Poll: Should Karaoke Video Games Use Proper Music Notation?

Yeah, I'm late with this week's poll.  Sorry about that.

Being a musician makes me a bit of a music snob.  I think pretty much everything on the radio is crap.  As such, when I try to play karaoke video games, I'm more often than not presented with a song I've never heard which, needless to say, puts me at a significant disadvantage.

See, the problem is, I've never seen a piece of karaoke software that uses proper music notation.  Oh sure, it shows you the lyrics but that doesn't help if you don't know what the melody is.  Heck, even if you have heard the song, you may only be familiar with the chorus and have no Earthly clue how the verses go.

Lyrics aren't enough!  Karaoke games need to communicate the notes and rhythm too!  Players can't be expected to know every song; it's not fair or fun.

I think karaoke games should employ proper music notation.  Gamers like me would be able to play more and those who never cared in the first place… still won't.  Heck, if Guitar Hero and Rock Band can inspire a few gamers to learn to play guitar, bass, or drums, maybe properly notated karaoke games could prompt a few to learn to read music.

But what do you think?  Vote in the poll and sound off in the comments section.  Is this a change you'd like to see?  Do you have a better method for communicating a song's melody?  Let us know and we'll talk all about it on next week's podcast.

Remember, you can send us email at SuperPACPodcast@gmail.com too if you're the shy sort.

"vote label" © Tribalium / Shutterstock. All rights reserved, used with permission.

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Contributing Editor Andrew Eisen

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  1. 0
    jryi says:

    Having a proper notation could benefit those who can read notes, and it doesn't hurt those that can't. And given that there is already a game that teaches playing guitar (Rocksmith), I guess it would be equally interesting to have a game that takes a shot at trying to teach you to sing from notes.

    I'm more bothered by the fact that singing games are too strict when it comes to giving points for performance. It leaves little room for interpretation, which is a key part of performing. Technical perfection is only one possible aspect.

  2. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    AE, the whole point of Karaoke is to get drunk off your ass and make a fool of yourself in front of other people whom are drunk off their asses.  If you're worried about proper music notation in it, you're doing it wrong.

  3. 0
    Seth Schmitz says:

    For me at least, karaoke (usually an alcohol fueled endeavor) is saved for songs I already know anyway. Which means at a typical karaoke joint I won't get many options. The only time I went to a karaoke event and actually knew most of the songs, it was live band metal karaoke. 

    As a classically trained musician, I can see why it would be nice to have. But it wouldn't help people that don't know how to read standard notation, and I don't think most of those people would really be interested in learning how. It's a good idea, but I don't think that advertising a karaoke game as "Now With Standard Notation!" would be enough of a selling point for most people to be worth the effort for a company.

  4. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    I don't see why video game karaoke shouldn't improve on real karaoke.  That said, I've always thought real karaoke machines could benefit from displaying the melody in addition to the lyrics.


    Andrew Eisen

  5. 0
    beemoh says:

    I'm going to say no, for the basic reason that real karaoke doesn't.

    Interesting question, though. Bit different from the usual small handful of topics thrashed into oblivion in polls like this.


  6. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    "Why not include an option for both?"

    Proper notation – lyrics and melody

    Standard quo – just lyrics

    I'm all for more options but I honestly don't see the point of doing both.

    "I'm guessing it probably would take more work to actually write out proper notation though."

    Properly notating shouldn't be any more difficult than writing the UIs the way they work now.


    Andrew Eisen

  7. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    To be fair, most of these games do at least attempt to communicate the melody and rhythm but it's way too limited to be useful.

    Rhythm is typically represented by spacing out the lyrics:

    "Row,        Row,       Row     your boat"

    As for melody, usually all the UI can tell you is if the pitch of a particular syllable is higher or lower than the one preceding it.


    Andrew Eisen

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