Thursday, 13 January 2011

Variations on a theme

The other day I was trying to hum the tune of Copeland's Fanfare for a Common Man, and what came out was the Channel 4 News theme.

I can't believe that I have listened to C4 News for so many years without realizing that it's a variation on the theme of Fanfare. In case you doubt me, here's the evidence (note in both cases you have to go through a bit of initial burbling before you get to the main theme - it starts at 14 seconds in C4 News and 21 seconds in Fanfare).

Here's the C4 News theme:

And here's Fanfare for the Common Man:



  1. I think "variation" is the key word here, but when you're right you're right. I do love the Copeland piece. It's always been one of my favourites. When I listen to it is one of the few times I feel proud about being American (I can't believe I said that out loud). And it is, really, so much better than the Ch 4 news theme :-)

  2. Definitely variation rather than copy, Sue - but variations on a theme often stray quite a way from the original.

    I love the Copeland too - feel free to be proud. (Be proud also of Barber's Adagio/Agnus Dei, to my mind one of the greatest pieces of 20th century music... not to mention much of Bernstein's work. Oh and Eric Whitacre.)

    The funny thing is, on one of the YouTube clips of the C4 news music, someone had commented 'It's so British' (or English).