Tom Service considers the question of who wrote the first folk song. Read more
Who Wrote the First Folk Song?
Tom Service considers the question of who wrote the first folk song.
Brahms - Behind the Beard
Tom Service considers whether Brahms had the most famous beard in classical music.
Breaking Free: Martin Luther's Revolution
Tom Service explores the power and politics of communal singing.
Tom Service explores how pieces of music end, asking what endings mean.
What's the Point of the Conductor?
Tom Service explores the role of the conductor.
Hay Festival 2017
In a special edition from 2017's Hay Festival, Tom Service explores setting words to music
The Power of Three
Tom Service asks why we love to harmonise in thirds and why sometimes thirds go rogue.
I Got Rhythm
Tom Service discovers why we find rhythm irresistible.
Tom Service explores the variety of music based on a drone.
Tom Service discovers some of the most extreme vocals in music.
The Proms Podcast Episode II - A New Episode
While The Listening Service takes a break, why not try this episode of The Proms Podcast?
At The BBC Proms, The Listening Service discusses the music of revolution and protest.
Codes, ciphers, enigmas
Tom Service delves into codes, ciphers and hidden messages in music.
Music for Mourning
Tom Service asks why music has always been an essential part of mourning.
Why is opera so ridiculous?
Tom Service considers opera - capable of great profundity, why is it also ridiculous?
Tom Service ponders silence as an integral part of music, from Haydn to James Blake.
Tom Service finds the maddening musical secrets behind earworms with guest Jarvis Cocker.
Can Music Scare Us?
Tom Service discovers the darker side of music. With Halloween director John Carpenter.
Tom Service unlocks the mysteries of Shostakovich's baffling Symphony No 15.
The Synthesizer. Hannah Peel, Peter Zinovieff
Tom Service investigates the rise of the synthesizer, now a common musical instrument.
Classical Music Hoaxes
Tom Service ponders the motivation and aesthetic value of musical hoaxes.
Everyone loves good music but when is music bad? Tom Service brings out the worst!
Tom Service discovers how Mahler was the first 'non-classical' classical composer.
Tom Service dispenses music history style counsel - how to tell what you're listening to.
Tom Service explores the unique music of Bela Bartok, including his piano music.
From the New World?
Tom Service examines Dvorak's New World Symphony.
I guess that's why they call it the Blues
Tom Service discovers 'the Blues' from its earliest origins to its widest influence.
Sonata Form - or There and Back Again
In this edition of The Listening Service Tom Service tells stories in sonata form.
Debussy the Impressionist?
Tom Service considers whether Claude Debussy was an Impressionist or not.
The French Horn Unwound
Tom Service on the enduring appeal of the 12-foot metal tube that is the French horn.
The Listening Service at Free Thinking
Tom Service explores the idea of polyphony live at the Free Thinking Festival.
Searching for Paradise
The Listening Service joins the BBC's Civilisations season to sound the divine in music.
Orientalism and the Music of Elsewhere
Tom Service unpicks western music's debt to the exotic, from Mozart to Ligeti and beyond.
Tom Service considers drums - ancient instruments, yet capable of great sophistication.
Is Music a Universal Language?
Tom Service asks whether music really is a universal language.
How does video game music work?
Tom Service looks to discover the secrets behind our favourite video game music.
Tom Service explores why and how the sea captured the imaginations of so many musicians.
What does ancient history really sound like?
What did the music of Paleolithic caves or Roman arenas actually sound like?
Syncopation Syncopation Syncopation
What is syncopation? An off-beat edition of The Listening Service. With Tom Service.
The Listening Service recorded live at Hay Festival
The Listening Service recorded live at this year's Hay Festival.
Igor Stravinsky: Understood Best by Children and Animals
Tom Service seeks the essence of Igor Stravinsky's seemingly ever-changing musical style.
Truck Driver Modulation
Tom Service on the art of the sudden key change - and our love-hate relationship with it.
Tom Service savours the sound of the fifth - an interval with many meanings.
Beginnings - Proms 2018 Special
Music – where do we start?
Pioneers of Sound - Proms 2018 Special
Why synths are so cool
Tom Service considers composers' and audiences' never-ending commitment to orchestras.
Devilish Musical Pacts
Tom Service signs his soul to the devil to explore the Faust story in music.
Mahler's 8th Symphony - 2018 Proms Special
Dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight
Folk Music - 2018 Proms Special
Tom delves in to folk music’s mysterious history ahead of Prom 27
Britten's Sea Interludes - 2018 Proms Special
The sea in all its musical majesty
Colour and Music - 2018 Proms Special
Ahead of Prom 45, Tom investigates the link between music and colour
Endings - 2018 Proms Special
Time for the big finish. But what do endings in music mean? Should it all just fade away?
Virtuosity - 2018 Proms Special
What does it mean to be a good - a really good - musician?
Searching for Paradise - 2018 Proms Special
Exploring sacred music and how it transports us to the divine.
Maxing out on Minimalism
Minimalism in music - is less really more?
Music and technology - what do you do when everything is possible?
A rollercoaster of a show as Tom experiences how music gets our hearts racing.
The Cowpat Controversy
Calling 20th Century English music 'cowpat music' is just plain rude! And it's inaccurate.
The Magical Forest
Enter the magical musical world of the forest. Your guide is Tom Service
What are the most extreme pieces of classical music ever written?
What counts as "classical music"?
What do we actually mean when we talk about "classical music"?
Rossini - Master Chef and Maestro
A celebration of 'Signor Crescendo' Gioachino Rossini, operatic genius and gourmand.
Concertos: All for one and one for all?
What is a concerto? Tom Service asks how they work and what it is like to be a soloist.
The Nutcracker - Strange Enchantments
Think The Nutcracker is a super-saccharine classic for the feel-good season? Think again.
How to Sing Classical -Vibrato!
Good vibrations or horrible wobbling? Why do singers use vibrato?
Who are the icons of classical music? And are they born or made?
Riffs, loops and ostinati - the art of repeating yourself!
Tom presses repeat - again and again and again ...
The Key to Keys
Tom Service asks why is western music in so many different keys and what exactly are they?
Can music be gendered?
Can you hear 'masculine' and 'feminine' in music?
The Double Bass
The elephant in the room? No, the Double Bass is much more.
Bruckner and the Symphonic Boa Constrictors
Is listening to a Bruckner symphony really like being crushed to death by a giant snake?
Anger in Music
Today at Sage Gateshead Tom finds out how music can induce, express and exorcise anger.
The Power of One
What special magic happens in music where there is no harmony?
Why are classical audiences so quiet?
Tom Service looks at why we are all so tense and silent during classical concerts. Shhhh!
Amateur musicians' vital role in music and performance over the last three centuries.
What is Sound Art? And why?
Tom Service considers the rise of Sound Art. Is it art music or something else?
Sound of the Underground
What does underground sound like? From earth-inspired music to sounds of the earth itself.
What's the point of practice?
Does practice make perfect? And what is perfect practice? Tom Service finds out.
Countertenors - classical rock gods!
A celebration of male singers who can hit those high notes!
Better than background music?
Is music for theatre more than just a prop?
Why do babies love music?
Tom Service asks why we seem to love music from the day we're born - are we born musical?
Is complicated music better than simple music?
Tom Service looks at complexity in music - can we actually hear what's going on?
Olivier Messiaen and the Interstellar Call!
In a live edition of The Listening Service, Tom responds to Messiaen’s ‘Interstellar Call’
Tom Service explores the concerto
Elgar's 'Enigma Variations' and the codes, ciphers and hidden messages in music.
All the tunes
After 1,000 years of written music, can there be any more new tunes?