Karaoke is derived from the Japanese words "kara," meaning empty, and "okesutora," meaning orchestra. In other words, karaoke means empty orchestra, or is meant to describe a singing style where the orchestra is lacking. Karaoke is a form of entertainment that involves an amateur-level singer singing along with music or a music video using a microphone and addressing a crowd. Most karaoke music is well-known pop music from which the lead vocal has been removed so that the singer can be heard.
In most karaoke experiences, the lyrics for the song are displayed on a video screen with either a moving symbol or words that change color to guide the singer. In some countries there are karaoke music videos with the ability to disable the original voice track, and these music videos are known as KTVs. The singer chooses a genre of karaoke music and then gets to select the karaoke song that he wants to perform. By choosing his own song, the singer can better ensure that his performance is excellent.
When it comes to karaoke experiences like this, all participants have to do is sing along to the lyrics, and the karaoke machine does all of the rest of the work, displaying the lyrics and playing the background music to accompany them. There are also more challenging types of karaoke where the point is to sing a song without having the lyrics displayed. Contestants or participants attempt to sing the karaoke song based on memory alone.
There are not many guidelines when it comes to karaoke music, except that the music should be popular enough that the tune and lyrics are generally well known. By selecting popular music, there is a much greater chance that the singer is already aware of the songs and will not have to rely as heavily on the video screen in order to sing the song effectively.
Most karaoke player and karaoke machine options include pre-recorded music, usually including popular songs from the 60s through the 90s and current hits. Most people find they need to supplement the music that comes with the karaoke player by purchasing karaoke CDs. Karaoke CDs allow you to build a larger repertoire of karaoke music, so that you don't get bored of the selection you have. They also allow you to customize your karaoke library, by choosing karaoke songs that you particularly like.