Ayerora: chiptune and gender connected

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Isabelle Henry Harsch (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Alejandro Rutty

Abstract: Ayerora is an hour-long concept album primarily composed within the medium of chiptune. The pieces of Ayerora use a variety of emulations of sound chips (electronic hardware that generated audio for early computers and game consoles) that define the limitations on what waveforms can be used and how many can play simultaneously in chiptune music. One piece is written for alto saxophone and chiptune digital audio playback, and another is written for chamber ensemble without any playback track. The rest of the album consists of playback-only chiptune pieces. The album tells the story of an individual named Ayerora, who discovers that her world, meant to reflect our own, is defined by the arbitrary social construction of two genders, and fights to challenge and eventually destroy that construction. This thesis explains the album’s influences: the progressive rock conceptual works of the 1960’s and 1970’s, the chiptune community, and my personal experiences as a transgender person, especially one involved in the gaming community. It will also explain the sound chip emulations used to write the pieces, and other processes used to achieve the album’s sound. Finally, the thesis will discuss how the album conveys its central story, through themes that represent narrative concepts and a formal structure that emphasizes these themes. Ayerora is a combination of three of the most important aspects of my own life. Two of these, music and video games, are combined in chiptune. Using chiptune to tell a story that expresses my experiences with the third important part of my life, gender identity, brings these three disparate parts of my life together as one.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2023
Composition, Music
Video game music
Composition (Music)
Gender identity

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