Just Add Performance

Kiri Miller

in Playing Along

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199753451
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932979 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Music/Media Series

                      Just Add Performance

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  • American Music
  • Ethnomusicology


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This chapter addresses public gameplay performance contexts for Guitar Hero and Rock Band. What does it mean to be a live performer of a pre-recorded song? These games inspire physically virtuosic, visually engaging performances, staged in a variety of social contexts: players compete in game tournaments, post performances on YouTube, and form instant bands with friends at Rock Band bar nights. They also engage with the gender and sexuality norms of rock performance, sometimes turning their gameplay into over-the-top rock drag. As players and their audiences create these performances, they collaborate with game designers and recorded musicians in stitching recorded musical sound and performing bodies back together.

Keywords: performance; virtuosity; tournament; liveness; YouTube; Guitar Hero; Rock Band; gender; sexuality; drag

Chapter.  11375 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music ; Ethnomusicology

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