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CREATING A COHERENT SCORE:
THE MUSIC OF SINGLE-PLAYER FANTASY COMPUTER ROLE-PLAYING GAMES

TATE, JAMES,SEBASTIAN (2021) CREATING A COHERENT SCORE:
THE MUSIC OF SINGLE-PLAYER FANTASY COMPUTER ROLE-PLAYING GAMES.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Abstract

This thesis provides a comprehensive exploration into the music of the ludic genre (Hourigan, 2005) known as a Computer Role-Playing Game (CRPG) and its two main sub-divisions: Japanese and Western Role-Playing Games (JRPGs & WRPGs). It focuses on the narrative category known as genre fiction, concentrating on fantasy fiction (Turco, 1999) and seeks to address one overall question: How do fantasy CRPG composers incorporate the variety of musical material needed to create a coherent score across the JRPG and WRPG divide?
Seven main chapters form the thesis text. Chapter One provides an introduction to the thesis, detailing the research contributions in addition to outlining a variety of key terms that must be understood to continue with the rest of the text. A database accompanying this thesis showcases the vast range of CRPGs available; a literature review tackles relevant existing materials. Chapters Two and Three seek to provide the first canonical history of soundtracks used in CRPGs by dissecting typical narrative structures for games so as to provide context to their musical scores. Through analysis of existing game composer interviews, cultural influences are revealed. Chapters Four and Five mirror one another with detailed discussion respectively regarding JRPG and WRPG music including the influence that anime and Hollywood cinema have had upon them. In Chapter Six, the use of CRPG music outside of video games is explored, particularly the popularity of JRPG soundtracks in the concert hall. Chapter Seven concludes the thesis, summarising research contributions achieved and areas for future work. Throughout these chapters, the core task is to explain how the two primary sub-genres of CRPGs parted ways and why the music used to accompany these games differs so drastically.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Video Game Music, CRPG, WRPG, JRPG, Narrative, Role-Playing Game, Music, Ludomusicology
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Music, Department of
Thesis Date:2021
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:06 Jul 2021 09:33

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