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Final Fantasy VII’s Musical Legacy

 

Special Issue of The Journal of Sound and Music and Games
Edited by Richard Anatone, James Denis Mc Glynn, & Andrew S. Powell

 

Submission deadline for articles: August 15, 2022
Publication Target Date: Spring 2023

 

In the decades since its release, Final Fantasy VII (Square 1997) has retained its status as one of the most culturally significant and successful video games of the 20th-century, whether in terms of units sold, fan response, or the vast transmedia franchise and extended universe to which it has given rise. While the game’s cast of memorable characters and sprawling, emotionally engaging narrative undoubtedly contributed to its initial success, Final Fantasy VII boasts a legacy that is also inherently musical. The game and its music have consistently appeared on “top 100” lists since its release; symphonic recordings of the game’s musical cues have become some of the most frequently requested “classical” works on radio waves (Gibbons 2017, 412); performers and composers alike have cited the music as some of their biggest inspirations. As recently as 2021, symphonic performances dedicated solely to the music of VII have captivated audiences at such celebrated venues as Carnegie Hall and the Royal Albert Hall (Khan 2021), reaffirming the Final Fantasy series’ “dominant position in game music culture” (Summers 2016, 158). Its success within the overall franchise itself is also unparalleled, as no other Final Fantasy game has been subject to such a vast universe-expansion through prequel and sequel games, movies, and novels.  Considering the significant impact that this game has had on musicians and video game fans alike, this special collection—which will celebrate and scrutinize the legacy of the music from the expanded Final Fantasy VII universe—will serve as a welcome and timely contribution to the game’s legacy. 

As 2022 marks the 25th anniversary of its release, we welcome contributions from scholars addressing a wide array of topics related to the music within all games/media of the Final Fantasy VII universe including:

  • Final Fantasy VII
  • Final Fantasy VII: Remake
  • Final Fantasy VII: The Dirge of Cerberus 
  • Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII 
  • Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII
  • Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

We also welcome topics that approach the music in non-media settings (i.e. concerts, arrangements, rearrangements). Range of topics can include (but certainly are not limited to):

  • Leitmotif and narratology
  • The reworking of pre-existing music and its role in establishing narrative 
  • Narrative and musical nostalgia 
  • The interaction of narrative film music with video game scoring practices 
  • Implications of stylistic disparity or differences in instrumentation/orchestration across media
  • Collective authorship/auteurism in the score to Final Fantasy VII: Remake and other games in the expanded universe
  • Interaction of the musical score, sound design, and dialogue 
  • Musical representations of identity (gender orientation, sexual identity, race, etc.)
  • Reflexivity and self-referentiality 
  • Music’s connection to in-game and real-life folklore 

Submissions should be 6000–7000 words and should follow style guidelines outlined in the Chicago Manual of Style, 17th ed, and all pictures should be 300 DPI. Videos should be .mp4 format and uploaded to individual Dropbox accounts. Articles should be emailed to FF7JSMG@gmail.com by August 15, 2022. Authors should avoid clear identification of their name and affiliation throughout the text, and should remove all metadata from submission files. Authors should consult the JSMG Style Guide for further information. For additional information, please contact the issue’s Guest Editors directly at FF7JSMG@gmail.com. We welcome all questions from prospective contributors.

Works Cited

Gibbons, William. “Music, Genre, and Nationality in the Postmillennial Fantasy Role-Playing Game.” In The Routledge Companion to Screen Music and Sound, edited by Miguel Mera, Ronald Sadoff, and Ben Winters, 412–27. Abingdon: Routledge, 2017. 

Khan, Aina J. “The Score of Final Fantasy Gets Its Due at the Concert Hall.” The New York Times. September 24, 2021 

Summers, Tim. Understanding Video Game Music. Cambridge, United Kingdom; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2016

 

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