When DJ hero dropped recently, I just shook my head about another game replicating a musical art form. After attending a mildly in tune 5th grade orchestra concert today, I have to wonder what happened to non-virtual instruments. I have nothing against music games, but I struggle with the illusion of virtuosity they produce. Play a video game is not the same a playing guitar, drums, or turntables.
A few weeks ago I participated in a Sounds Studies conference at Maastricht University and while waiting for the shuttle to travel the 90 minutes from the Brussels airport, I ran into my friend Mark Katz. The issue of virtual virtuosity was on my mind and began to pepper Mark with questions. If I hadn’t saved his paper and Stephan Helmreich’s papers to the end (the conference required some 600 pages of reading, so I had to save the things I was most interested in for the end), I could have answered my question. Nevertheless, Mark directed me to the work of Kiri Miller. She has written the awesome article “Schizophonic Performance: Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and Virtual Virtuosity” which niclely addresses the evolution on musicianship in the video game media world. It is nice when someone has already been thinking and writing about a side conversation going on in your head.