Keys to Play: Music as a Ludic Medium from Apollo to Nintendo

Keys to Play: Music as a Ludic Medium from Apollo to Nintendo

by Roger Moseley

Paperback(First Edition)

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How do keyboards make music playable? Drawing on theories of media, systems, and cultural techniques, Keys to Play spans Greek myth and contemporary Japanese digital games to chart a genealogy of musical play and its animation via improvisation, performance, and recreation. As a paradigmatic digital interface, the keyboard forms a field of play on which the book’s diverse objects of inquiry—from clavichords to PCs and eighteenth-century musical dice games to the latest rhythm-action titles—enter into analogical relations. Remapping the keyboard’s topography by way of Mozart and Super Mario, who head an expansive cast of historical and virtual actors, Keys to Play invites readers to unlock ludic dimensions of music that are at once old and new.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520291249
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 10/28/2016
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 468
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Roger Moseley is Assistant Professor of Music at Cornell University. Active as a collaborative pianist on modern and historical instruments, he has published essays on the interface of the keyboard, the performativity of digital games, the practice of eighteenth-century improvisation, and the music of Brahms.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Prelude: Press Any Key to Start 1

Part I Fields and Interfaces of Musical Play

Key 1 Ludomusicality 15

1-1 Orders of Play 23

1-2 Beyond Work and Play 33

1-3 The Sound of Gunplay 43

1-4 Bits and Beats 45

1-5 Playing Undead 58

Key 2 Digital Analogies 67

2-1 Apollo 1, Marsyas 0 72

2-2 Notes on Keys 78

2-3 Interface Values 90

2-4 (Key)board Games and Temperamental Tactics 99

2-5 Tristans Chord, Schoenberg's Voice 109

Part II Play By Play: Improvisation, Performance, Recreation

Key 3 The Emergence of Musical Play 121

3-1 Unforeheard Circumstances 127

3-2 Pantomimes and Partimenti 140

3-3 From Black Box to Glassy Shell 151

3-4 The Case of Winkel's Componium 159

3-5 The Invisible Thumb on the Scale 167

Key 4 High Scores: WAM vs. LVB 178

4-1 Unsettled Scores 181

4-2 Mozart's Two-Player Games 188

4-3 Concerted Action 200

4-4 Mozart and Mario Play the Field 212

4-5 Beethoven's Recursive Feedback Loops 219

Key 5 Play Again? 236

5-1 Nintendo's Brand of Ludomusicality 243

5-2 Analogous Digitalities 250

5-3 The Ludomusical Emergence of Toshio Iwai 258

5-4 High Scores: Nodame Cantabile 263

5-5 Replay: A Cento 271

Notes 275

Bibliography 365

Ludography 419

Index 423

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