member|
Instructions for Contributors
The Journal of Sound and Music in Games (JSMG) welcomes original articles in all areas of scholarship concerned with sound and music in games, from any disciplinary perspective, including anthropology, computer science, media/game studies, psychology and sociology, as well as musicology. Please note, JSMG does not consider articles that are under consideration with other journals.
JSMG is a specialist journal for scholars and industry practitioners of video game music and sound. While the core audience is game music scholars, the interdisciplinary nature of the field means that the journal encourages submissions from authors who identify primarily with other fields (such as game studies, computer science, educational science, performance studies etc.), as well as practitioners (game music composers, sound designers etc.). While JSMG primarily focuses on video games, we welcome studies of music and/or sound in any form of game (for example, sports, historical games predating video games, and so on).
JSMG’s principal focus is original research articles, supplemented from time-to-time by a range of other content including review articles surveying important subjects, reviews of pertinent books and games, communications with responses, and interviews. We will also consider topically themed special issues and conference proceedings on occasion. Should authors wish to propose any other kinds of material or a topical issue, please contact the editors at email@example.com.
We expect articles to show engagement with the body of scholarship on game sound and music, and submissions should aim to make a contribution to this corpus of knowledge, with original interpretations and conclusions. JSMG does not consider articles that have been published elsewhere or are under consideration by another journal, though we may consider the publication of translations of material published elsewhere, or under consideration elsewhere (subject to rights and permissions). The Journal’s peer-review process is double-blind; JSMG promises an unbiased reading of submissions. Any information identifying the author should be removed from the main article and its file prior to submission. Further guidelines on the submission of articles is outlined below.
We allow inclusion of music examples where necessary, and other illustrations and supplementary material (videos, sound recordings, etc.) may be hosted on the journal website. Figures to be included in the body of the article should make a substantial contribution to the article. As an electronic publication, JSMG is interested in exploring innovative uses of multimedia as integral components of (or as the main body of) the article. Authors who wish to pursue any non-standard article content or format should contact the editors at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss this prospect prior to submission.
The typical length for submissions is 7,000–10,000 words (including footnotes, excluding bibliography). We are happy to consider shorter and longer contributions, but may require editing for length.
JSMG follows a ‘footnotes and bibliography’ system. In most matters, JSMG follows the most recent edition of the Chicago Manual of Style: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/
Submissions should be processed through our electronic editorial office system at https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/jsmg, in the format of a fully double-spaced Word document (.doc or .docx).
Figures, tables, and musical examples should be included, but for the initial submission, these can be in a low-resolution format. Be sure to number and caption all visual materials (figures, etc.) and ensure the reader is directed to them in the text. Please consult the full formatting and style guidelines included in this document.
A title page should be submitted separately. This page should include (a) article title, (b) author names and email addresses, (c) abstract of no more than 300 words (written in the third person)* (d) three to six keywords* (e) any acknowledgements, (f) if applicable, any details required by funding and grant-awarding bodies, (g) if applicable, the history of the manuscript, specifically whether any part of it has been presented at a conference or included as part of a thesis or dissertation.
*Please note that although the title page will include the abstract and keywords, authors should also enter those into the applicable fields provided by the submission system.
Upon acceptance, the manuscript will be copyedited to conform to the JSMG house style. The managing editor will send the copyedited article to the author for review and approval; copyedited book reviews will be sent to the book review editor for review and approval. Prior to publication, all necessary permissions need to be secured and authors are required to sign an Author Agreement.
JSMG is open to proposals for other materials for inclusion in the journal, such as conference reports, position papers, interviews, etc. Authors proposing such contributions should, in the first instance, contact the editors at email@example.com.
If authors have questions about the format of manuscripts or anything else about the submission process, please direct queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reviews in The Journal of Sound and Music in Games
JSMG reviews books, games and other relevant materials. JSMG commissions reviews, but it is also open to proposals for reviews, as well as submissions of material for review. JSMG is open to reviewing a wide variety of media. Interested parties should contact the editors.
Reviewers are free to express their own opinions, but they will be held to the editorial standards of the journal. This includes the right of rejection. The length of reviews should not normally exceed 1,500 words (including footnotes, excluding bibliography). Reviews should include a description for the reviewed material’s contents as well as the critical assessment of the reviewer.
The journal is open to reviewing all types of media. If you wish to review a format not covered below, please contact the editors.
Review heading format
Title. By Author. Publisher, date, number of pages, price.
Exhibition title. Venue, location, dates.
Title. Directed by Director. Country, production company, distributor, date, duration.
Title. Developer/Publisher. Region/Language, date, Original platform and platform(s) used for review, if different.
The reviewer’s name and institutional affiliation should appear at the bottom of the text.
JSMG Style Guidelines
Do not include any identifying information after the cover page in the submitted file, and ensure that author properties have been removed from the file’s metadata by using MS Word to remove author data.
In the initial submission, please do not include personal notes, such as acknowledgments, or references to previous exhibitions of the research, such as antecedent articles or conference presentations.
If the article makes reference to other publications by the same author, please cite these in the third person.
Please provide a full citation for a source upon its first use, but short form citations will suffice for subsequent references to the same source. Avoid ibid. and idem/eadem citations—repeat the name and/or title.
Beyond bibliographic reference, footnotes (not endnotes) may be used for explanation or supplementary information, but please keep these concise and pertinent to the article’s content.
Abstract and Keywords
The article submission should include an abstract of 300 words, written in the third person. This abstract should summarize the argument and methodological approach of the article. Please include three to six keywords along with the abstract.
Introduce quotations with a colon or comma, unless the context suggests another formulation (Smith states that “no one in their right mind” would do that). Use “[ ]” for editorial interventions in quotations, “ . . . ” for omissions, and “[sic]” if necessary to indicate accurate transcriptions. Any original ellipses should be indicated as such.
Omit leading and trailing ellipsis dots. Capitalize or make lowercase—without brackets—the first word of the quotation as necessary. Change or add closing punctuation as needed to fit the context of the quotation in your sentence.
Quotations from languages other than English should be translated in the text. The original may be included in the body of the text or in a footnote. It should be clear whether the translation has been created by the authors, or another party. Individual words from languages other than English should be italicized, and, where required, in-text translations provided, typically in brackets.
Style and Language
The journal’s primary style references are The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition, and the Merriam-Webster dictionary.
We use American spelling (-ize), punctuation, and musical terminology.
Use gender-inclusive language wherever possible. Use “they, them, their” as a non-gendered singular. (The player will find their way through the labyrinth.) Do not use “he or she,” “s/he,” “his or her,” etc.
Give full names when first mentioned in your article.
Use commas after each item in a list (i.e., a serial comma: “this, that, and the other”).
Dates should be formatted as Month Day, Year (July 23, 2020).
For dates and numerical ranges, use en dashes, not hyphens. Do not abbreviate numbers.
Lowercase musical genres (classical, jazz, electronic dance music), excepting abbreviations (R&B, EDM).
Lowercase names of theories, models, and concepts.
Use hyphenation for compound adjectives.
Exception: “video game” does not take a hyphen (video game music).
No spaces around em dashes—like this.
Game, album, and film titles should be italicized, with the year added for the first time it is mentioned in the text, plus developer for video games that are discussed (not just mentioned in passing): Channel Orange (2012); The Wizard (1989); The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (Nintendo, 2000).
Cue and song titles, plus titles of chapters and essays, should be in quotation marks: “Pac-Man Fever,” “One-Winged Angel.”
After punctuation such as colons, full stops, and semicolons, use a single space, not two.
Avoid “the fact that,” “in conclusion,” and sentences beginning with “however.”
Avoid “impact” as a verb.
Avoid epigraphs, unless immediately directly commented upon.
Avoid nouns as adjectives.
Whole numbers one through ninety-nine are spelled out in text; use numerals for 100 and higher.
Do not mix words and numerals for like items in one sentence or paragraph; use all numerals in this case. (Of the 139 sound clips, 12 contained audible feedback.)
Numerals for all fractionals (2.5 seconds), percentages (45 percent), and measurements with an abbreviation (20 kHz, 1200 dpi)
Numerals for chapter numbers (see chapter 3) and lowercase—unless you are giving its full title (“Chapter 3: Dawn of the MIDI Era”)
the twentieth century; a twentieth-century idea
a ten-second loop; the loop is ten seconds long
a 110-minute video; the video is 110 minutes
Text should use a normal, plain font (e.g., 12-point Time New Roman), be double spaced, flush left with a ragged (unjustified) right margin. Footnotes should be single spaced. For emphasis use italics, not underlines. Number pages using the automatic page numbering function. Indent paragraphs, unless they are the first paragraphs following a heading; see below for details.
Headings should be informative and help guide readers through the article’s analysis. Headings should be preceded by a blank double-spaced line to separate them from the prior section, but there should not be a blank line between the headings and the text that follows. The text should start flush left on the next line after a heading.
Musical Symbols and Terms
For musical symbols, place instructions for the typesetter in angled brackets, as in:
3/4 <meter signature>
E<flat> (where a symbol is preferable to spelling out “E-flat”)
A hyphen precedes the words “flat,” “sharp,” and “natural.”
For musical terms, please use English plurals (cellos, concertos).
Use “measure(s),” not “bar(s).”
Use “sonata form,” not “sonata allegro form.”
Write out numbers for intervals, e.g., “seventh,” not “7th.”
Images and Captions
Use “Figure” for pictures, diagrams, and line drawings, “Table” for tabulated information, and “Example” for musical excerpts. Please ensure that the reader is directed to these materials in the body of the text. Number your Figures, Tables, and Examples in the order they are mentioned in the text.
The order of information in captions is: Figure Number: Description, Source.
Figure 1: Hyrule Field in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998). Screenshot by author from Nintendo 64 PAL console, May 12, 2018.
(If the source credit is same for all, include it only on the first figure: “All screenshots by the author from Nintendo 64, May 2018.”)
If the article is accepted for publication, the author must provide high-quality images:
- 300 dpi minimum at 5 inches wide or 3.6 megapixels. Images need not exceed 1200 dpi.
- In TIFF format, RGB for color, grayscale for monochrome. Color is preferred.
- Line art should be at 1200 dpi in 1-bit ‘black-and-white’ mode.
- File name should include the primary author’s name and Figure/Example number.
- Sibelius files are acceptable for musical examples.
We recognize that achieving high quality images is not always possible for older video game materials, but we ask that authors attempt to meet these requirements as best as is practicable.
As a general guideline, screenshots should be taken by authors and not sourced from third parties like YouTube.
JSMG is able to embed video and audio in articles as well as publish them as supplementary materials.
- Recommended resolution of 1280 x 720 (16 x 9 HD) and 640 x 480 (4:3 SD)
- The original frame rate of the video should be preserved.
- Codec: H.264, MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 preferred.
- File types: MP4 or FVL preferred.
- File size: Up to 1 GB.
- Duration: Up to 10 minutes.
- File name should include a key word from the title.
As a general guideline, game capture should be taken by authors and not sourced from third parties like YouTube. Game capture should also define the version of the game, platform and source of capture.
- Codecs: MP3 or AAC preferred.
- File size: Up to 100 MB.
- Duration: Up to 10 minutes.
- Sampling rate: 44.1 kHz.
- Bit rate: 128 kbps preferred.
- Channels: Stereo preferred.
- File name should include a key word from the title.
- As with images and video, we recognize that these parameters are not always possible or appropriate for the materials under discussion, but these criteria serve as general guidance.
While JSMG believes in defending the legitimacy of the Fair Use of copyrighted material in academic research, the realities of corporate litigious culture require that we err on the side of caution when requesting that authors seek permission from copyright holders for the reproduction of copyrighted material in contributions to the journal. Please discuss any concerns about copyright with the editors and publisher.
For further information, please consult the UC Press guidelines at https://sites.google.com/ucpress.edu/authors-permissions-resources/home
Here are some general rules of thumb that may be useful:
- Many game companies have policies that automatically grant noncommercial use of game assets. Check whether these would apply to the submission.
- Seeking copyright clearance can be a lengthy process. Please initiate such discussions for permissions as soon as possible.
- English language, digital/online, worldwide permissions would be required.
- Remind any copyright holders that this is a non-profit academic journal.
- Authors are legally responsible for obtaining rights to reproduce copyrighted material.
- Please forward any documentation concerning the process of securing the rights to the editors.
- If in doubt, please contact the editors, who will be happy to provide advice, or seek further assistance to help authors with submissions.
Sample Citations—Notes and Bibliography
JSMG follows the most recent edition of the Chicago Manual of Style: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/ We suggest authors consult the online guide, but here are some examples of the most commonly cited materials.
Include an access date for all sources consulted online—website, journal, dissertation, etc.—per UC Press style (contra Chicago style). Give the source’s DOI whenever possible; give a URL only if no DOI is available.
For a source you directly quote, in the footnote give only the page number of that quotation. The bibliography entry will give the full page range of the article/chapter. Use an en dash (–) between numbers in page ranges.
In titles, capitalize all words except articles (a, an, the), conjunctions, and prepositions—regardless of how it was capitalized in the original.
If a publisher includes multiple locations on the title or copyright page, you include only the first city. Omit extraneous words in publisher’s name (“The / & Co. / Publishers / Corp. / Inc.” etc.). Include “Press” only for university presses, unless needed for clarity (e.g., “New Press,” “Free Press”). Omit state abbreviation after the city if the state is part of the publisher’s name (usually university presses).
Theodor Adorno and Hanns Eisler, Composing for the Films (1947; repr. London: Athlone, 1994), 44. Citations refer to the 1994 edition.
Karen Collins, Game Sound: An Introduction to the History, Theory, and Practice of Video Game Music and Sound Design (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008), 122.
Johan Huizinga, Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play Element in Culture, trans. R. F. C. Hull (London: Routledge, 1949), 42.
Aaron Marks, The Complete Guide to Game Audio, 2nd ed. (Burlington, MA: Focal, 2009), 210.
Eero Tarasti, A Theory of Musical Semiotics (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994).
Adorno and Eisler, Composing for the Films, 45.
Collins, Game Sound, 105.
Huizinga, Homo Ludens, 55.
Marks, Complete Guide to Game Audio, 210.
Tarasti, Theory of Musical Semiotics, 129.
Adorno, Theodor, and Hanns Eisler. Composing for the Films. 1947. Reprint, London: Athlone, 1994.
Collins, Karen. Game Sound: An Introduction to the History, Theory, and Practice of Video Game Music and Sound Design. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008.
Huizinga, Johan. Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play Element in Culture. Translated by R. F. C. Hull. London: Routledge, 1949.
Marks, Aaron. The Complete Guide to Game Audio. 2nd ed. Burlington, MA: Focal, 2009.
Tarasti, Eero. A Theory of Musical Semiotics. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994.
Michael Austin, ed., Music Video Games: Performance, Politics, and Play (New York: Bloomsbury, 2016).
K. J. Donnelly, William Gibbons, and Neil Lerner, eds., Music in Video Games: Studying Play (New York: Routledge, 2014).
Austin, Music Video Games.
Donnelly, Gibbons, and Lerner, Music in Video Games.
Austin, Michael, ed. Music Video Games: Performance, Politics, and Play. New York: Bloomsbury, 2016.
Donnelly, K. J., William Gibbons, and Neil Lerner, eds. Music in Video Games: Studying Play. New York: Routledge, 2014.
Chapter in edited book
Karen M. Cook, “Music, History, and Progress in Sid Meier’s Civilization IV,” in Music in Video Games: Studying Play, ed. K. J. Donnelly, William Gibbons, and Neil Lerner (New York: Routledge, 2014), 174.
Melanie Fritsch, “Beat It! – Playing the ‘King of Pop’ in Video Games,” in Music Video Games: Performance, Politics, and Play, ed. Michael Austin (New York: Bloomsbury, 2016), 167.
Cook, “Music, History, and Progress,” 174.
Fritsch, “Beat It!,” 166.
Cook, Karen M. “Music, History, and Progress in Sid Meier’s Civilization IV.” In Music in Video Games: Studying Play, edited by K.J. Donnelly, William Gibbons, and Neil Lerner, 166–182. New York: Routledge, 2014.
Fritsch, Melanie. “Beat It! – Playing the ‘King of Pop’ in Video Games.” In Music Video Games, edited by Michael Austin, 153–176. New York: Bloomsbury, 2016.
Journal article (print or online)
All online sources must include a DOI (or URL, if there is no DOI) with an access date. Most online journals will not have page numbers.
William Cheng, “Role-Playing toward a Virtual Musical Democracy in The Lord of the Rings Online,” Ethnomusicology 56, no. 1 (2012): 33. [give the page number if you’re quoting from that page; give the page range if you’re not quoting]
William Gibbons, “Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams: Popular Music, Narrative, and Dystopia in Bioshock,” Game Studies 11, no. 3 (2011), accessed July 23, 2020, http://gamestudies.org/1103/articles/gibbons.
Cheng, “Role-Playing toward a Virtual Musical Democracy,” 40.
Gibbons, “Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams.”
Cheng, William. “Role-Playing toward a Virtual Musical Democracy in The Lord of the Rings Online.” Ethnomusicology 56, no. 1 (2012): 31–62.
Gibbons, William. “Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams: Popular Music, Narrative, and Dystopia in Bioshock.” Game Studies 11, no. 3 (2011). Accessed July 23, 2020. http://gamestudies.org/1103/articles/gibbons.
For a source that does not list a date of publication or revision, use “n.d.” Always include an access date.
Hope Corrigan, “This Bag of Doritos Will Play the Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix Vol. 2,” IGN, April 25, 2017, accessed April 26, 2018, http://uk.ign.com/articles/2017/04/26/this-bag-of-doritos-will-play-the-guardians-of-the-galaxy-awesome-mix-vol-2.
Corrigan, “This Bag of Doritos.”
Corrigan, Hope. “This Bag of Doritos Will Play the Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix Vol. 2.” IGN, April 25, 2017. Accessed April 26, 2018. http://uk.ign.com/articles/2017/04/26/this-bag-of-doritos-will-play-the-guardians-of-the-galaxy-awesome-mix-vol-2.
Include a DOI (or URL) and access date if you consulted it online.
Michiel Kamp, “Four Ways of Hearing Video Game Music” (PhD diss., University of Cambridge, 2015), 33–34.
Kamp, “Four Ways of Hearing,” 55.
Kamp, Michiel. “Four Ways of Hearing Video Game Music.” PhD diss., University of Cambridge, 2015.
Austin Wintory, “Assassin’s Creed Syndicate – Raw Scoring Session Footage,” September 18, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOdfvC2NwsI.
Austin Wintory, “Assassin’s Creed Syndicate – Raw Scoring.”
Wintory, Austin. “Assassin’s Creed Syndicate – Raw Scoring Session Footage.” September 18, 2016. Accessed July 23, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOdfvC2NwsI.
Ryan Thompson, “Operatic Conventions and Expectations in Final Fantasy VI” (presentation, 8th Conference of Music and the Moving Image, New York, May 31, 2013).
Thompson, “Operatic Conventions.”
Thompson, Ryan. “Operatic Conventions and Expectations in Final Fantasy VI.” Presentation at 8th Conference of Music and the Moving Image, New York, May 31, 2013.
The following materials are not normally cited in footnotes, but are included in the bibliography.
Film and television
Scott, Ridley, dir. Thelma & Louise. 1991; Santa Monica, CA: MGM Home Entertainment, 2004. DVD.
Murphy, Ryan, dir. American Crime Story: The People v. O. J. Simpson. Episode 6, “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia.” Aired March 8, 2016, on FX.
Title. Developer/Publisher. Year. Region/Language, Original platform of edition and platform(s) used, if different.
The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery. Sierra On-Line. 1995. English, PC on GOG.com redistribution.
Destroy All Humans! Pandemic/THQ. 2005. PAL/English, Xbox version on Xbox One.
Fantasia: Music Evolved. Harmonix/Disney. 2014. PAL/English, Xbox 360.
Grim Fandango Remastered. Double Fine Productions. 2015. PC.
Jeff Wayne’s Video Game Version of the War of the Worlds. CRL. 1984. PAL/English, ZX Spectrum 48k on ZX Spectrum +2 and Fuse PC emulator.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Nintendo. 1998. PAL/English, Nintendo 64.
Mother/Earthbound Beginnings. Ape/Nintendo. 1989. NTSC/English, Famicom version on Nintendo Virtual Console, Wii U.
Pac-Man. Namco. 1980. Arcade machine. Science Museum, London.
True Crime: New York City. Luxoflux/Activision. 2004. German, PC.
Schubert, Franz. “Fantasie.” In Klavierstücke Klaviervariationen, 42–62. Munich: G. Henle Verlag, 1992.
Schubert, Franz. “Fantasie in C.” In Werke für Klavier zu zwei Händen, Band 4 Klavierstücke I, edited by David Goldberg. Neue Ausgabe sämtlicher Werke, vol. 7, no. 2, 83–97. Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1988.
Selected Word List
(for spelling and hyphenation, including words not listed in or deviating from Merriam-Webster)
offscreen (adj, adv)
offstage (adj, adv)
onscreen (adj, adv)
onstage (adj, adv)
real time (n) (The sound happens in real time.)
real-time (adj) (The real-time sound is loud.)
trope (v)video game music (don’t hyphenate “video game” as a compound modifier)
For transparency, the template our reviewers are asked to complete is available here.
Institutional and individual subscriptions are available from the University of California Press.
SSSMG Members are entitled to a significant discount for annual individual subscriptions. Please log in and follow the details here.