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A new sound for the BBC World Service

The BBC has revamped the sound of the World Service, introducing a new signature tune and complementary music.

From today, a new specially composed signature tune will be played at the top of the hour, every hour, and new theme tunes for individual programmes will then be rolled out across the Service over the coming weeks.

For many years,World Service Radio was known for the "Lilliburlero" theme, which accompanied the line "This is London". It was replaced in recent years by a collection of international voices, with lines such as "This is the BBC in ...", followed by a location around the world, with David Lowe - the composer of the main BBC TV News themes - responsible for the sound of the station since 2009.

The latest set of music has been composed by Mcasso, recorded at Mcasso Studios in London's Carnaby St, with the string section of the BBC Concert Orchestra added at Angel Recording Studios in Islington, London.

Mary Hockaday, Controller, BBC World Service English, says: 
"We are absolutely thrilled to introduce audiences across the globe to the brand new sound of the BBC World Service. The dynamic music will set a fresh, contemporary and distinctive tone for the network, providing the perfect backdrop to support our news and other programmes. 
"Even on a speech network, careful use of music can help create an identity for the station and build a closer relationship with our listeners. Our composers have done a wonderful job, with a spirit of curiosity, quality and warmth which I hope our audiences will come to love.”

The main theme features synths and percussion, embellished by a live orchestra, giving a rich, warm sound. It begins and ends with a sound design audio motif, inspired by and echoing the sound of the ‘pips’ – the series of six short tones broadcast at one-second intervals and recognisable around the world for being synonymous with BBC Radio. The main musical theme also appears in the music for other individual programmes, arranged in different styles.

Individual programmes debuting new music will be Newsday, World Update, OS, Business Matters, Business Daily, Weekend Tech Tent and Sportsworld.