I used to be a choral singer—I started as a Boy Soprano, no less (the Brits call them “trebles”).
There was something so satisfying about those (admittedly rare) moments when the pitches and the blend were really perfect. It even happened once, totally by accident, with my two older brothers and me. I think we were singing a Harry Belafonte song. (Yes, I knew about Harry Belafonte before he became something of an audiophile vinyl icon.)
So of course I was tickled when Fox network débuted the TV series Glee. Charley Hansen of Ayre Acoustics commented to me that it was a rather dorky (my word not his) name for a TV show. So I explained to him that “glee” was a musical genre—an unaccompanied partsong, often with one voice per part. Even more obscure is the genre “catch.” As in, Catches and Glees. Where was I?
There’s an aspect to our enjoyment of great musical performances that is analogous to why people tune into the Olympics: to see people doing ordinary things (such as running or skating) with extraordinary skill and grace.
So it is with singing. Pentatonix deserves their 16 million views for this YT—as well as their two Grammys®. The band members wrote the song with other collaborators. The album it is from is their fourth, but that is their first containing mostly original material.
If you want a little more, there’s a very brief “making-of” here.
A topic for later on will be the on-and-off love affair American popular music has had with a-cappella singing… .
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