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Lecture examines history of video game music

Dillon WhittingtonMILLIGAN COLLEGE, TN (April 16, 2013) — Milligan College senior Dillon Whittington will present his mentored research, titled “The History of Music in Video Games: Then and Today,” on Tuesday, April 23, at 7 p.m. in Milligan’s Hyder Auditorium, located in the Science Building. The event is free and open to the public.

Whittington’s multimedia lecture examines video game music through the decades—from Pong to Pac-Man to Halo—and includes audio and video clips of the music he studied.

Whittington is majoring in music education with an instrumental emphasis. This lecture is the culmination of his mentored research he began last summer.

“My research is a combination of the two things I cannot live without—music and video games,” said Whittington, of Johnson City, Tenn. “Although video games are seen as something childish in the eyes of some, it is quite to the contrary. They appeal to all audiences, in the same manner that cinema and theater do.

By studying this topic, I learned that video games are complex beasts that have grown through decades, driving and often benefiting technological growth.”

In addition to his lecture, Whittington will serve as the guest conductor for the selection of Martin O’Donnell’s music from the video game Halo at the Milligan Orchestra spring concert on Friday, April 19, at 7:30 p.m. in Milligan’s Mary B. Martin Auditorium in Seeger Memorial Chapel.

His faculty mentor is Dr. Kellie Brown, chair of Milligan’s music area and conductor of the Milligan Orchestra.

“In the history of Western music, audiences and performers have always been asked to embrace new genres of music that were added to the repertoire,” Brown said. “Opera was new to the 17th century; film music was new to the 20th century. While some resistance and skepticism were usually felt at first, acceptance and then admiration often followed. The same process is now happening for video game music. It is growing in its recognition as a serious art form among musicologists and connoisseurs of classical music.”

Whittington plans to pursue a degree in musicology after he graduates from Milligan. He would like to earn a doctoral degree and teach at the college level.

Whittington’s research is part of Milligan’s RISE (Research Increases Student Engagement) Above mentored research program. In recognition of the many benefits of undergraduate research, Milligan implemented a quality enhancement program in 2012 that seeks to significantly increase the number of students who participate in undergraduate research.

Students seeking to pursue undergraduate research for credit identify a faculty mentor who helps to support and facilitate the research initiative, including the completion of one or more courses in which research is the focus. The faculty-mentored independent research courses allow for an in-depth study of a specific question relevant to the discipline.

For more information about Milligan, visit www.milligan.edu.


MILLIGAN UNIVERSITY is a Christian liberal arts university in Northeast Tennessee whose vision is to change lives and shape culture through a commitment to servant leadership. The university offers more than 100 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in a variety of fields, along with graduate and adult degree completion programs.  To learn more about Milligan University, visit www.milligan.edu or call 800-262-8337.

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