Honors Program


Date of this Version


Document Type



Morales, Benjamin. Contextual Dichotomy: Musical Composition in the Style of a Video Game Soundtrack. Undergraduate Honors Thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2024


Copyright Benjamin Morales 2024


For my Senior Honors Project, I digitally composed eleven musical tracks and wrote accompanying analyses in order to develop a creative project over a medium I would like to have more hands-on experience working with. As a computer science major who greatly enjoys creative endeavors, I often had to ask myself which pathways could best accommodate both. Arguably one of, if not the most obvious forms of creative expression that is closely adjacent to my major is that of video game development. Game development is a complex medium that involves a multitude of creative disciplines, one of which being music, which is a creative medium I have held a particular interest in, shown as I had undertaken a music technology minor. Understanding I may very likely end up working within the field of game development, dedicating a creative project towards understanding and creating musical pieces within the context of that medium will help develop an avenue of skill I have already built a foundation upon through my music technology courses.

Throughout the creative project, I had to ask myself many questions that I would have to answer as I progressed through my research and application. Contextually, what makes musical tracks written for video games different from traditional albums or movie scores? How is video game music typically written by professional composers? What typical genres and themes can be played with, and how? How can I make it so that the soundtrack sounds cohesive among the different songs while also being able to stand on its own? Through this project, I discovered the importance of context and recurrent themes, and how video game soundtracks must utilize and focus on these ideas in order to fulfill a unique purpose that complements the media they are found in.