Like Guitar Hero and Rock Band? Then get the sheet music and play for real

A clever press pitch crossed our desk recently, taking interest in music and rhythm video games, and using it to push the age-old business of selling sheet music.

A book of Rock Band song transcriptions.

A clever press pitch crossed our desk recently that takes interest in music and rhythm video games and uses them to push the age-old business of selling sheet music.

Sheet Music Plus sells sheet music and songbooks for guitar, piano, and other instruments, and in a recent press release, ties that into the popularity of The Beatles: Rock Band and similar games, saying, "As music-driven video games continue to explode in popularity," the company aims to "help gamers channel their passion into becoming active musicians."

Being musically minded, that sounds like a laudable goal, but surprisingly, the Web site doesn't have a Rock Band/Guitar Hero tab or section. We searched for a few random songs from Guitar Hero 5 (AC/DC's "Jailbreak" and David Bowie's "Fame") and the Beatles: Rock Band ("Hey Bulldog"), and found multiple versions of each, ranging from complete multi-instrument scores to "easy" guitar chord books. Many examples of guitar/voice sheet music for a single song are $3.95, but most of the songs we checked are only available in larger collections that usually cost $20-$30.

Music publisher Hal Leonard, however, does publish licensed collections of sheet music based on music video games. Available through Sheet Music Plus as well as other sheet music retailers, we've seen books for Rock Band, Rock Band 2, Guitar Hero, and Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock.

Of course, just as playing Call of Duty doesn't mean you actually know how to load a machine gun, being a music game wiz doesn't make one any more likely to posses actual fretboard skills--so don't expect miracles if the only guitars you've ever handled have D-pads or power buttons on them.

About the author

Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of laptops, desktops, and Windows tablets, while also writing about games, gadgets, and other topics. A former radio DJ and member of Mensa, he's written about music and technology for more than 15 years, appearing in publications including Spin, Blender, and Men's Journal.


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