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A list of Sesame Street opening and closing music cues that have been used regularly, or at least more than once, on the show.

Opening segues[]

1969 - 1993[]

(season 1 - season 24)

A slow, mellow version of the theme with harmonica (Toots Thielemans), soft guitar, and a flute solo during the bridge. Featured in the first pilot episode. Used in the main title intro for My Sesame Street Home Video releases, and played for extended lengths in episodes 0406 and 2616 and the Sesame Street A&E Biography special. This tune has been referred to as "Toots Strollin'."[1]

Known Variations
  • A different arrangement, similar to the pilot opening but also in a different key (A flat, instead of C), plays at the beginning of episodes 4 through 10 of Sesame Street.
  • A slightly lower-pitched version was used for the original 1976 end credits of Sesamstraat from the Netherlands.
    • A slower version was used to accentuate David's slow-moving day in Episode 0816's opening scene.
  • A Christmas-styled arrangement of the theme plays at the beginning of the original 1969 version of Merry Christmas, Finny (replacing Finny and Leo with Big Bird and Susan) and several times in A Sesame Street Christmas Carol (2006).
  • A much more up-tempo, jazzier arrangement of the theme plays in most episodes from late in Season 3 until Season 6 (first appearing in episode 0370) and at the close of episodes 2222 and 4046. Some episodes of the period still had the "Toots Strollin'" music.

1993 - 2006[]

(late season 24 - season 37)

An upbeat calypso-flavored arrangement of the theme with guitar and synthesized instruments (flutes, drums, etc.). Featured in the main title for The Best of Elmo (1994), the opening theme of some Sesame Street direct home videos distributed by Sony Wonder and the ending credits for early Elmo's World videos. It's also used as the closing cue music for most episodes during late season 24 through season 26.

2007 - 2008[]

(season 38 - season 39)

A light urban-flavored version of the theme with multiple key changes and a prominent flute solo. The closing theme cues are the same.

Closing cues[]

1969 - 1993[]

(season 1 - season 24)

The standard "strolling" outro, featuring Toots Thielemans on harmonica, that closes almost every show. It plays at an extended length for the credits of Friday episodes up until season 23.

Midway in Season 22, a slightly higher-pitched remix of the classic closing theme was introduced, with a louder clearer-sounding harmonica. It was sporadically used with the original mix during seasons 22 and 23, and accompanied the closing credits for repeats during seasons 24 and 25.

This same mix appears in episodes of seasons 34, 35, and 37 of Sesame Street. It also plays during the ending credits of early My Sesame Street Home Video releases, and Elmo's World: Babies, Dogs & More! (2000).

Known Variations
  • A lullaby arrangement of the theme featuring bells often plays during scenes and closing sequences meant to indicate nighttime, or when a character is taking a nap during the day. First played in episode 552. It also appears in the video Bedtime Stories & Songs and in the opening scene of the original 1989 version of Finny's First Sleepover (replacing Finny the Shark with Telly Monster). An alternate recording was used at the end of both Episode 0313 and the original 1989 version of Finny's First Sleepover.

1995 - 2002[]

(season 27 - season 33)

First used on episode 3397, a remix of the original opening theme, including the sung verses by the Kids, newly-recorded harmonica fills, and concluding with the last few notes of the original harmonica closing by Toots Thielemans. Returns in episodes in season 36.

Known Variations
  • A newly-recorded lullaby version of the theme plays for nighttime closing scenes during this period. This version usually features a children's chorus, repeatedly singing "How To Get To Sesame Street?" In episode 3400, more of the song's first verse is heard, and in some instances (such as episode 3785), the vocals are omitted.

Sources[]

  1. Craig Shemin at the Museum of the Moving Image event "Jim Henson and the Music of Joe Raposo"
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