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Anne Beetem Acker


Electronic music player that accompanies singers with pre-recorded music. The name comes from Japanese, kara (‘empty’) and oke (‘orchestra’). The basic karaoke machine includes some form of music player, a built-in audio mixer, microphone inputs, and audio outputs. The first karaoke systems included a microphone, eight-track tape player, amplifier, loudspeaker, and printed songbooks. Later machines display the lyrics on a video screen, and the more expensive versions can adjust the pitch level to suit the singer without changing tempo (some early systems allowed for changing the pitch but only by changing the tape speed, altering the tempo). Some early 21st-century versions include an Auto-Tune audio processor to correct intonation and software for making music videos. Karaoke systems for public spaces often are integrated into a pedestal that holds the controls, song storage, microphones, and video display, with separate loudspeakers. Portable systems resemble portable CD players, with or without a video screen. Wireless-microphone karaoke systems by companies such as Entertech use television or entertainment consoles for both audio and video. Video-game versions allow singers/players to receive scores or perform ‘with’ famous bands, sometimes as an animated character onscreen....


Brandon Smith

revised by Anne Beetem Acker

[polyphonic key pressure, polyphonic aftertouch]

On an electronic instrument, an expressive MIDI characteristic or data type (in the form: channel, note number, pressure) that transmits the key pressure for individual keys, and therefore separately for each note played, even when several are played simultaneously. This allows the performer to play different notes simultaneously at different loudness levels or with other effects, such as adding vibrato or triggering a filter. As with the more common monophonic MIDI data type (which averages the pressure for different keys pressed simultaneously, as if all were played with the same pressure), the pressure value is transmitted when the performer strikes a key while it is depressed, allowing the tone to change while a note is held.

The term ‘polyphonic aftertouch’ is also used to describe controllers (usually keyboards) with the capability to sense and send polypressure MIDI data, a characteristic found only in relatively expensive equipment. In velocity-sensitive keyboards without aftertouch, only the speed with which the key is initially depressed is sent as data....