Difficulties of Singing Korean Songs (and What to Do)
Just like any other Korean artworks, I find most of Korean songs are written with so much dedication. Their music arrangement, lyrics, and also music videos are so stunning. Oh and not to mention the singers who doesn’t only have nice voice but also have beautiful face and body.
Those could be the reasons why I really like listening to Kpop songs. If you are like me, we would also want to be able to sing along to the songs, wouldn’t we?
The thing is, their lyrics (apart from some English lines) are difficult to pronounce. Moreover with the growing trend of rap verses which exist in many of the songs. It makes us hard to sing along, especially for those who are totally beginner in Korean. Well, these are some of the tips I myself found helpful when learning to sing along.
Find a song with slower tempo
To sing while learning Korean, as starters I would look for Korean ballad because of its relatively slow tempo, plus no rapping parts in their lyrics. Songs that fall into this criteria are mostly soundtracks (OST) from Korean drama.
Adjust playback speed
What if there is a song we really love but it has a fast tempo? We could still practice that by playing it in a slower speed. Some applications have that speed adjustment tempo. One possible way to do this is through YouTube.
Nowadays you could find a lot of official Kpop music videos available on YouTube. And YouTube has speed adjustment settings. This combination is good for our needs. When listening to a song on YouTube, check the gear icon on the bottom right corner of the video to open Settings. There you could click Speed and adjust it to 0.25, 0.5, or 0.75.
This feature is only available on the desktop version of YouTube website.
Romanize the lyrics
In its original language, Korean song lyrics are written in hangeul (한글). Forget about singing in tune in the correct tempo, I couldn’t even read it without spelling the syllables one by one!
Therefore we go find transcriptions / romanizations of the lyrics into latin on the Internet. These transcriptions are usually made following a standard Revised Romanization (RR) rules. If you couldn’t find romanized lyric for your favorite song, you could try my romanization tool that I made here. Simply paste in the lyrics in hangeul on the text box, and you would get the romanization instantly.
Practice, practice, practice
Practice makes perfect. Enough said.
It doesn’t matter what skills you are picking up. Practice is the key.
Singing Korean songs has many benefits. Not only for fun, I also find it beneficial to improve prunounciation, faster reading speed, and listening skill. Before, when I heard a Korean song being played in a subway, I used to think “Oh, it’s Korean song.” and that’s it. Nowadays, while I’m still learning it, I began to catch the words that are sung without having to read the lyrics.
I’m sure you could sing Korean songs as fluently as you sing Shape of You!
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