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Interactive Digital Media Explored in Kiri Miller's Playing Along

Kiri Miller, Manning Assistant Professor of Music, is an ethnomusicologist whose work focuses on music of the Americas and ethnographic approaches to new technological practices. Her new book, Playing Along: Digital Games, YouTube, and Virtual Performance (Oxford University Press, 2012), was published in February 2012. Her first book, Traveling Home, showed how a self-consciously antiquated musical tradition came to grow and thrive in a world of listservs and cheap air travel; this second book, explores how our everyday experiences with interactive digital media are gradually transforming our understanding of musicality, creativity, play, and participation. In both contexts, shared practice creates intimate, deeply felt connections across space and time. Miller's book is available for Kindle, in hardcopy, or in softcover.

Book description from Amazon.com:

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.

The Oxford University Press companion website, with extra audio and video tracks can be found at: http://www.oup.com/us/playingalong

Research for the book was supported by fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and the American Council of Learned Societies.