Roesner, David P.
The Guitar Hero's Performance.
In: Contemporary Theatre Review, Vol. 21, No. 3: pp. 276-285
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In this article the author argues that the kind of experience that music oriented videogames, such as Guitar Hero or Rock Band, affords brings about a number of shifts in our understanding in the act of music as performance in general.
In order to understand and read the act of playing these music games as performing music and not merely as a low grade simulation – many musicians have vocally dismissed it as just that – one needs to embrace a number of shifts of emphasis in what constitutes making music: the article argues that music-oriented videogames extend certain habits and conventions with regard to the interplay of acoustic and visual aspects of both performing and perceiving music; that they add layers to both our notions of performers and performance material; that they draw our attention to how integral ‘paratexts’ are to the performance of rock music by making them the key creative outlet of the game; and that they question the assumption that the ‘parasitic’ performances in Guitar Hero could not still be serious and forceful performative acts, but that instead they are a different but not ‘lesser’ form of music making. By looking at these re-negotiations in more detail the author argues that “real” and “virtual” ways of making music are connected in an iterative loop of mutual influence and inspiration and that the perceived static opposition between the two is a problematic construction that needs further interrogation and perspective.