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Music as temporal disruption in Assassin’s Creed

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The Assassin’s Creed video game series incorporates real-world historical elements. While some historically derived musical elements are referenced from the time period and geographic setting of the game, in the first game of the series, Assassin’s Creed 1 (2007), these historical snippets are subsumed within a modern musical setting emphasizing digital sound. The effect is a bleeding-over of ancient with modern that mirrors the plot of the game. This new spin on the time travel narrative creates a disconnect for the player and invokes disruption in a number of ways: through plots, visual distortions and sound/music effects. Musically, disruptions invoke a sense of aural discomfort in the player, which mimics aspects of the game narrative such as the protagonist’s physical distress. In order to better understand the interrelationship between these components, this article uses graphic transcriptions to categorize the musical, visual and narrative functions into fiction, interface and hypervisual/hypersonic components.
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Keywords: Assassin’s Creed; disruption; ludomusicology; music analysis; soundscape; transcription; video game

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000419368331Queen’s University

Publication date: August 1, 2020

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  • The Soundtrack is a multi-disciplinary journal which brings together research in the area of music and sound in relation to film and other moving image media. A complex cultural, technological, industrial and artistic phenomenon, sound-with-moving image is a rich area for analysis, investigation and speculation. We encourage writing that is accessible to audiences from a diversity of intellectual backgrounds and disciplines as well as providing a forum for practitioners. The Soundtrack's aim is to nurture this new and expanding area of academic investigation in dialogue with soundtrack producers of all kinds.
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