During the demo Harmonix gave me of its new Rock Band Network, I started imagining things: Lots of rap songs in Rock Band. Opera arias in Rock Band. Suddenly it all seems possible for those who want to try it.
The Rock Band Network, which I described in detail earlier today, allows people to digitally transform music that they have the rights to into music playable on Rock Band.
The game's developers at Harmonix are anticipating such a diverse selection of uploaded music that they are introducing many new subgenres into the Rock Band Network store, various slices of heavy metal, for example.
Uploaded songs need not be constructed of the standard Rock Band parts of vocals, drum, lead guitar and bass. Song coders can utilise as many or as few of those parts as possible. They may submit a song that is only a single vocal track or just vocals plus drums—the combo that made me think of rap, which would fit the RBN store's hip-hop subgenre. Song coders will be able to flex the standards if not break the rules. They can't code two vocal tracks or three guitar parts.
It's hard to say yet which kinds of music will work well. It's easy to assume people will try anything and everything. Coding and playing Rock Band with vocal-and-drum or vocal-only rap could be a mess. One of the Harmonix guys' joke suggestions of Klezmer music could be great, could be disastrous.
Like the rest of the Rock Band Network, the consequences are in the hands of the community that develop around the service and the potential of the technology involved.
"We don't know how this is going to turn out," Harmonix community moderator Alex Navarro said near the end of the demonstration I got of the Rock Band Network. "We are going to be giving people the keys to the castle."
So...make it sound good in there and try not to wreck the place?
(This post's image shows sample songs placed in Rock Band Network store. Imagine anything in there.)