Edit: 20 July 2015 - an enterprising person submitted an FOI request to the BBC to get information about a song used in an episode of Tracey Beaker. This is probably overkill but might work as a last resort.
There's something very pleasing about hearing a piece of music you like, or recognise, but not knowing what it is and then finding out. For me, the longest gap between hearing and knowing what something was about ten years when I finally found out that the Ford Mondeo advert featuring David Duchovny was using Bernard Herrmann's 'Prelude and Rooftop' score from Vertigo.
Every television programme I've ever seen has credits at the end for everyone involved in bringing the programme to the screen, but the incidental music doesn't seem to get much of a look in. Why?
I know that the details of (most? of) this music must get noted down somewhere because royalties might need to be paid so presumably the information exists although there may not be the will, or the requirement, to publish this anywhere.
There are quite a few ways to find out what a piece of music is, for example:-
- Shazam - there's a free iPhone app and it's not bad at all (it solved this bit of shop-based music for me)
- sometimes the subtitles (if you've got them switched on) will tell you what a piece of music is, especially on adverts
- Googling - extremely effective if you want to know what an advert's music is as you've got your keywords sorted out and are bound to find a forum somewhere in which someone's asked and answered that question. YouTube's also a good source. A bit tougher if your music of interest is 17 minutes in to a particular programme though, but not impossible.
- Twitter, obviously
- Edit: http://www.musipedia.org via commenter below, thank you Anonymous. This is pretty cool - you can play a few notes on an online piano and then search for it. Clever.
Is there something similar that collects notifications of incidental television music? It would seem to be the sort of project that would lend itself quite well to crowdsourcing as there lots of bits of music used many will recognise, and a few obscure ones that my mate Neil will probably know and everyone knows an obscure bit of music that other people don't know don't they?
Unfortunately I haven't the faintest idea how ones goes about creating and setting up such a website, and given the nature of the thing I thought it would already exist (there are several sites covering the music featuring in adverts and themes from children's television programmes etc) but I've not found it yet.
One day this database will exist and I'll find out what the incidental music was for a BBC Panorama programme about cruelty in the poultry industry called "The Chicken Run" broadcast in May 2003. It had some eerie music in the background, but Shazam can't help me as it's not on television now.
I suppose another thing I need is some sort of web-based computer app which has a keyboard that will let me record a few notes and send people a link saying "It sounded a bit like this... do you know what it is?"
------- Successfully bagged incidental music, that I obviously like --------
Incidentally (hoho) Andy of @Digitonal is pretty good at knowing what a piece of music is...
See also Music that I discovered from adverts
Brian Eno - An Ending (Ascent)
Subterraneans (Part.01). Philip Glass David Bowie Brian Eno
Elbow - Mirrorball
Philip Glass - Koyaanisqatsi (The Grid)
Philip Glass - Koyaanisqatsi (Pruitt Igoe)
What things do you hear cropping up in programmes and know what they are?