20 May 2024

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This week it's all about: Television theme tunes

Sashaying, weaving and slaloming around the early exam season next week will be the theme of Television Theme Tunes. So why do some of them stick in the head? 

It might be the crashing drums at the start of EastEnders, the unfathomable "hooky street" lyrics at the start of Only Fools and Horses. Whatever it is, many of us have a TV theme tune we cherish, in many cases more than the show itself. The compositions are instantly recognisable, often unlike the composers. 

Initially, television themes were often written without seeing the show first. Instead a group of composers would each record a theme, and one would be selected by the show's producers. Today the trend is towards pieces being specifically commissioned. In these cases, a brief was handed to a composer suggesting the theme, the mood and possible instruments to help create this. 

Does the Pink Panther theme literally sound like the cautious, creeping movement of a cat?  Is Coronation Street's theme one of the more memorable for its ability to evoke the spirit of Manchester? 

Equally, some TV theme tunes use an existing score of music such as the Prokofiev piece, Dance of the Knights from the ballet of Romeo & Juliet, the dark and brooding mood symbolic of the tension and backstabbing about to unfold in the boardroom.
Theme tunes have the power to summon a wave of televisual nostalgia, and the importance they are accorded is best indicated by the presence of a special category at the Ivor Novello songwriting awards. However, it does remain hard to explain why some provoke such a powerful response and some don't. 

MaBaL (music at break and lunch) is music played through the school's speaker system during break and lunch.  Chosen by Mr Taylor, Lead Teacher for Music, this is designed to offer exposure to the curriculum in different ways, and support pupils' appreciation of music.

The focus is on one theme each week across a genre, a country or from history.  The theme could also link to the season, festival or an event in school, such as a performing arts production.  Any further suggestions are welcomed - pupils should see Mr Taylor or email a.taylor@priory.lancs.sch.uk 

Tags: Music Culture