Medievalism and emotions in video game music


Unlike film, the study of medievalist music within video games remains a nascent field, with recent contributions being made by scholars such as James Cook. To paraphrase Helen Deeming, this article examines what the employment of medieval(ist) music within video games reveals about contemporary notions of the medieval, and what emotional connotations are embedded within such musical choices. I analyze the use of three ubiquitous medievalist musical tropes – the Gothic organ, the church bell, and the wordless voice – to create a set of ‘opposite’ emotional states: a sense of peace, tranquility, or sanctuary on the one hand, and danger, violence, the supernatural, and death on the other, connecting these emotional and musical stereotypes to those of the medieval era itself.

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  1. 1.

    See also Gee (2016).

  2. 2.

    See Grodal (2003) for one perspective.

  3. 3.

    See Gee (2007) and Roberts (2014) differs.


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I wish to acknowledge the digital database and express gratitude for the helpful commentary given by James Cook, Julianne Grasso, Dana Plank, Ryan Thompson, and the anonymous reviewer of this article.

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Correspondence to Karen M. Cook.

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Cook, K.M. Medievalism and emotions in video game music. Postmedieval 10, 482–497 (2019).

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