Main content

Tom Service savours the sound of the fifth - an interval with many meanings, from mystic drone to military bugle call. With guests Jeremy Llewellyn and David Bruce.

Tom Service savours the sound of the fifth - an interval with many meanings, from mystic drone to military bugle call. He's joined by Early Music expert Jeremy Llewellyn who explains the significance of the fifth in medieval music, related to The Music of the Spheres and used to invoke the Almighty in religious chant; and by composer David Bruce, who describes how composers today find fresh uses for this primal sound. Tom finds the open, ringing sound of the fifth in all sorts of music, from a Buzzcocks guitar solo to a Bruckner symphony, providing the thrill of adventure in the Star Wars theme and underpinning the reels of Scottish bagpipe music.

Available now

30 minutes

Music Played

  • Aaron Copland

    Fanfare for the Common Man

    Performer: Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Antal Doráti.
    • Decca.
  • Arvo Pärt

    Nunc Dimittis

    Performer: Choir of St. Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh. Performer: Matthew Owens.
    • Decca.
  • Benjamin Britten

    Fanfare for St Edmundsbury

    Performer: Philip Jones Brass Ensemble.
    • London.
  • Traditional

    Raga Behag (Alap)

    Performer: Gundecha Brothers.
    • Sense World Music.
  • Jean Sibelius

    Symphony No.5 - Finale

    Performer: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Performer: Sir Simon Rattle.
    • Berlin Philharmonic Recordings.
  • Buzzcocks

    Boredom

    • New Hormones.
  • Giraut de Bornelh

    Reis Glorios

    Performer: Paul Hillier. Performer: Stephen Stubbs. Performer: Erin Headley.
    • ECM.
  • Gyorgy Ligeti

    Violin Concerto - 1st movement

    Performer: Benjamin Schmid. Performer: Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Hannu Lintu.
    • Ondine.
  • David Bruce

    Fanfarron

    Performer: San Diego Symphony. Performer: Jahja Ling.
    • Private Recording.
  • Traditional

    Redesdale Hornpipe

    Performer: Jack Armstrong.
    • Saydisc.
  • Anton Bruckner

    Symphony no.4 - 1st movement

    Performer: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Performer: Klaus Tennstedt.
    • EMI Classics.
  • Pérotin

    Beata viscera

    Performer: The Hilliard Ensemble.
    • ECM.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Symphony No.9 - 1st movement

    Performer: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Performer: Herbert von Karajan.
    • DG.
  • Mark Saul

    The New Paradigm

    Performer: Breabach.
    • Breabach Records.
  • Joseph Haydn

    Symphony No.104 - Finale

    Performer: Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Performer: Colin Davis.
    • Philips.
  • Traditional

    The Last Post

    Performer: Unknown.
    • Private Recording.
  • John Williams

    Star Wars – Main theme

    Performer: Boston Pops Orchestra. Performer: John Williams.
    • PolyGram.
  • Alexander Courage

    Star Trek - TV theme

    Performer: Boston Pops Orchestra. Performer: John Williams.
    • PolyGram.
  • Richard Strauss

    Also Sprach Zarathustra

    Performer: Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Fritz Reiner.
    • RCA.
  • Sir Harrison Birtwistle

    The Mask of Orpheus - Act 2 Scene 3

    Performer: BBC Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Andrew Davis.
    • NMC.
  • Prince

    Purple Rain

    Performer: Prince. Performer: The Revolution.
    • Warner Bros..
  • Thomas Adès

    Violin Concerto - 1st movement

    Performer: Anthony Marwood. Performer: Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Performer: Thomas Adès.
    • EMI Classics.
  • Piano Etude Book One No.2 “Cordes a Vide”

    • Nonesuch.
  • Antonio Vivaldi

    Lauda Jerusalem

    Performer: Bach Consort Wien. Performer: Ruben Dubrowsky.
    • Gramola.
  • Paul Desmond

    Take Five

    Performer: The Dave Brubeck Quartet.
    • Columbia.
  • Lionel Richie

    Hello

    Performer: Lionel Richie.
    • Motown.
  • Elliott Carter

    Symphonia

    Performer: BBC Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Oliver Knussen.
    • DG.
  • Arnold Schoenberg

    Chamber Symphony no.1

    Performer: Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Performer: Heinz Holliger.
    • Apex.
  • Benjamin Britten

    The Turn of the Screw - Prologue

    Performer: Mahler Chamber Orchestra. Performer: Daniel Harding.
    • Virgin Classics.
  • John Adams

    Grand Pianola Music Part 2: On the Dominant Divide

    Performer: San Francisco Symphony. Performer: Michael Tilson Thomas.
    • SFS Media.

Broadcast

Six mind-expanding music podcasts to download in 2019

Six mind-expanding music podcasts to download in 2019

Love music? Looking for new ear-fodder for your commute? We've got you covered.

Why do we call it 'classical' music?

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

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 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?

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

Watch the animations

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

When does noise become music?

When does noise become music?

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

Podcast