Orchestrating Difference: Representing Gender in Video Game Music

  • Michael Austin
Part of the Palgrave Games in Context book series (PAGCON)


As long as video games have been studied academically, the representation of gender in video games has been a particularly important topic of inquiry. However, research on the representation of gender in video games has also been almost exclusively ocularcentric, focusing solely on visual depictions of gender within games and most often ignoring the aural domain. Taking various games from the fantasy genre as case studies, this chapter investigates the ways in which gender—and masculinity in particular—is represented in and through video game music. I argue that compositional conventions, especially orchestration or instrumentation, are used to represent gender in a game’s score. I also discuss various ways that music confirms or undermines gendered expectations and stereotypes associated with a video game.


Masculinity Fantasy games Orchestration Music Gendered stereotypes 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Austin
    • 1
  1. 1.Howard UniversityWashington, DCUSA

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