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Playing Along: Digital Games, YouTube, and Virtual Performance

Kiri Miller (Assistant Professor of Music, Assistant Professor of Music, Brown University)



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Oxford University Press Inc
29 March 2012
Theory of music & musicology; Music recording & reproduction; Music industry; Digital music: consumer&user guides
Why don't Guitar Hero players just pick up real guitars? What happens when millions of people play the role of a young black gang member in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas? How are YouTube-based music lessons changing the nature of amateur musicianship? This book is about play, performance, and participatory culture in the digital age. Miller shows how video games and social media are bridging virtual and visceral experience, creating dispersed communities who forge meaningful connections by playing along with popular culture. Playing Along reveals how digital media are brought to bear in the transmission of embodied knowledge: how a Grand Theft Auto player uses a virtual radio to hear with her avatar's ears; how a Guitar Hero player channels the experience of a live rock performer; and how a beginning guitar student translates a two-dimensional, pre-recorded online music lesson into three-dimensional physical practice and an intimate relationship with a distant teacher. Through a series of engaging ethnographic case studies, Miller demonstrates that our everyday experiences with interactive digital media are gradually transforming our understanding of musicality, creativity, play, and participation.
By:   Kiri Miller (Assistant Professor of Music Assistant Professor of Music Brown University)
Imprint:   Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 244mm,  Width: 161mm,  Spine: 24mm
Weight:   606g
ISBN:   9780199753451
ISBN 10:   0199753458
Series:   Oxford Music/Media Series
Pages:   272
Publication Date:   29 March 2012
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Further / Higher Education
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active
About the companion website ; Introduction: Playing Along ; Part One: Playing Along with Grand Theft Auto ; 1. Straight Outta Ganton: Virtual Tourism, Fieldwork, and Performance ; 2. Jacking the Dial: Radio, Race, and Place in San Andreas ; Part Two: Playing Along with Guitar Hero and Rock Band ; 3. How Musical is Guitar Hero? ; 4. Just Add Performance: Staging Schizophonia ; Part Three: Playing Along with Communities of Practice ; 5. Music Lessons 2.0 ; 6. Amateur-to-Amateur ; Endgame ; References ; Index

Kiri Miller is the Manning Assistant Professor of Music at Brown University. She is the author of Traveling Home: Sacred Harp Singing and American Pluralism (2008). Her research stands at the intersection of ethnomusicology, popular music studies, and digital media studies. Her work has been supported by fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and the American Council of Learned Societies.

Reviews for Playing Along: Digital Games, YouTube, and Virtual Performance

Taking music making in video games and online cultures as her focus, Miller develops powerful ideas that go far beyond Guitar Hero and YouTube to offer fundamental insights into performance and participation in music. Playing Along is an essential study. --Harris M. Berger, Professor of Music and Performance Studies, Texas A&M University, and President, Society for Ethnomusicology With Playing Along, Kiri Miller has produced a much-needed full ethnography on music gamers. A fascinating read full of insights into the impact that music-based games has on listening and performance practice, Playing Along is sure to become an important milestone in scholarship on games. A highly enjoyable and informative book! --Karen Collins, Canada Research Chair in Interactive Audio, University of Waterloo and author of Game Sound (2008) Get ready for a wild ride...from page one of Playing Along, Kiri Miller vividly reveals how virtual can also be deeply visceral. Her insights about the world(s) we live in point ahead at future possibilities for fieldwork, as well as everyday life. --Tomie Hahn, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute At a time when overheated rhetoric dominates the discourse surrounding video games and YouTube, Kiri Miller's Playing Along is sorely needed. Miller's years of immersive and sensitive fieldwork among gamers and amateur musicians have yielded keen insights into the complex and shifting relationship between modern media and popular culture. Both a substantial work of scholarship and a great read, Playing Along will appeal to everyone from gamers to media scholars, music teachers to ethnomusicologists. --Mark Katz, author of Capturing Sound: How Technology has Changed Music and Groove Music: The Art and Culture of the Hip-Hop DJ Miller breaks new ground in this engaging, important examination of the performative and participatory aspects of new digital media...A readable, fascinating exploration of new and increasingly common ways of experiencing and interacting with popular culture...Highly recommended. --Choice

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