Famous Faces

In 1973, Stevie Wonder participated in an episode-long musical guest, to teach Grover about vocal dynamics. Other stars also featured through the years, including Carly Simon, Diana Ross, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, and Celine Dion. There was also room for classical stars.

The message was that even world-famous stars could be accessible.

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How 'Sesame Street' Started a Musical Revolution

nytimes.com

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The music

Music on "Sesame" functioned in three ways: As backing tracks for animation and film clips, as live performances by well-knows guest artists, and as songs for the human actors and Muppets to sing.

The belief was that as the characters were of different ethnicities, the music should be multicultural too. As "Sesame" became more popular, it pulled more major musical talent.

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The aim of "Sesame Street" was to build school preparedness and narrow the educational gap between lower- and upper-income children.

They used pedagogy advice from a Harvard professor. Research also showed children were more receptive when they watched with caregivers, so celebrities were introduced.

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Sesame Street

Before Sesame Street, music wasn't even considered as a means to teach children. But Sesame Street changed that and proved that kids are very receptive to a grammar lesson contained in a song.

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"Sesame" songs were built on a curriculum. Each year, outside experts outline pressing academic and social issues, and from that, an educational theme for the season is built.

After a song has lyrics, it is scored. Brevity and repetition are key, and the songs are tuned for catchiness. Demos go to producers and artists for approval and production suggestions.

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Big-name stars lined up to make guest appearances. Stevie Wonder and Grover; Loretta Lynn and the Count; Smokey Robinson and a marauding letter U. "Sesame Street" also showcased Afro-Caribbean rhythms, operatic powerhouses, Latin beats, Broadway showstoppers, and bebop.

Now, after 4,526 episodes, the legacy is evident: It impacted the music world as much as it shaped TV history, inspiring fans and generations of artists.

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A research team looked at more than 17,000 songs from the US Billboard Hot 100 and found three music revolutions - in 1964, 1983, and 1991.

The researchers looked at the different characteristics of music, including harmony, chords changes, and timbres, then analyzed how they changed over time.

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Pop music 'saw three revolutions'

bbc.com

  • The world is used to seeing people performing in the iconic public streets and podiums all across the planet, it is a strange sight now, with near-total emptiness and silence as ‘Quarantine’ becomes the rule.

  • Performance artists, who usually rely on small and big crowds, are now springing up in their homes and balconies, and of course, online, live-streaming their performances to the entire world while being isolated from it.

  • Even though most of the events, news, interaction and performances are now online, whatever is left of our confined lives has started to appear more real.

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The Pandemic Is Remaking What Performance Can Be

newyorker.com

Background music is powerful

Even if you are hardly aware of it, music can be surprisingly powerful.

Researchers have found that it can affect:

  • how much time we think has passed while waiting
  • how co-operative shoppers are with sales staff
  • how sweet or bitter food tastes
  • what you will purchase. (One study found that shopper's preference for German or French wine shifted according to what traditional music was playing at the time.)

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Inside the booming business of background music

theguardian.com