Karaoke and videoke have become mainstream forms of entertainment around the world. People of all ages and personalities eager for their three minutes of fame can belt out songs of any genre. Whether at a birthday party or in a bar, this highly entertaining -- and sometimes excruciating -- pastime is bound to bring out the superstar in anyone.
Karaoke originated in Japan and has been around since the early 1970s. It was invented by Daisuke Inoue. In Japanese, karaoke combines the words for "kara," meaning "empty," and "oke," which means "orchestra. The karaoke machine is an electronic box loaded with music that has a screen and speakers. Karaoke plays versions of songs in which only the accompanying instruments are recorded, leaving the karaoke singer to sing along with it. The television screen allows the singer to follow the lyrics as he sings to the recorded track.
The Karaoke Box
The popularity of karaoke in Japan has snowballed over the years. Since traditional Japanese houses are made from wood, it is not always convenient to sing karaoke and disturb neighbors with song. Karaoke Boxes are the solution to this -- they are isolated and sound-proofed rooms, where anybody can sing in private. Karaoke boxes can be found along the roadsides of Japan and to date, there are over 100,000, according to Karaoke Kanta.
Videoke is a much-loved pastime in the Philippines and is a natural progression of karaoke. It incorporates both music and video. Like karaoke, the videoke singer reads the song lyrics from a screen. The lyrics are highlighted as they are sung and a cursor guides the singer. At the end of the song, the videoke machine gives the singer a score based on the singer's ability to follow along with his song cues -- timing and pace are essential to achieve the coveted high score of 100. Friendly competition is as much part of videoke as the singing itself. Videoke differs from karaoke in its use of video. Videoke singers are not only singing along with the track, but they are videorecorded while they are performing.
Both karaoke and videoke have strong followings in their native countries. Unlike videoke, which is still emerging, karaoke has become a worldwide phenomenon and its success can be witnessed in clubs and bars around the globe.
Olayemi Phillips has been a writer since 2000. She holds a Higher National Diploma in photography, film and television from Salisbury College of Art and Design in her native England. In the U.S. she is a graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature, specializing in writing for both children and teenagers and creating and selling short stories and articles.