Pentatonix Counts (& Sings) to Five on Sesame Street

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Pentatonix is an a cappella group, who specially recorded this performance for Sesame Street. This particular piece is reminiscent of the Eleven Twelve clip from Sesame Street in the 1970’s, which was animated.

The musical expression of this piece is upbeat and cheerful. Phrasing and lyrics highlight pleasant connotations related to each number (one to five), while the number of performers at a point in the piece is respective to the number being sung about. This makes sense, as the target audience is children aged 0-5 years, so the lyrical expression could be said to emphasize the fundamentals of counting, while being reinforced by the visual elements.

This piece is melodic, despite the absence of instruments. The performers all have differing qualities of timbre, and are able to harmonize as a whole, or in subsets. Several members act as percussion or a bass-line at various times. The arrangement of this piece is in itself a performative element, which was likely heavily rehearsed. Although there is no score to which instruments are played, this is not a piece to which any of the performers could improvise at time of performance.

Another performative element for the musical expression of this piece would be the countenance and costumes of the performers. Pentatonix, performing outside of Sesame Street dress and act much edgier. They has been toned-down to suit a performance on a platform that caters to children, and it has ensured that there is still much colour and vibrancy to their presentation.

 

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