Sunday, June 2, 2013

Behind the scenes: Celebrating 100 published posts! (and introducing a new series: Musings)

I couldn't believe the counter when I saw 99 published posts this morning...  That makes this post number 100!  Yay!  

What a journey this has been!  I've never made a blog or tried to do anything like this before but it's been completely rewarding so far.  I've learned so much, but I have to say the best part has been connecting with other people who like this material.  I've been getting more comments and am starting to have a fair number of readers.  Thank you!  When I've had a crazy day where I think "what's the point of all this?" I come home and see that someone's excited to have found some information here and that's all the more motivation to keep going.  Game music deserves more attention than it's been given (or even, is being given) by scholars.  I'm not meaning to slam those working in the field as they're doing very important, very hard work; what I mean is that for such a huge study of music and culture, there needs to be more than a handful of people working on it.  

This blog is sort of a rebellion from the way I watched many of my scholar mentors work; they tend to keep their work quiet, hoping to get their insight out and published ahead of the next person (who, at least in music, probably isn't very interested in that same topic at all!).  Instead, right now at least, I'm trying to go the opposite way: I want to share all I'm learning as I do with the online community and engage with others who love this material.  Plus, this electronic format is amazing in that I can search through it very easily and find an idea I had earlier, as opposed to flipping back through a book and trying to figure out which dog-eared page is the one I'm looking for.  Maybe one day this will all coalesce into a book of sorts, or perhaps a publication into some form of media that doesn't even exist yet.  Picking up a book and reading about music without being able to hear the music...  bleh!  At best now in music scholarship, it seems we can access recordings online or off a CD, either of which are clunky.  The internet allows for the words and music to be almost seamlessly integrated, and that easy connection is the best way forward.  Several of my friends have suggested that I apply to present about game music at one of the big academic music conferences as the time is ripe.  The attitude at UM seems to be encouraging me and for this field of research.  Right now, though, I'm content: above all this electronic journey is just so appropriate considering that I'm examining game music, which exists in an electronic state.  

100 posts later, I'm reflecting: what am I doing and why?  In effect, I'm just chronicling my notes and thoughts online in this blog as I sift through all that is game music.  A lot of my work so far has been reading published scholarly information on game music to get my mind wrapped around what people are thinking and talking about in the field.  While there's not really an end to that, I can almost see the end of it now.  Let me explain what I mean.  I've either read or am reading nearly every book on the topic of game audio.  The stacks on my desk are diminishing.  This summer, I'll be able to turn my attention more toward individual journal articles.  Now, I've done enough digging now to see the scope of what's ahead-- in other words: I see trees instead of forest.  Of course, there's the old adage, "the more you learn the more you realize there is to learn."  Completely true-- and there's no real end to my surveying literature blog thread.  Even if I could conceivably read everything about game audio, one then finds filaments that point into other materials (film music/research, electronic music/research, etc) where there's ever more to learn.  I didn't even mention new publications, which seem to be on the upswing-- at least in game music, so I don't imagine any shortage of new ideas and readings to encounter.    

I just have to say also that it helps so much that all this material is online right now.  To do this kind of research even five or ten years ago would've meant needing to own or find someone who could let you borrow and play through these games.  Now I can watch gameplay videos online, hear soundtracks, remixes, and concerts easily at the click of a button.  Who knows if all this game music will be available on the internet in a few years with copyright and whatnot...  For me, that'd be a shame, but the relationship between rights and music and online right now might be best summed up with Facebook's iconic phrase, "it's complicated."  While I'm not a game music composer, as a pianist, I have performances and recordings available on the internet that no one's ask me to put up, I receive no payment for them being there, and there are even some I'd rather weren't public because that moment in time wasn't my best.  Welcome to music in the early 21st century.  The internet is changing every profession and quickly-- music is no exception.  I think one of the reasons music has been so dramatically changed by the internet is because nearly everyone loves music, encounters it, and grapples with it daily.  I hear people bemoan often that too much of the internet is devoted to something like pornography or celebrity... well then, let's make more of it devoted to music!  

I'm probably often too long winded for the general blogosphere, and here I've done it again.  So to wrap up, my 100th post is the perfect time for me to launch a new blog thread: Musings.  I've been thinking about this thread since I started the blog and I'm finally ready for it.  Unlike Surveying Literature, Analysis, or My Gaming Audio History, Musings will simply focus on whatever is on my mind with game music that day.  It could be quite long winded or as short as a sentence.  I've now taken in enough information to brainstorm my own thoughts and feel they're not as naive as they would've been many months ago when I started this journey.  So, if you want to hear my less censored, whatever's on my mind, hopefully insightful comments, watch for the thread "Musings" in the future of the blog.  

100 posts...  I might just deserve a drink!  After all, it's 5 o' clock somewhere!