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Tom Service goes on a voyage to discover why music has long been inspired by the sea, while marine biologist Helen Scales reveals the true sound of the oceans.

Join Tom on a Listening Service voyage across our oceans to discover why music has long been inspired by the sea - from Sibelius and Mendelssohn to John Luther Adams and the Beatles - how have composers tried to capture the ocean in their music? Is it even possible?

Meanwhile, Tom discovers music that is literally created by the sea itself from Blackpool to the Arctic, and dives down into the sounds of coral reefs with the marine biologist Helen Scales to hear the noisy vibrant reality of life under the waves, from snapping pistol shrimps and angry damsel fish to singing whales.

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28 minutes

Music Played

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Why do we call it 'classical' music?

Tom Service poses a very simple question (with a not-so-simple answer).

Six of the world's most extreme voices

From babies to Mongolian throat singers: whose voice is the most extreme of all?

How did the number 12 revolutionise music?

How Schoenberg opened a new cosmos for composers and listeners to explore.

Why are we all addicted to bass?

Bass is everywhere, but why do we enjoy it? Join Tom Service on a journey of discovery.

Watch the animations

Join Tom Service on a musical journey through beginnings, repetition and bass lines.

When does noise become music?

We like to think we can separate “noise” from “music”, but is it that simple?