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CultureReview
Let’s Sing a Song with an Old Friend, the Karaoke Room
이은영  |  cauherald@gmail.com
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승인 2015.10.05  11:22:05
트위터 페이스북 미투데이 요즘 네이버 구글 msn
   

Do you have your own special stress relievers? As stress is perceived as an origin of many illnesses these days, it is crucial to find ways to relieve stress for a healthy life. Although exercising and doing hobbies are idealistic solutions, singing your favorite songs at the karaoke room is also one of the best ways to get rid of stress. The karaoke is now a familiar place and is part of people's everyday lives. They bring cheer to us when we are sad and help us to share our joy when we are happy. Let’s talk about karaoke, the old friend who has always stood by us in joy and sorrow.

1. What Is Karaoke?

The karaoke room is a place where you can sing, as you can guess by its name. They are also popular in various countries and they are usually called ‘Karaoke’ bars or rooms. There are microphones, karaoke machines that provide instrumental accompaniment, screens with lyrics and glaring lights. Therefore, karaoke is the best place for everyone can enjoy singing their favorite songs with friends and family. Almost all karaoke rooms add a usage fee for each hour and sell snacks and soft drinks. Although the charge varies depending on the time of day and the facilities of the karaoke room; it costs 10,000 won per hour approximately. Usually the charge is cheaper in the morning than in the afternoon. The karaoke room is a very popular place to hang out with friends in Korea, because singing and dancing and listening to the sound of loud music makes people forget about their stressful work. Its popularity is spread widely without distinction of sex or age. Many office workers stop by the karaoke after a company dinner to have some fun and old people also visit to enjoy popular songs of the old days. Every Korean has a favorite song for karaoke which is called ‘the song of the number 18’. Like this, karaoke becomes the cultural place which is especially popular in Korea.

2. The History of Karaoke

Even though it hasn’t been long since the first karaoke has pervaded and became popularized in Korea, Koreans have loved and enjoyed music from the old times. Music can be found in every area of Korean people’s lives. Korea used to be a mainly agricultural society in the past. The whole family and neighbors worked together in the fields and on farms and sang work songs. Singing work songs made them recover their strength and work cheerfully. In addition, if people sing the same song, they can work more effectively because the beat of the song makes them work at the same pace. Not only farmers but also people in the high-positions of social class enjoyed music. They always recited poems when they got together and drank and they also enjoyed listening to ‘Gayagum’ performances, which is a Korean zither with twelve strings. Karaoke became popularized because of the passion and love for music such as detailed in the above examples. Busan, which is the second biggest city of Korea, is the city where the first Korean karaoke started because of its location close to Japan. Japan is the country where karaoke was first invented. Karaoke has spread all over the country since the late 1970s. There is no other country where karaoke is as popular as it is in Korea.

3. The Many Faces of Karaoke

1) The Coin Karaoke

The coin karaoke is a karaoke room where you can sing and pay for it with coins. It was invented for compensating the defect of existing karaoke rooms that pay a charge for an hour. The coin karaoke is the perfect place for the people who lack time and money because they can sing a song by just putting only a five hundred won coin into a machine. The coin karaoke rooms, of course, have their drawbacks. First, people must sing in a tiny room, which is similar to a cell. The rooms also have poor soundproof facilities and sound equipment. However, these demerits can be covered thoroughly by its biggest merit, which is that you can enjoy singing at an affordable price. If you really want to go to karaoke but you don’t have enough money and time, the coin karaoke will be an excellent solution for you.

2) The Single Karaoke

People normally use karaoke rooms with other people such as friends or family members in Korea. Enjoying karaoke with friends is fun but sometimes you will feel like singing alone to concentrate on the songs. But there are some barriers to using karaoke alone. The fee is often costly for one person and there are worries about what other people might think of you using the karaoke alone. There is a karaoke for people who want to enjoy it alone and are frustrated because of these barriers. It provides a small karaoke machine and a headset for listening to the instrumental accompaniment. You can check your voice and songs that you sang by using the recording function. You may be unfamiliar with the single karaoke at first but the feeling of awkwardness will disappear and you will be attracted by its charms. You can sing whatever you want without waiting for your turn.

4. The Factors That Add Fun to Karaoke

It is enough to perform and sing songs, if there is a karaoke machine and a microphone in the karaoke room. But there are some tips that make your use of karaoke more convenient and enjoyable. Let’s look at some tips to make sure your time at the karaoke is more exciting.

- Scoring Machine

If someone else evaluates your singing skills, it will be unpleasant. However the scoring machine is an exception. The grade is rather entertaining among friends. So how does the machine score your singing skills? Although there are some differences depending on machine companies, the rating criterion is not about singing perfectly in tune, but the tempo. The chip of the karaoke machine has information about how long the singer should sing for each word of the lyrics. Therefore it gives a grade according to the degree that the electric signals from the microphone conform to the song information. As a result, you can get a good grade if you sing at the right beat regardless of the melody.

- Applications for the Karaoke

Each karaoke machine company provides applications, which search the number of the songs that you want to sing with just one click. If you have this application on your cell phone, you don’t have to browse in the karaoke book. You can also check the song chart of karaoke in real time. Recently, the applications provide a recording function so you can sing a song with accompaniment and record it.

- Service Times The usage fees of karaoke are decided by using hours. Therefore, you need to say how long you will sing to the staff before using it. The remaining time appears on the screen, but most people sing songs for more than the time they had paid for it, because of the service times. Usually the owner of the karaoke gives people extra time to enjoy it. It is left to owner’s discretion entirely but it is offered in a large percentage of cases.

In fact, you can actually sing songs anywhere. You can sing in the shower or at parties. They are also good ways to enjoy music, but sometimes you feel that humming to yourself isn’t enough and want to sing a song like a singer on stage. How fortunate it is then that we have a karaoke when we feel like being a real singer? From now on, why don’t you relieve your stress by singing out loud and enjoy singing your favorite songs at karaoke?

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