Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Type: Thesis
Title: Making the Virtual Actual: a research model to understand music of contemporary open-world video games
Author: Smith, Barnabas Gregory
Issue Date: 2019
School/Discipline: Elder Conservatorium of Music
Abstract: The global video game industry has in part achieved its ubiquitous cultural influence through the creation of increasingly realistic gameworlds. Of these, contemporary open-world games offer vast internal environments presenting complex narrative constructs and ever-higher production values, including music content. Research into these games has typically ranged from their characteristic technical design and storytelling attributes, to ethnographic studies of their gameworlds, through to commercially based evaluations of the games’ soundtrack content. Breaking new ground by merging these disparate lines of enquiry into a cohesive whole, the purpose of this study is to examine the music of open-world game soundscapes as sociocultural artefacts. This study seeks to offer a foundation for explaining the musical functions causal to the popularity of these games according to a research model that determines and separates the constitutive musical components of a gameworld’s soundscape into diegetic categories. These components are examined according to a tripartite model with a methodological basis in game music design principles, adopting a gameworld as a virtual ethnography fieldsite, and studies of game music in culture. This study takes Grand Theft Auto V as its focus in demonstrating an application of the proposed model. As an open-world game grossing more than any other form of media and featuring more musical content than any previous title of its series, it is shown that the proposed model does greater intellectual justice to the technical, aesthetic, and sociocultural sophistication of this artefact. The development and application of the proposed research model enables a shift of analytical approach in ludomusicology from an outside-in perspective to one of an inside-out nature. In addition to its application to other games, the offered model affords theorists and game designers a valuable analytical and conceptual tool to see the virtual music of a game as anchored in the actual world.
Advisor: Carroll, Mark
Harrald, Luke
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, Elder Conservatorium of Music, 2019
Keywords: Musicology
Video Game
Grand Theft Auto
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
Appears in Collections:Research Theses

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Smith2019_PhD.pdf10.33 MBAdobe PDFView/Open

Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.