Game Music Analysis: Creating and Analyzing Graphical Representations of Video Game Scores

Jason Brame, Texas Tech University

Video games are discussed in great detail among cultural, communications, and technology studies, but the scholarly study of video game music is only just beginning. However, the study of game music is almost exclusively in the realm of musicology, with much discussion on the subjects of game music in culture, history and development of game sound, and the aesthetics of video games. This paper explores a method of analyzing an entire video game score though the use of a game score graphing technique.

Using The Legend of Zelda as a case example, I explore the creation of two different types of game score graphs that are used to provide a complete analysis of the game itself. After showing how Real-Time Game Score Graphs and Music Object Relation Graphs work, I show how these graphs help us understand Zelda and how the music functions within the game. For this paper, I use the graphs to explore how analysis can yield a complete tonal understanding of the game, how motives in the games blend within various connected music objects, and how both of these help to reinforce the narrative of the game.