Fantasias on a Theme by Walt Disney: Playful Listening and Video Games

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This chapter investigates listening to music in video games by proposing a model of “playful listening” to show how music creates domains of musical play. The chapter uses case studies of three games all based on Walt Disney’s Fantasia (1940/1999) films: Atari 2600 (1983), Sega Mega Drive/Genesis (1991), Microsoft Xbox Kinect (2014). Each Fantasia game highlights these fields of musical play in different ways. Games like the Fantasia titles make obvious how listening to music can be playful (even outside games). When we listen for how music “plays out,” we are engaging with the implied possibilities of the music, its “potential to be otherwise”; the music generates a field of potential sounding forms, only one of which is realized and fulfilled in performance. Games, and these games in particular, encourage us to listen playfully, and to enjoy the dynamic relationships of listening, in-game and outside, on-screen and off.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford Handbook of Cinematic Listening
EditorsCarlo Cenciarelli
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2021


  • video games
  • Fantasia
  • play
  • ludomusicology
  • gesture
  • musicking
  • synchronization
  • narrative

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