Clio Em (Clio Montrey) is a composer, writer/game maker, opera singer and multi-instrumentalist who weaves imaginary worlds out of words and sound. She has received numerous awards for her creative work, including several competitive composition grants from the Austrian Government. Clio sings opera at Theater an der Wien in Vienna, Austria with the award-winning Arnold Schoenberg Chor in addition to her work as a contemporary soloist. She was on the research team of Barbara Lüneburg’s participatory art project TransCoding/What if?, based at the Kunstuni Graz, and is an alumna of McGill University, MUK, and MDW.
Building Fantasy Worlds Through Music
FROG 2021 – Talk
Music and video games are symbiotic creatures. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the fantasy genre, with its magic-infused themes and tropes. Worldbuilding – the creation of imaginary worlds – is often perceived as a visual and narrative undertaking, but it can be accomplished through various other, complementary means – especially music. Whether in-world melodies performed by characters like in Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda titles, or atmospheric soundscapes that provide a backdrop for the game’s adventure such as the stunning soundtracks of the Final Fantasy series, music renders gameplay more immersive and fosters a sense of escape from everyday life. Within the fantasy genre it can even function as a narrative or descriptive device, acting as aural representation of literal magical elements. In this talk I introduce the concept of fantasy worldbuilding through music and explain key concepts of dramatic development through music, such as the use of primary and secondary themes, leitmotifs, diegetic music, soundscapes, sound design and foley, and so forth. I the connect these concept back to musical dramaturgy in genres such as opera and other forms of music theatre, in order to create parallels to classical formats where worldbuilding through sound was first exploited. To close the talk, I perform a short original composition built specifically to illustrate each concept discussed.