The phenomenon that is Guitar Hero has taken the world by storm. Since first released in 2005, the franchise has sold over 25 million copies worldwide. Amateur air guitarists have been able to unleash their inner rock gods within the comfort of their own homes. The game expanded to include bass guitar, drums and singing through a microphone.
It’s time for Activision to take it to the next level by introducing a more complex instrument and one that has its roots in classical music. Enter the Piano.
Keyboard Hero Technical Aspects
A typical Piano has 88 keys. I can’t imagine fitting that many options on a musical score sheet on screen, let alone differianting between that many key colours. A scaled down piano would be needed, with enough keys to make it difficult and few enough to have noticable differences in the colour spectrum used for the keys. The sharp keys are 50/50 divided colours of the keys to the immediate left and right of it.
There would be two sets of octaves, covering the ranges of C to B using Octave 1 and Octave 4 (incorporating Middle C). This would allow deeper chords to be played with the left hand simultaneously with the melody on the right hand. So in essence, this is a piano that has been chopped up and conjoined, because Octaves 2 and 3 are missing.
From beginner to expert
The easier modes of play would involve less keys, chords and exclude the sharp notes. The Hard and Expert modes would have difficult chord progressions and two handed playing.
Why a Keyboard and not a Piano?
The instrument of a keyboard was chosen over a piano purely for its marketing appeal. Using a keyboard also takes away the added complexity needed of Piano foot pedals. Keyboards have the benefit of being able to emulate piano sounds as well as other synthesized ranges. This allows for a wider range of songs to form the catalogue.
Keyboard Hero Song Playlist
I’ve put together a list of songs I believe have some of the best piano/keyboard/synth riffs in music. It’s a mix of contemporary songs as well as some classical artists. Well known pianists such as Elton John and Billy Joel feature several times and have enough material to create their own spin off versions as was done with Aerosmith, Metallica, Van Halen (Guitar Hero franchise) and The Beatles, AC/DC (RockBand franchise). However, it remains to be seen whether such artists would have market viability given the target demographics.
Obviously not an exhaustive list, as there can be up to 85 songs on a Guitar Hero game.
Listed alphabetically by song name:
|100 Years||Five for Fighting|
|A Thousand Miles||Vanessa Carlton|
|A Whiter Shade Of Pale||Procol Harum|
|Baba O’Reily (Teenage Wasteland)||The Who|
|Bat Out of Hell||Meatloaf|
|Bennie And The Jets||Elton John|
|Clair de lune||Debussy|
|Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?||Rod Stewart|
|Don’t Stop Believing||Journey|
|Earth Song||Michael Jackson|
|Great Balls of Fire||Jerry Lee Lewis|
|Honky Cat||Elton John|
|House of the Rising Sun||The Animals|
|How to Save a Life||The Fray|
|I Don’t Like Mondays||Boomtown Rats|
|Imagine||John Lennon & The Plastic Ono Band|
|Iris||Goo Goo Dolls|
|L.A. Woman||The Doors|
|Lady Madonna||The Beatles|
|Lean on Me||Bill Withers|
|Let It Be||The Beatles|
|Light my Fire||The Doors|
|Moonlight Sonata No. 14||Beethoven|
|No One||Alicia Keys|
|November Rain||Guns N Roses|
|Piano Man||Billy Joel|
|Planet Claire||The B-52’s|
|Poker Face (piano version)||Lady Gaga|
|Scenes from an Italian Restaurant||Billy Joel|
|She’s A Rainbow||The Rolling Stones|
|Stairway To Heaven||Led Zepplin|
|Take Five||Dave Brubeck Quartet|
|The End of the Innocence||Don Henley|
|The Entertainer (rag time)||Scott Joplin|
|The Final Countdown||Europe|
|The Way It Is||Bruce Hornsby and the Range|
|This Woman’s Work||Kate Bush|
|Tiny Dancer||Elton John|
|Walking in Memphis||Marc Cohn|
|Werewolves of London||Warren Zevon|
|You Are the Sunshine of my Life||Stevie Wonder|
What do you think of the sample song list? What songs would you like to see included?
A bit about the game cover design
This was created in Photoshop using standard dimensions of a Wii game case. The font is a Guitar Hero imitation called Nightmare, available for free at dafont.
The font was given a similar grey inner glow effect and black drop shadow. The subtitle ‘Kings of the Keys’ had a subtle gradient overlay applied to it. The background (sourced from http://www.djafi.com/EM_ADJ-DJ-SCAN-250-SYS_FX.jpg) was resized to fit dimensions. The keyboard (http://www.wallpapertimes.com/3d-wallpapers/model/piano-keyboard.html) was cropped out and then the key colours were hand paint brushed in.
Finally, the Activision and Wii Logo were added as well as the ratings classification tag, for credibility.
The cover was made using my new birthday gift, a Wacom Bamboo graphics tablet. But more about that in another post.