ABSTRACT

The notion of imaginative inhabitation is taken to its next logical step in the form of videogame as alternative home, and here music and sound are interrogated for their roles in enabling different experiences of gameplay in games related to the case study franchises. Isabella van Elferen (2016) provides a useful methodological model for understanding game music’s immersive capabilities, focusing on musical affect, (ludo)musical literacy and musical interactivity. This chapter adopts van Elferen’s model and constitutes an exploration of the varying musical worlds of videogames of both Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter worlds in different formats, analysing the borrowing or mimicking of film soundtracks as well as the creation of new or tangentially related sound worlds. The methodologies here are several, combining musical analysis and data garnered from interviews with composers to give a fuller picture of music’s roles in continuing to build fantasy worlds and make them inhabitable, here in a more experiential and interactive sense. The chapter culminates in a case study showing music displaying all three of van Elferen’s immersive capabilities with a look at Lord Of The Rings Online, a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game (MMORPG) based on Tolkien’s legendarium which plays host not only to a functional and responsive game soundtrack but also to enhanced musical capabilities, making the player into a musician and enabling group performances and a range of roleplayed music festivals.